Subconscious Contributors to Infertility: The Cycle of Violence

There are many contributors to the fertility struggle—some known, or obvious; some unknown, perhaps lurking beneath the surface.

Hypnosis is well-known for its efficacy in uncovering and removing subconscious blocks. This is what makes it so valuable in dealing with infertility—unexplained infertility, in particular. There are many subconscious blocks that can interfere with fertility; oftentimes women have an idea, or an inkling, of what they might be. The subconscious mind is protective, and it is goal-achieving. It is non-thinking; its language is emotion and imagination/imagery. In its protective mode, the powerful subconscious mind uses whatever happens to be handy to keep us safe from what it perceives to be a threat. As it is not logical like the conscious mind, the subconscious mind will often institute a protective mechanism that may hold an “all or nothing” meaning.

For example, the subconscious mind does not distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Reality is subjective; it cannot be absolute because of perception; hence, from the HypnoFertility® standpoint at least, the word “reality” is best used in quotation marks. In other words, even the experiences of someone else may be claimed as your own because they caused you pain or upset (even indirectly). To the subconscious mind, the emotional distress of having an abortion or even supporting someone through the process can constitute the need for infertility. No pregnancy = no need for abortion. Fears of having a handicapped child, often ingrained from having a handicapped sibling or knowing someone struggling with such issues, is effectively addressed by the subconscious mind with this handy formula. I see this a lot with speech therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and medical professionals who are more than aware of the worst-case scenario. What could happen. Again, you will not have to deal with a handicapped child if you cannot conceive in the first place.

One of the most common subconscious blocks that I have seen – and have helped my clients release – in my practice over the past 15+ years is, in basic terms, mother issues. This is particularly common in first-born daughters for many reasons. Mentally/emotionally unstable mothers (not necessarily diagnosed with any specific illness) tend to project their unresolved issues onto the first-born child. An unwanted pregnancy is—sometimes consciously, often subconsciously—blamed on the child, as are marital issues. Certain mothers exhibit envy toward their daughters; many place unrealistic demands upon them. Such childhood strife often manifests as infertility. Not wanting to be like their mothers, to repeat their mothers’ mistakes, to in some way cause harm to an innocent child, some women’s torment and internal struggles result—thanks to the protective subconscious mind—in the inability to have a baby. Occasionally there is actually a fear of not being able to be as good of a mother as they perceive their mothers to be.

There is a psychological theory known as the cycle of violence which frequently appears in the family violence literature. The academic concept has caused ongoing controversy among scholars who continue to research its validity; though generally speaking, the theory suggests that violent behavior is learned within the family, and “bequeathed from one generation to the next” (Wallace, 2008, p. 21). That a survivor of a violent or dysfunctional family is predisposed toward repeating the same behavior once she has her own family is the crux of this theory. In essence, we have a “never-ending chain” that is passed down from one generation to the next. Researchers have found that people who experienced or even witnessed violence as children are more likely to harshly discipline their own children; that children raised within such dysfunction are exceptionally vulnerable. Some such survivors are keenly aware of this possibility and thus afraid to have children. The fact is that some people do mindlessly repeat the cycle—even justifying their actions with regurgitated excuses from their own pasts like: you shouldn’t have made me mad or it’s your own fault or kids need discipline or worse.

Without delving into the depths of family violence, it is notable that whether overt physical, sexual, emotional/mental abuse occurred, or whether there was some sort of subtle expression of it, people are impacted in numerous ways. Some will subconsciously repeat the cycle, others will consciously fight it. In the case of infertility we often have a case of the individual being so afraid of harming her own children, or not being able to overcome her mother’s dysfunction, or even just of having a daughter, that her subconscious mind institutes the undesired—but essentially effective—catchall solution: if you can’t have a child, you will not be able to abuse it.

HypnoFertility® can help release clients’ subconscious blocks and free them from this destructive pattern, enabling them to successfully conceive the child(ren) they so desire, releasing their fears of perpetuating unwanted patterns of parenting behavior, and helping them become the mothers they’re meant to be.

~Lynsi Eastburn

Forgiveness

(Excerpted from Drake Eastburn’s book The Therapeutic Hypnotist)

Forgiveness is the scent that the
Violet leaves on the heel that has
crushed it.

