By Dr. Diane Kramer
My Own Story
First childhood dream I remember – Was of me standing in front of kitchen sink and opening the lower cabinet door. A bunch of hornets swarmed out and attacked me. Yes, attacked me! I felt the pain in my dream.
Thinking about the dream as an adult – I realized it told the story of my childhood – me being left out by my dad and brother, and criticized coldly by my mom. Inside me, instead of a warm nurturing center, I had internalized a feeling of emptiness and a cold critical internal judge. True there were moments when I felt nurtured, such as when my mom took me shopping or my dad let me play pool with him and my bro – but these moments were far fewer than the empty feelings and self-attacks.
As a child, not knowing specifically what I was feeling and why, my solution was to retreat into the magic world of books. Oh, how I loved stories of loving families with children, such as Ballet Slippers, a book about three young girls, Pauline, Petrova, and Posey, adopted in London by a great-uncle. I read Ballet Slippers 12 times. Immersed in such books, I vicariously felt the nurturing and love shared by my favorite characters. At night I would take my flashlight under my white chenille bedspread and escape into that nurturing world until it was light.
I grew up without a best friend. It never even occurred that I did not feel positively connected to another human being. People who have been well-nurtured have that ability to reach out to others and extend love. I did not, as I was too fearful of rejection and felt too unworthy. I cried a lot in my loneliness and my family labeled me “whiny.” My mother’s friends told her I was “going through a stage” and would get over it. Well, that stage lasted about 30 years!
The only area in which I was able to get positive applause – if not real nurturing from my parents – was in academics, though my brother was always a step ahead. Still, I made it into academia by becoming a psychologist. In those days, all clinical psychologists went to therapy as part of our training. Off I went to Dr. Gene Denton. Did I learn to love myself and repair my childhood wounds? No, that came later, but I did learn that my problems rested in my childhood.
Learning to Change
Amazingly, when I started my private practice as a therapist, I was able to help others far more than I could help myself. Around 1980, it, or I should say I began to change. What happened?
An older mentor and family therapist, Jean Feingold, recommended I begin a year-long program called Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, given in Manhattan, down in Soho. Annie and Frank, the trainers, led us through structured exercise after exercise where we set outcomes or goals – very specific and short-term or long-term. I began to unfreeze from my life-long conditioned habit patterns of longing for closeness, but fearing the rejection and the criticism. Now I started believing that I could get my needs met – internal as well as external – by setting goals and going for them.
In this NLP world, fortunate was I to connect with a professional colleague, Diane Huisinga, now my very close friend. She showed me unconditional love and helped me to continue my journey of loving myself.
In NLP training, I had learned to detach or dissociate from bad feelings, examine my Limiting Beliefs, and change them to empowering Liberating Beliefs, such as “I am loveable. What do I need to learn here that I did not learn when I was feeling bad about me? How can I succeed here?” This ability to dissociate from the bad feelings and challenge and change them became my new lifelong pattern.
Onward and Upward
By 1992, I was ready. I had replaced so much emptiness and Inner Judge self-criticism with love and compassion for myself that I was able to set a goal and reach out for the love of my life. I met Fred Klarer, my husband and best friend of now 31 years. Along the way, I led the development of Extraordinary Self Programs, each designed to use research-based psychological and Neuro-Linguistic Programming strategies to help thousands reach their own goals – as they learned to love themselves more and empower themselves to “go for the gold.”
What about you?
If you are ready and want that “gold” for yourself – in career or business, relationships, lifestyle, family, health or finances – please contact us or sign up to receive details of our free workshop, coming in September.
We want you to experience the love and success that we all deserve just because we are on this planet! And if you want to get started more actively now, learn more about the possibilities for you and explore our catalogue of programs at www.extraordinaryself.com/register.