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Muddled Magic

For years I have had the feeling that there was an extremely important character moving around my inner village, but one who remained hidden in the shadows. However, I was never able to identify this shadowy inner self clearly or work out what they were actually doing.

Quite suddenly, this character has emerged, I can see her, can give her a name and start to describe her. I call this character the "Little Trauma Witch"

I realise that I am at a very early stage in my awareness of this powerful character. However I get the impression that whatever significant problems I face in my inner village (the things that go seriously wrong, that get distorted or badly out of balance, my worst clamps and blockages) are in some way under the influence of what I call her "muddled magic".

Note: If you recognise a similar character in your inner village you might prefer to call them your " Little Trauma Wizard". I am writing here, about my "Little Trauma Witch" not with a sexist bias, but because she is the character I recognise who is at work in my village.  I am very interested to know what you think about this character. As yet I have spent very little time dialoguing with my own Witch, but it somehow seems as though she has suddenly agreed to help me to write these notes. It is  too early yet to be sure of anything about her character but the notes below cover what I have learned so far.

Muddled Magic and the Little trauma Witch or Wizard

Below, I have made the list of some of the things that tell me that my Little Trauma Witch is busy in my village. These happen to be the same patterns people display if they experienced severe childhood trauma (as I did as a child). So, I suppose I had better explain first what I'm talking about when I use the word "trauma".

Let's start with a psychological-type definition of trauma:

"One or more violent, frightening experiences, a series  of ordeals that result in long-lasting damage to a person's physical or mental ability to handle their life."

Most traumatic events seem far more serious to a small child than to an adult. To the child they seem to present a very real threat to any one of:

    * their ability to hold on to their sanity, their mental health

    * their ability to exist as an individual, their identity

    * their ability to survive, their physical existence


    * all three of these critically important aspects of their life.

And of course in the worst cases what the child fears is not just a threat. The possibility that it could happen is all too real. Experiences like this should not have happened to us as children. In such cases, if you prefer, instead of the word "trauma" you could call it "abuse". Because that's what it is.

What I noticed - Signs of Muddled Magic in my Inner Village

Here are some of the typical patterns in daily behaviour that you might notice in grown-up people who have experienced childhood trauma:

 * A high level of polarised all-or-nothing thinking (for example: seeing people, events and objects as either black or white, all good or all bad, powerless or overpowering, winners or losers).

    * Too wide a gap between opposite pairs of selves (too happy or too sad; too loving or too angry; too personal or too impersonal, too up or too down, either super-active or overly suppressed)

    * Higher than expected levels of intensity in responding or reacting to problems or just too much "revving the engine" or talking too loudly. (See separate page High Intensity  Cannons, crucifixes and concrete).

* Flips backwards and forwards between the any two polar opposite selves. When a flip happens it is usually rapid. Flips are highly visible to other people but often the individual does not even notice the change. Some flips may involve major mood swings.

* Hyper-vigilance - watching for emotional storms on the horizon using powerful emotional radar, difficulty sleeping ("sleeping with one eye open").

* Over use of ways of prediction of other people's behaviour. Over reaction to other people's comments or actions. Reading other people's minds. Usually involves telling the other person what you are predicting or "know" about how they are going to react.

    * A high level of distortion or denial about what is really happening around them (distorted reality, distorted view of real life, real objects, real experiences) confusion, reduced awareness of what is really happening.

    * A similarly high level of blocking (or denial and, or distortion) of memories of the past

    * A high level of blocking (or denial and, or distortion) of what might be expected to happen to that person in their near future.

    * Blocking the ordinary reality of possible failure. An unjustified or excessively optimistic level of enthusiasm around whatever the person is trying to achieve. ("Nothing can stop me!" or "I know everything will work out the way I planned.")

    * Blocking the reality of possible success. A high level of blockages, clamps, and self-imposed limitations around whatever the person wants to achieve. ("nothing works for me!" or "I can’t do it.") See Disempowering selves (link to come)

    * A strong feeling that whatever goes wrong around me is "my fault" and that I'm responsible for fixing it. Low self-esteem.

    * Regularly repeated patterns of "self-defeating" behaviour.