 —Attributed to Mark Twain

Too often I have had clients who were the victims of some type of abuse or perpetration. Anger, hatred, resentment and estrangement are often ways that they deal with their issues. However when we hold anger, hatred and resentment toward another individual who is it that is hurt by these emotions? There is a saying and I’m not sure where it came from but it goes like this; “When we hold hatred for another person it is as if we are taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

When I have talked about forgiving with some of my clients they will often respond with “I’m not ready to forgive them yet.” I can understand their feelings no doubt, but what is the statute of limitations on these feelings? I realize that a lot of times what these clients are saying is that he/she (the perpetrator) does not deserve to be forgiven as if we are exonerating the perpetrator by our forgiving. The truth is when we forgive that person we are not saying that the actions they perpetrated on us are somehow now justified or forgotten, what we are really saying is that it is time for the victim to discontinue suffering from those perpetrations. When we hold resentment toward a perpetrator we are allowing them to continue their perpetration every day of our lives and we are giving them power over us and they don’t deserve it. Another problem arises due to the fact that all of the time the victim is busy hating this other individual (the perpetrator) that person probably has no clue, or could not care less.

Often times the victim feels (erroneously) that if they can somehow make the perpetrator hurt as much as she/he has been hurt then all will be fine. The problem with that is that if something does occur which would hurt the perpetrator equally it is unlikely that he/she would ever associate it with what the victim feels and any sense of victory will be empty and unsatisfying. The notion that someone else’s suffering will alleviate our pain is a bucket without a bottom. Certainly there are times when a perpetrator needs to be reprimanded for what they have done which could mean legal action, etc., but will breaking someone else’s leg cause your bones to mend?

In my book “The Power of The Past” I talk about the damaged relationship between my older brother and my father. My brother had continuously tried to get my father to admit to some of the horrible things that he and mother had done to us. Dad stayed in his comfort zone by denying that anything had ever happened and that we all lived a “Father Knows Best” existence. All of this led to many battles and long term estrangement between my brother and my father. My father would come from Florida each year to stay with me in the summer and avoid the hot, humid, southern days. My brother decided that the way to finally get to the bottom of this was to confront Dad while I was present and that way I could verify what my brother was saying was true and Dad would not be able to use his old escape route of denial.

I told my brother he was right and of course these things did happen and I was there to witness the truth; the problem is that dad was old and not in great health and wouldn’t have long to remain on this earth. I asked my brother if he would feel better if confronting Dad meant that Dad took his life or died from the stress of the whole thing. I said to my brother, “You are in pretty good shape, you can be helped and can grow and move ahead with your life, but Dad doesn’t have anywhere to move ahead to and something like this would ruin what little time he has left.” My brother actually agreed and no such altercation took place. My brother was in therapy at the time and continued with therapy for sometime although neither my brother or my father ever really got beyond their issues and each one took his own life. I do believe my brother’s last sentiments showed that he had become free of or at least at peace with the resentments at that time when he ended it all. I don’t believe my Dad was in any way at peace with himself when he took his life a short time later.

Forgiveness is not something we do; it is something we don’t do. You will know when you have truly forgiven someone for you will no longer be hanging on to the anger and resentment. If while you are taking out the trash you are telling yourself, “I’m forgiving Bob,” or while you are cleaning the house, or driving to work, then you have not forgiven Bob. Forgiving is not a process, it is an event and a highly forgettable one.

It was popular at one time to confront our perpetrators, but this has been problematic. It seems that there is a notion that if we can only get our perpetrator to admit what they have done and feel the shame and disgrace that we have, then all will be well with the world. There most certainly can be a profound healing when both sides come together and share in the pain and become bonded in a whole new way. The problem is that this does not often work out as well as it should and this confrontation thing at one time led to false memory syndrome, legal actions and the destruction of relationships which could have been healthy and supportive. On the other hand there are those relationships where there was an obvious perpetrator and acknowledgement will never come. As in the case of my brother and father (and the real issue was with mother, but she was deceased), for my father to admit to the actions which did occur it would not just be an admission of guilt, but of a much deeper issue. For someone to admit they were guilty would be admitting to more than just making a few mistakes, but would be admitting to being a certain type of individual and that would be a mentally unbalanced individual, for what other type of person could possibly have performed such heinous acts. It is much easier for the perpetrator to simply remain in denial and in that denial the act(s) may have been blotted from conscious memory or at least seemingly so. The perpetrators’ image of who they are is so inconsistent with the acts that they forced on others that somehow in their mind it must not be so.

