Post-childhood Memory – Part 1

by | Mar 31, 2017

Purpose of the questions

Key Concepts

  • The ministry facilitator never needs to be in a position where he is deciding what memory is the “right” one. The two EMOTION Box questions can forego the possibility of this ever happening and will allow the person to make this discovery all on his own.
  • It is very common for a person to remember some experience that occurred later in their life rather than a childhood one. We refer to this kind of memory as a “post-childhood memory” since they occur later than the age of about twelve.
  • These memories are rarely the time and place where the person established their lie-based thinking and therefore will not be where they need to be in order to rightly identify the belief or receive the truth.
  • Typically, these memories are about life events where the same original lie was simply applied to the situation at hand.  

Every ministry session begins in the EMOTION Box as found on the ministry session “MAP.” There are two questions in the EMOTION Box. The first question helps the person to be aware of what he is feeling by asking, “How does that make you feel?” The “that” in this question is whatever the person has reported in his current “story” that may be causing him to feel something.  The second question encourages him to focus on what he is feeling so that the natural process of association might occur. This second question is: “As you focus on what you are feeling, what comes to your mind?”

These two questions provide a way for the person to identify the memory of the life event where he came to believe the lie that he currently holds that is causing him to feel what he feels. The memory will help him to determine how he came to believe what he believes and why he feels what he feels. As you know by now, there is never a need to send the person looking for a memory or even try to remember. God has designed our minds to do this naturally and without any effort. If we are struggling to remember, then we are resisting the process of association from working, or we do not need to remember whatever it is that we have forgotten.

The ministry facilitator never needs to be in a position where he is deciding what memory is the “right” one. These two questions can forego the possibility of this ever happening and will allow the person to make this discovery all on his own.

When the person is asked the two EMOTION Box questions he is being asked to focus on his feelings. When he does this his mind should naturally and spontaneously associate what he is feeling with a related memory. Therefore, there is no reason to ask him to try to remember anything. In fact, if he appears to be trying to remember, then something is wrong. The only time a memory would not surface on its own would be when he believes something that is causing him to resist remembering. If this happens we are no longer in the EMOTION Box and have moved to the SOLUTION Box.

Ideally the memory that first comes to mind will be the memory of the experience where the core belief was initially established. These are typically childhood memories. However, this is not always the case. It is very common for a person to remember some experience that occurred later in their life rather than a childhood one. We refer to this kind of memory as a “post-childhood memory” since they occur later than the age of about twelve. Usually, these memories will not be the time and place where the person established their lie-based thinking and therefore will not be where they need to be in order to rightly identify the belief or receive the truth. Typically, these memories are about life events where the same original lie was simply applied to the situation at hand.

 

Purpose of Memory

Key Concepts

  • The primary purpose of memory is to answer the question: “How did I come to believe the lie-based core belief that I currently believe that is causing me to feel what I am feeling?”
  • We cannot know how we came to believe what we believe by looking at our current situation or at other post-childhood memories where we interpreted things through the lens of a formerly established belief.
  • From the time we first embraced our lie-based beliefs, we have continually applied them to each new situation, right up to the current story we bring into the ministry session.

This takes us back to the fundamental purpose of memory. This is detailed in other places in our training so we will only summarize here. The primary purpose of memory is to answer the question: “How did I come to believe the lie-based core belief that I currently believe that is causing me to feel what I am feeling?” However, in order to answer this question I need to be in the right place where this question applies.

Since most lie-based core belief is well established before the age of about twelve years old, memories of life events occurring after this time frame will usually not be the memory that can answer this question.  We cannot know how we came to believe what we believe by looking at our current situation or at other post-childhood memories where we interpreted things through the lens of a formerly established belief. The original (or at least close proximity of the original) event holds the answers that we need.

For example, what happened at work with the critical boss does not make us feel inadequate and worthless, but instead, we are interpreting our boss’s behavior through the lens of our own belief that we have probably held most of our lives. Therefore, post-childhood memories do not provide us with what is needed to understand how we came to believe and feel what we do. We did not come up with a new belief as each new life event occurred. Rather, we used the already established core beliefs to interpret what was happening from one experience to the next. In this sense, our history is merely repeating itself. We are superimposing our long-established lie-based core belief onto each new life experience.

There is a reason why a memory may come to mind that is not the actual experience where the core belief was originally established. At the time that the core belief was embraced, it became the “lens” through which life was interpreted thereafter. Once a lie-based belief is in place, new life experiences will be interpreted through the beliefs already established.

Because of this, the original core belief can be triggered in many later events that occur, stirring up our emotions. So when a person focuses on the emotion that is coming from that core belief, his mind may very well associate his feelings with any related memory that was interpreted through the original lie-based belief. The initial childhood event when the core belief was established may or may not first come to mind, but any one of his post-childhood memories might. Even though most core belief seems to be established before the age of twelve, it is common for a person who is focusing on his feelings to initially recall post-childhood memories.

It is as though we are viewing each life experience through the same pair of “belief” glasses. The lenses we are wearing provide the same interpretation for every experience. In earlier life experiences, we “put on” the glasses that we continued to wear thereafter. As long as we wear the same glasses we will continue to interpret life through the same beliefs.

From the time we first embraced our lie-based beliefs, we have continually applied them to each new situation, right up to the current story we bring into the ministry session. Even though we might think that our spouse, boss, or job makes us feel the way we do,  the truth is that we feel what we believe. And we learned what we currently believe long before any of these things ever entered into the picture. Again, except in rare instances, there is little or no additional belief added to our reservoir of core belief after about twelve years of age. From adolescence onward, we have, for the most part, accumulated all the core beliefs we will need in order to assess and interpret life.

