How My "Inner Wounded Child" Set The Stage For My Body BurnoutAug 17, 2022
Last week, I shared my body burnout story, or the ‘breaking point’ when my health issues really flared up to the point that I felt physically and emotionally crippled. If you read it, or if you’ve heard me talk about my story before, you’ll know my health collapse came shortly after the traumatic birth of my first baby.
However, a story I haven’t shared (publicly) before, is a story right back to the very root of my body burnout, right back to when I was a little girl. I shared this story recently with some of our clients, in the safe and sacred space in our Ending Body Burnout Method group coaching session, and I feel compelled to share it with you all now. So grab some popcorn (lol!): Here it is…
My Whole Purpose Is To END Body Burnout
You might know by now, that my whole purpose in life is to figure out how to end body burnout. By end, I mean, I want to go beyond just surface-level body healing (which often elicits only short-term benefits), and identify and address the deepest root causes, so that your health sticks for life.
I’m always looking for new ways to uplevel my health (and life & happiness), and to go deeper into my own root causes. Since doing my own intensive body healing work with Dr. Daniel Kalish seven or so years back, and finding more work-life balance, and ‘managing’ my stress levels (and addictive-doing tendencies, lol!), my health has been sooo much better. But there were some little niggly things I haven’t been happy with. Like, for example, heartburn, which had been non-existent for 5 or so years, flared up again when COVID stress hit. It’s much milder than what it used to be, but still, it’s a sign something is out of whack, even though I ran all the labs again and all my gut markers were still looking good. And while I don’t suffer with clinical anxiety anymore, I can still get some chest/throat tightness when I am worrying and hurrying. Then there were other things in my life that I was feeling frustrated with.
Anyways, the last few months I have been doing some very deep, intensive and transformational innerwork with my amazing coach, to get to the bottom of these issues. We have been working on some very ingrained insecurities that I actually had no idea I had. YET, when they were discovered I could see my limiting beliefs about myself were affecting every aspect of my life, including my health - past and present.
The big question was: where the heck did these limiting beliefs even come from?
Part 1: Where Filly’s Body Burnout Actually Started
Enter little girl Filly, the inner wounded child.
My childhood was idyllic. There was no (big T) trauma. No neglect. I grew up on a farm at the foot of a mountain. With loving parents, and four other siblings. I had extended family living up and down our country road. I always felt loved, safe and cared for.
Yet, despite all this, as a kid, I created some unhealthy and unkind beliefs about myself. I was the ‘middle’ child. I always felt left out. I thought my older sisters were cooler, prettier and more confident than me, and they always got to go out to do fun stuff together, with their friends. I was always left crying in my bedroom, desperately wanting to be old enough (good enough) to go out with my sisters. Instead, I made my little brothers play Barbie dolls with me. How pathetic!
Around the same time, my siblings teased me that I was Mum’s ‘favourite’ child. But the crazy thing was, as a kid, I didn’t actually believe Mum loved me more because I was more lovable, but because she felt sorry for me. (This has nothing to do with what my Mum did or said, by the way, but how I made sense of the experience as a little girl). I believed she felt sorry for me because I was always left out. Because I was the little girl left all on her own, crying herself to sleep in her room. I thought mum just pitied me. At the root of it, I believed I was pitiful. I believed I was Mum’s ‘special’ child, not because I was ‘cool special’, but ‘needy special’. I created a belief that I was pitiful, needy, weak and incapable. And as time unfolded, other events validated that misdirected belief.
How My Unkind Beliefs Affected Everything
When I became a teenager, and I was trying to create my own identity and become more independent from my mum, this belief showed up in a very unhealthy way.
Mum loved having us kids take a day off school to spend time with her. My little girl Filly would’ve loved to get more ‘special time’ with Mummy. But as I got older, I tried to create my own independence, and I always refused Mum’s offer to stay home.
But my subconscious state had other ideas. If my conscious state wouldn’t agree - my subconscious state, dictated by my weak and incapable self-belief, would send me a pretty strong message. And that it did.
Seemingly from nowhere, I started periodically fainting, fitting and peeing myself. It usually happened when my body experienced a tiny amount of pain - like pulling a bandaid off my leg, getting blood taken, or sitting in the dentist chair. Mum, of course, was super worried. I started taking days off school, going around to specialist appointments with Mum, trying to figure out if I had a brain tumour or epilepsy or something else sinister. It turned out to be pretty harmless vasovagal episodes, where my nervous system went spastic under stress. Regardless of the diagnosis, it was a sure sign that my deeply ingrained dysfunctional belief of being weak and incapable was showing up very physically in my body. And I subconsciously got the reward of being with my Mum, her ‘favourite child’, her ‘special needs’ child, once again, getting loved and cared by her.
This belief, created as a child, had literally wired my nervous system to the point of dysregulation, which then caused raging heartburn, PCOS, acne, infertility and anxiousness (and this is even prior to having kids!).
It also led to some very dysfunctional patterns in my latter teens, 20’s and even into my 30’s. I was constantly trying to prove my worth through my achievements. I needed to get the best grades at school, win all the college and university medals, complete a PhD super young, and then work like crazy in business. My addicted doing tendencies stemmed from the deep and hidden fear that I was weak and incapable - if I could achieve all these great things and succeed academically and in business, then I would look strong and capable. No one would ever find out that I was actually deeply fearful of being weak. Pitiful. Special needsy. If I achieved, I would never be exposed.
Unfortunately, that put more stress and strain on an already dysregulated nervous system, which, not surprisingly, snapped when I added babies into the mix. My body sent me a very strong message to: STOP! Like literally, there were some days I was bedridden.
Why Am I Sharing This Story?
So why am I sharing this story? Because I want you to know, very clearly, that a body burnout issue is never just a body (or health) issue. Yes it’s all good and well (and I would say necessary) to eat healthy, exercise, do labs, take the right supplements, do meditation, etc, but if you’re not getting to the root-root of where your body burnout is coming from, you’ll constantly get frustrated with short term results (or little results at all). THIS is functional medicine - a holistic, root-cause body, mind, environment approach.
P.s. But it’s not the end…I’ll be writing a lot more about my more recent healing journey soon enough!
Filipa Bellette is Co-Founder of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine. She is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is also a Ph.D. thought-leader, award-winning writer, and regularly published as a guest blogger & in the media. Together with her husband Chris Bellette, Filipa has worked with over 2,000+ busy, burnout clients in the last 10+ years, and specialises in producing healthy, balanced, and happy Mums & Dads...or as she calls it, a Power Parent! Filipa’s own passion for producing high-performance Power Parents came from her own personal experience of Mummy Burnout, after having babies and juggling the demands of business, family, and her failing health.
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