Recently there was a huge sex scandal which came to light at Penn State University. A long time cherished football coach lost his position with the college and died shortly after (likely in part due to the scandal) not because he was a participant, but because he did nothing to prevent the unspeakable acts. The assistant coach who was convicted of the crimes continues to this day to profess his innocence even though witness after witness testified against him in court. Why? Likely it is due to the image he had created of himself and presented himself to be in the world was inconsistent with the unspeakable behavior he was guilty of. Family members will also be in denial of such acts and support the perpetrator since they can’t deal with the fact of being associated with such a person or those acts or they just can’t get their minds wrapped around the fact that someone they have known and loved all of their lives could be such a person.

Some of our most powerful genetic encoding is to bond and most importantly to bond with our mother. This need to bond extends throughout our family because there is a genetic payoff to having a bond, even with extended family. Fathers are important, but fathers will not always be present and it is the mother who is our source of sustenance and nurturing and without her our chances of survival are not good. If we miss that opportunity to bond we can become neurotic (abandonment issues, anxiety) and even though our “mother” is unavailable we may obsessively continue to fill that need to bond. It can be difficult to just walk away from our family especially when we are alone and insecure already, but a toxic parent or family will not likely allow us the opportunity to heal and move ahead. Sometimes the healthiest choice is estrangement (I am not saying that as advice, it is merely an option) if we are to truly heal. Estrangement from the dysfunction can be a positive step to our own self healing and we are setting healthier boundaries for ourselves and our family in the process. Now is a time to form healthy relationships and involve yourself in positive resources. It is easier to focus on healing yourself and being all that you can be than it is to fix broken perpetrators.

Do we forgive and forget? Memory is not an exact record of events and a lot of things we thought happened did not happen or at least not in the way we thought they happened. Sometimes what we believe to be the memory of an event is really just the memory about the story we have created around the event. I talk about the memory and in regard to past traumas in my book “The Power of The Past”. The truth is that we will still have a memory of the event(s), but they will be transformed and no longer have the hold on us they once did. That being said there are things which will unwittingly trigger an old emotion even after we have worked through an issue successfully and this happens through anchors and triggers, or what is also referred to as conditioned response or Pavlovian Response. Because something happens which is so strongly associated with an emotion (event) the stimulus has the power to re-excite the old emotions and memories. This is usually a very brief occurrence which exits about as fast as the stimulus leaves.

It takes a bigger person to move on than it does to hang on. When you hang on to the anger, resentment and the righteousness, you are making that other person(s) responsible for your lack of movement, your lack of success and well being. If you are going to fail or succeed do it on your own, don’t let someone else be the controlling factor in your destiny. Take your power back and do something and you can fail or succeed in the process, but at least it will be you doing it and not someone else. Prisons and the Jerry Springer Show are full of people who can justify where they are today by placing blame on someone else.

One thing that worked well for me and with many of my clients is doing a multigenerational healing process. This can be done cognitively or as a hypnotic trance process (which will give greater clarity and detail). By going back in time as the perpetrator (gestalt) and making note of important events along the way, eventually we get to a point where the perpetrator is the victim (a child). As we experience the child being victimized it is much easier to forgive the person who is a little child than an adult whom we assume should act more responsibly. My brother could never get beyond the fact that Dad could never be the dad he wanted him to be, and Dad could not be that person because Dad was only a child himself. Once I regarded my father as the injured child he truly was, it was easy for me to maintain a healthy relationship with him and not hold any resentment toward him. Often this process can be shortened considerably by just doing a typical Gestalt process with the perpetrator.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored
Than to anything on which it is poured

—Mark Twain

Stop Putting Life On Hold For “What If”

It has just occurred to me that being on this fertility journey has inadvertently altered the course of the life that my husband and I lead, and it’s not necessarily a good thing.