 

Although it is possible that a person’s core belief may have been established in a post-childhood experience, this rarely happens.

 

The person’s current “story” is a post-childhood memory

Key Concepts

  • Post-childhood memories are memories about life events that occurred sometime after the age of about twelve and almost always after the bulk of our core beliefs have been established.
  • The opening “story” a person brings into the ministry session is a post-childhood memory, but it is more likely than not being interpreted through the lens of core beliefs learned before the age of twelve.
  • The protocol for dealing with the current story is to ask the two questions in the EMOTION Box. This same protocol is used to help the person to surface the memory that will help him to not only identify the lie he believes that is causing him to feel what he feels, but also to understand how he came to believe it.
  • When a post-childhood memory is reported, we should initially address them in the same manner that we address the current story.
  • It is NOT the responsibility of the ministry facilitator to determine if the “right” memory has surfaced capable of answering the question, “How did I come to believe what I believe that is causing me to feel what I am feeling?”  
  • Asking the two EMOTION Box questions repeatedly until the person stops surfacing a different memory will allow the person to decide that which is the “right” memory to explore.

 

 

It is important to note that the opening “story” a person brings into the ministry session (what is going on in their present situation) is a post-childhood memory even if what he reports just occurred as he was walking into your office.  And as we know, the protocol for dealing with the current story is to ask the two questions in the EMOTION Box.  Just as we do not try to identify core belief in the person’s current situation, neither do we look for it in other post-childhood memories that may surface in the ministry session.

As we know, post-childhood memories are memories about life events that occurred sometime after the age of about twelve and almost always after the bulk of our core beliefs have been established. Apparently, at some point near this age period, we cease to embrace additional core beliefs and simply use those that are already established to interpret life experiences thereafter. This continues to be the case all the way up to, and including, the current situation which is shared in the ministry session. The current story is just another post-childhood memory that is being understood through the old “lens”—our pre-established core beliefs.

When a post-childhood memory is reported, we should initially address them in the same manner that we address the current story. We will continue to ask the EMOTION-box questions.  We will continue to ask the EMOTION Box questions until the person “lands” in a memory and no other memory comes to his mind.

In more than two decades of doing TPM, I have had only a few people report adult memories in which something occurred that required them to establish an additional core belief that they did not already possess. One example was a woman who shared a memory with me about an event that occurred while she was in college.

For the most part, she had lived a relatively uneventful life, without any real trauma. However, when she was a young adult, she was abducted and raped. During the course of the event, she believed she was going to die. From this event, she established several new core belief lies: “I am going to die,” “I am dirty and tainted because of what he did to me,” and “I am out of control and cannot make this stop.” These were new core beliefs (self-identity and state-of-being lies) that she did not believe before this, and that were established in a post-childhood setting. However, this sort of lie-based thinking which is established after adolescence is rare.

 

Formative Years

The first four to five years of life are referred to in psychology as the “formative years.” There is no doubt in my mind that much of our lie-based core beliefs are acquired within these few years. However, I also believe that up to about twelve years of age, our basic core beliefs about ourselves and our surroundings (self-identity and state-of-being) continue to be strengthened. Then, by about the age of twelve, our core beliefs have been established and there is no need for more. Of course, we will continue to grow in knowledge and intellect, but “Who am I” and “What is my condition” have been, for the most part, fixed in place.

During these first twelve years, a person forms his self-identity: “Who am I?” “Am I loved?” “Do I have value?” “Do I have purpose, a place?” “Why do I exist?” I also learn about my state of being: “Am I safe, protected, and cared for?” “Can I trust? What can I count on, depend upon, expect…?”

Though most children do not realize it, they are coming to understand God through their “state-of-being” beliefs. Their answers to questions such as: “am I safe?  am I protected? can I trust? will my needs be meet?” each reflect the way we view our state of being, or condition. If my state-of-being belief is “things are out of control,” then it inadvertently means that I don’t believe God is in control. If my belief is “I cannot pay my bills,” then I do not believe that God is my provider. If I live in a state of panic and fear and believe that “I am going to die,” then I do not believe that God is my protection or is in control of my life.

So we see that a core belief will consist of one of two types of beliefs: “Who am I?” or “Who is God?” During these first twelve years, these primary foundation building blocks are set in place. After that, life is viewed and understood through the perspective of these beliefs.

When a person focuses on his feelings during a ministry session, it is very common for him to remember events that occurred after childhood. The first “memory” a person has when a ministry session begins is almost always about what happened recently—their current “story.” However, if a person remembers being rejected on his first date when he was sixteen, or not being picked for the football team in high school, or his divorce twenty years ago, these are also post-childhood memories. Again, these memories are probably not the event in which he initially adopted the core belief that is the root of his present emotional pain. They are most likely situations in which he used his already-established core belief to interpret each particular event.

Nevertheless, it is NOT the responsibility of the ministry facilitator to determine if the “right” memory has surfaced capable of answering the question, “How did I come to believe what I believe that is causing me to feel what I am feeling?”  Rather, by asking the two EMOTION Box questions repeatedly until the person stops surfacing a different memory will help bring this about.

Now that we have laid down a foundation for understanding post-childhood memory, we are ready to discover a protocol for dealing with it in a ministry session.

Proceed to Part 2 Post-Childhood Memory

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email