Ask the LifeQuake Doctor
March 2011 Issue
Dear Dr Toni:
Four years ago, my now 23 year old son disclosed to me that he is gay. He has had health problems for the past two years. He gets colds easily so I imagine his immune system is weak. It doesn’t bother me that he’s gay. What bothers me is that he seems to have trouble dealing with life. He had to drop out of school his sophomore year and now he’s pursuing dance. On his 9th birthday, he asked to wear a dress and he still likes to cross dress occasionally. Now, we live in a suburb of Chicago. I am concerned about him. Do you think he might actually be a girl inside?
One of the hardest things that happen when our children begin to reach adulthood is for us to let go of our dreams for them so that they can have their own. This also applies to sexual identity. It sounds to me like your son is in an identity crisis that may or may not result in becoming transgender. Has he actually mentioned anything about wanting to change sexes?
That said, sometimes a parent can see things in their children before their children do. If we were to go on the premise that you may be right, the health issues may, and I emphasize may, be a result of hidden unconscious fears he has of being truthful about his true sexual identity. The immune system is strongly connected to the psyche in that instead of attacking foreign substances that are toxic to the body, they start attacking the body itself and one can develop auto-immune conditions.
Sit down with your son and come with your heart open. Have no agenda. Ask questions like: what about cross dressing do you like? How does it make you feel? Have you ever considered becoming a woman? There is a lot to consider and it may have scared him too much to delve into his own psyche very deeply. Your acceptance could make all the difference.
Dear Dr. Toni Galardi
I have been working as a corporate executive for 15 years. I am married for 10 years and have no children. My boss and I began having an affair two years ago. I love what I do and therefore I am not leaving my job. I have tried to break it off with him several times but the attraction between us is so strong that I always end up back in his arms.
I read your book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon and I think I am in stage two. I feel depressed and trapped by my desires for this man. What should I do? I feel like I’m dying a little every day. The only ray of hope I have, I actually got from your book, that maybe this addiction could be a spiritual awakening. Your thoughts?
Dazed and Confused
Relationship, love, sex, and fantasy addictions all have as their root the same etiology as drug and alcohol addiction. They often stem from an inability to source your Spirit for joyous oneness and so we look to substances and people to get that high. However, the true longing is for connection to your soul. There is an opportunity to go inward inside of the very compulsion that can feel like the agony and the ecstasy. Meditation helps. Attending twelve step meetings in love addiction called SLAA can help. Most importantly, is to reframe this as a call from your soul. If you really are in stage two of a LifeQuake then the old identity is indeed dying and it can feel like clinical depression.
I am going to share with you and our readers an exercise to help with the surrender and acceptance that moving through this stage requires.
Heaven and Hell
This exercise is a combination of both contemplation and writing, so have a notebook or journal handy, along with a pen. In this exercise, there is no judgment on your attachments. We will look at our attachments as three tiers to suggest the psyche as layers. Make a simple graph labeling the tiers as follows from each part of the exercise.
After reading this exercise, begin by closing your eyes while seated in a comfortable chair. Take a moment to settle into your body through focused breathing. Now, think of the one part of your identity that you are aware of being most attached to. It might be your job, your health, your partner, your home, etc. Imagine that it has been taken from you through whatever circumstances you can think of. Notice what you feel in your body and where you feel it. Breathe into it with long, slow breaths.
Now allow yourself to experience a radiant violet light coming in through the top of your head, traveling all the way into where you are feeling the loss and pain. Keep open, while allowing this light to ﬁll you up. One by one, bring in the next thing or person to which you have the greatest attachment. Do the same process. Stay with this for ten minutes, if you can. When you open your eyes, list the people or things to which you have the greatest attachments in your graph of the ﬁrst tier.
Now, the second tier is to think about addictions to substances and outer directed beliefs you are attached to. Close your eyes and invoke the violet light into your body again. Imagine how you would feel, if for example, you gave up alcohol, sugar or prejudices about others you may have. Now, imagine what your life would be like if each of those beliefs or habits were gone.
The last tier is to imagine giving up traits of the inner critic, such as self-criticism, shame, and self-loathing. What is your fear around giving them up? Take each one separately and experience yourself without it.
Write about your experience as to how you feel in your body in their absence.
This exercise (along with a genuine desire to use this attachment you have to this man for the purpose of transformation) can accelerate a radical severance from your old life and you may find yourself opening to new professional opportunities elsewhere.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, career coach, and is available for consult by phone or SKYPE. You can reach her at 310-712-2600 or DrToni@LifeQuake.net.