We’ve been together for nearly 9 years, married for nearly 7 years, and have been working on starting our family for the last 6 years. In that time, we’ve refused to plan vacations for fear of What If…:

  • What if we’re finally pregnant by then and we have to cancel our plans?
  • What if we can’t afford to go because of treatments?
  • What if we need those vacation days for treatments or for leave?

I’ve given up drinking the coffee which used to be my morning ritual. I’ve (mostly) given up drinking the wine I’m so fond of. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on a medicine cabinet full of vitamins, creams, powders, potions, and every “miracle cure” known to man; most of which are still half-full and are nearing their expiration. We’re working with our third and final fertility clinic. I’ve done 2+ years of fertility acupuncture and 3+ years of personal training. I’ve grown to have an irrational fear of soy or anything else that our RE has warned could potentially cause a hormonal imbalance. The constant headache of I can’t do that… or We can’t plan that… has really taken its toll on my body, and on our marriage.

And that has to stop. Now.

Life is much too short to keep putting everything on hold for the fear of What If. We can’t keep preventing ourselves from making plans or from occasionally indulging in things we love, because of What If. There will always be excuses or reasons not to take that long-overdue vacation to the beach, reasons not to go on that cruise, or to make use of time off. But we can’t let those excuses continue to call the shots. We’ve got to remember that life is best LIVED!

If you’re on this fertility rollercoaster, it’s important to keep in balance with it all. It’s imperative that you not lose sight of yourself, of your relationship with your spouse/partner, or friends and family. Plan that vacation; have an occasional cup of coffee if that’s what you enjoy; take time off – both physically and emotionally – from all things fertility once in a while. Rediscover old talents – or explore new ones! Take up journaling, buy a coloring book (there are lots of “mindfulness” coloring books geared toward adults online!), take a pottery class, or learn how to do yoga. Gather some girlfriends for a night out with wine, paintbrushes, and sappy movies. Whatever the activity, let yourself go, and allow yourself to truly enjoy it. Stop putting your life on hold for that What If. The truth is, that baby will come when it’s time, and no amount of worrying, no “perfect” diet, or anything else you do to try to force your baby’s arrival will make it happen. So in the meantime, relax, enjoy life, and stop living in fear of What If!

(*Not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or fertility regimen.)

~Kari, Office Manager – Eastburn Hypnotherapy Center

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

Whatever idea we put in our mind, never mind what that idea may be, becomes true for us, even if it be actually untrue. The same occurrence seen by ten different persons is seen from ten different points of view.

—Emile Coué

“Change your mind, change your life” is a term which often pops up in contemporary society. This term and other facsimiles appear to be a part of “New Age” language; however, there is nothing new about this concept. Certainly this sort of thinking was put forth in the early 1900s by Wallace Wattles (The Science of Getting Rich), Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich), and others; and more recently in the movie “The Secret.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson… poets, authors, and others—including members of the ground-breaking Transcendentalists—advocated this thinking in the 19th century; and it can be traced further back for centuries. If your thoughts are “I’m sick, miserable and broke,” this is likely what you are currently experiencing in your life; however, if your thoughts are “I’m healthy, wealthy and happy,” you are likely attracting this into your world instead.

In my own life I have found “change your mind, change your life” to be perfectly true. I came from a very negative, dysfunctional background, and had I not pursued methods of personal growth I likely would have continued down that same negative road. As part of my personal growth journey I became involved in the Silva Method in the early 1970s—that program was very much about positive thinking, and making positive changes in our lives through our own thoughts and imagery. I am here to personally attest that changing the way we think has an unparalleled effect on who we become, what we accomplish; basically who we are. When I look at who I am today and the direction that my life has taken, there is a total disconnect between now and the programing I received growing up. That is to say that who I am now and who I was predestined to be have nothing whatsoever in common. I credit hypnosis techniques that I initially learned with the Silva Method—and have refined over the 40+ years since—for helping me to change the direction that my life was otherwise headed.

As hypnotists we are very aware of the effects of habit, and the workings of the subconscious mind. Once a pattern (habit) becomes ingrained in the subconscious we find ourselves doing the same thing over and over again, without regard, whether that pattern is working for or against us. We can change (heal) these patterns by changing our own thoughts, self-talk, and internal imagery. This may be done with affirmations, thought-stopping tactics, and guided imagery—or, rapidly and efficiently—by seeing our local hypnotist and addressing the root cause.

A common pitfall in the proper use of positive affirmations is to allow the consistent use of these affirmations to fall by the wayside once everything seems to be going well. The problem with this is that by the time we realize that things have slipped, or are no longer going so well, we have lost our initial momentum. It is essential—even when things are great—that we keep using the positive affirmations as a sort of preventive maintenance. As I have taught countless times over the years, you must infuse your affirmations with emotion in order to most effectively impact the subconscious mind. Emotion is the language of the subconscious mind—without it, you have nothing but empty words. I have a saying you might keep in mind along your journey: “Whether you love it or whether you hate it, you create it.”

~Drake Eastburn

Taking Back Your Power Through Hypnosis

Although hypnosis – in some form or another – has existed since the dawn of time, it is only within the last few decades that its healing power has begun to truly be recognized in mainstream culture. Today, it is used to help with everything from sweets cravings and weight loss, to past life regression and smoking cessation, and beyond.

The mind is much more powerful than most people even realize. Watching the incredible transformation in clients’ lives just from helping them see situations differently is the most satisfying feeling. Changing one’s mind can literally change one’s life; we see it happen every day in our line of work. Hypnosis helps clients stop ongoing nightmares and insomnia, relieves stress, and helps to create better, healthier habits.

Forming new habits is much like trudging a path through a snowdrift. At first, it is a bit difficult, perhaps a bit unfamiliar, and maybe even somewhat uncomfortable. But over time, walking back and forth along that same path becomes easier and easier, until the snow is packed down, pushed out of the way, and you don’t have to even think about it anymore. The neural pathways in the brain work in much the same way. When left to one’s own accord, starting something new—or out of one’s sense of ordinary—takes work, perseverance, and time to make it stick; often, people lose motivation and give up after just a few days. Hypnosis is very effective in helping people to succeed in these types of situations because it changes those neural pathways instantaneously rather than over time. That’s why, for instance, even life-long smokers walk out of our office as nonsmokers after just a single session. And have for more than 20 years!

Hypnosis accesses one’s subconscious mind, which is the greatest goal achieving agent on the planet. Many people don’t realize that negative self-talk is a form of hypnosis. Constantly berating oneself for being “too fat” or “too dumb” (or whatever your case may be) creates neural pathways in the brain that allow one’s mind to accept those falsehoods as truth, and they materialize as such in the body. That’s the basis of Henry Ford’s well known adage: “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!” and why it is so important to be positive and to speak (and think!) compassionately, especially pertaining to oneself. Negativity serves no purpose other than as a means of self-imposed defeat. Does every thought a person has have to be positive? Of course not. However, retraining your brain to be predominantly positive makes all the difference.

What Is Hypnosis?

Have you ever been hypnotized? Believe it or not, we ALL have been hypnotized in some form, whether we realize it or not! Hypnosis occurs in ways most people aren’t even aware of; it isn’t simply stage hypnotists theatrically turning people into chickens or ducks on some flashy show like you’d see on TV or in Las Vegas. Hypnosis comes in many different forms: zoning out in front of the television or during a conversation with your partner (oops!); arriving at work and not having any recollection of the drive; finding yourself suddenly desiring to purchase an item because of a commercial you just saw or heard (or perhaps a jingle or tag line stuck in your mind: I’d like to buy the world a Coke or Coke adds life; or the quicker picker upper); the wafting scent of cookies or bread in the oven transporting you back in time to baking with Grandma when you were a small child. All of these examples constitute hypnosis. There are different levels and variations of hypnosis as well. Habitual behaviors are another form of hypnosis, as is self-talk (e.g., telling yourself: “I’m not good enough” or “I’m too fat”). Or, on the flip side, convincing yourself that “I CAN finish the race!” (or whatever your specific desire may be). Meditation, trance, and prayer are also examples of hypnosis. It can even occur as various forms of abuse or trauma.

Hypnotherapy utilizes a deeper part of the subconscious mind to create new neural pathways in the brain. This, in turn, helps to change or correct undesirable behaviors (or to reinforce positive behaviors), as well as to help release subconscious mental blocks. Thus, by changing your mind, you can literally change your life!

So what exactly is hypnosis? Definitions vary widely in the psychology and therapy fields; there doesn’t really seem to be any concrete standard for defining it. Some describe it in complex scientific and technical terms, and others in more relaxed, layman’s terms. One of our preferred definitions comes from the renowned author of the National Guild of Hypnotists’ Medical Hypnotism Certification Training, the Rev. Dr. C. Scot Giles: “During hypnotic trance a change occurs in the structure of the brain, where the two halves of the brain are linked. Because of this change, more information flows from one side of the brain to the other than would normally be the case. Nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls habits lose some of their electrical charge enabling one to become more receptive to change at this time. Through imagery and positive suggestion, new connections can be formed among the nerve cells, creating the desired results.”

Hypnosis is used therapeutically to stop smoking, to lose weight, and even to release subconscious blocks enabling fertility clients to become pregnant against all odds. It is also successfully used to help break other serious habits, and to relieve stress and major anxiety. As you can see, the mind-body connection is very strong—hypnosis is an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to ensure the ultimate benefit from that very connection.

Coming Out of The Infertility Closet: Why I’m grateful to be “infertile”

A few celebrities have recently opened up about their fertility journeys: Jaime King of “Hart of Dixie” fame (5 rounds of IVF, 26 IUIs, 5 miscarriages; pregnant naturally with 1st and now 2nd child), Elizabeth Banks (embryo implantation issues; parenthood via surrogate), Giuliana Rancic (2 rounds of IVF and two miscarriages; gestational carrier after breast cancer), Tom Arnold (male factor; 21 rounds of IVF with 4 different wives), Courteney Cox (recurrent miscarriage; played infertile character on “Friends” while dealing with real-life infertility), Jimmy Fallon (parenthood via surrogacy after 5 years of treatments), among others. Despite these revelations, it is still known as one of Hollywood’s (and society’s) “dirty little secrets”.

I’ve personally been on the fertility road for 6 long years. Along the way, I’ve learned so much about myself, about the resiliency of my marriage to my wonderful husband, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned to allow this journey to make me better, rather than bitter. Were there dark times? Of course! But so much amazing growth and so many important lessons have come from this battle – many of which we wouldn’t have otherwise learned. Since my husband and I opened up about our journey a couple of years ago, so many of our friends and acquaintances have found the strength and the courage to “come out of the infertility closet” as well.

It’s incredibly important to have a good support system in place, people to laugh with, to cry with, and to both celebrate and grieve the ups and downs of this journey. It has been said that the most comforting phrase in the English language is “Me too.” So it begs the question, why do so many choose to suffer in silence? Why are people afraid of speaking up about their journey to parenthood? It has been amazing to see the utter relief from friends’ faces when they realize that they have found someone in whom to confide their fears and grief that often comes with the territory of infertility, realizing that it’s not just them who are struggling. Opening up and talking about your experiences is not only healthy, but liberating; it lifts the burden that you were never meant to carry alone.

It is absolutely essential to look after all aspects of yourself while enduring fertility trials. You may be focused on your physical body for the duration of this journey, for obvious reasons. But equally important (or perhaps even more so) are your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Finding HypnoFertility® and its creator, Lynsi Eastburn, was the missing link for me on this, helping me to reclaim a sense of calm, balance, and joy that I never realized were even possible. It gave me my life back! People who have known me for many years frequently comment that I’ve made a total transformation over the last couple of years – and I always tell them that I have Lynsi to thank for that. I am thankful for this fertility journey, and especially for having found such an incredible resource and gift that is HypnoFertility®.

There’s nothing to be ashamed about if you’re on this journey; it can actually be quite empowering if you allow it to be. I believe that this journey was meant as a test, and it is my choice whether to let it make or break me. I choose to use it to strengthen me rather than tear me down, and it is because of this that I am coming out victorious on the other side of infertility.

~Kari, Office Manager, Eastburn Hypnotherapy Center