    * Boundary issues (too high, too low, inconsistent, non-existent)

    * Many of the main inner selves in the individual's village think, speak, act and express emotions more as a child would compared with a grown-up. (The self's emotional age is often appears to be as young as 8-10 years)

and perhaps the single most significant characteristic of all ......

    * fear of making changes or doing things differently.  Often this resistance to change is unusually strong.

The more serious the childhood trauma the more these patterns (above) are likely to be obvious to other people and invisible to the individual who is experiencing them.

Non-Psychological Explanation

OK enough of the traditional psychological stuff. How about looking at all this in terms of life in our old inner village, the new Awareness Village up on the hill and the Little Trauma Witch?

Where Does She Come from? Emergence of the Little Trauma Witch.

The trauma witch appears to enter the village as a direct result of traumatic or very negative experiences, particularly in early childhood. How does this happen?

One of the most damaging effects of trauma is that none of the "normal" primary inner selves, appear able to do anything about it. These are the inner selves who are used to handling all of the problems in the inner village. Suddenly they find themselves powerless to deal with traumatic events, either at the time that events are happening or afterwards.

This, of course, is the typical scenario that leads to the creation of new inner selves.

In my case it was the Little Trauma Witch who appeared in my village, claiming that she had the power to stop the trauma from happening again. In addition, she claimed she could fix the damage caused by it.

Keep in mind that like the other inner selves, the Little Trauma Witch is likely to have an emotional age between six and 10 years. What I think happens is:

    * all the conventional inner selves have proved powerless to deal with the abuse.

    * the Little Trauma Witch is stuck with the job and therefore decides to try some alternative solutions, in particular the power of deeper and more instinctual forces which we might today call "magic". These include the powers of denial, disassociation, and distortion.

    * if her "magic" appears to help (even temporarily) than she becomes the preferred character responsible for dealing with more and more problems in the village rather than handing them back to the conventional inner selves once the trauma has passed.

    * however, because the Little Trauma Witch does not have the maturity to handle these powers she tends to get things muddled up much of the time.

So, instead of providing real protection and fixing problems, when she unleashes her powers my Little Inner Witch finishes up confusing the rest of the people in the inner village. No one seems immune to her magic as she floats around them casting her little spells. Some selves, like the Judge, the Inner Critic, the Rule Maker, and of course the inner Patriarch and Matriarch actually seem to like what she is doing because it creates more opportunities for them to come in and criticise things in the village.

And this is why so often in adulthood we find ourselves feeling unsuccessful, confused, unbalanced or distorting our reality. We find ourselves repeating patterns of self-defeating behaviour and often we are unable to see any of this clearly, even though it is obvious to others around us. We may even feel as though we are caught up in some kind of magic spell that has got out of hand. Perhaps this is closer to the truth than we realised.

Confusion Disassociation and Distortion

The Little Trauma Witch can set up a wide range of different kinds of distortions. I think I will find that she is the character behind most of the inner selves who live in the North East corner of my village, the ones I describe as the "clamps" those disempowering, disguised and confused selves: For example:

Blockages and Clamps

I am getting the impression that most of the things that don't work properly in my village are in some way under the influence of my Trauma Witch. All the things that I can't do, my procrastination, my negative core beliefs not to mention my (until recently paralysing) inner Matriarch, all of them seemed to be connected to her in some way. (See separate page on The The Complex corner  link to come)

Self Image

Her attempts at magic distorts our self image, unbalances our self esteem, shrinks our ability to love ourselves. She may even tell us that we are being conceited, selfish, or sinful if we attempt to love ourselves or build up our self esteem!

Sense of Identity

Her muddled magic undermines our sense of identity, telling us we are not who we really are but rather we are whatever others say we are.

Sense of Reality

This distorts our sense of reality, our ability to see hear and sense what is actually happening around us. We think we are still hearing and seeing accurately when really we are missing things that are important or hearing words that are not actually being spoken.

One Side Magnified - Other Sides Hidden

Muddled magic also blinds us so we cannot see that most things in life have two, three or more sides. When the Little Trauma Witch is active we see one of those sides as if it was magnified while we have difficulty seeing the other sides at all.

Damaged Steering

This damages our steering mechanism, that is our ability to make easy and flexible adjustments in response to changing situations. Making positive changes in our lives appears as a difficult, scary or impossible task, when in reality making a positive change is a sign we are growing.

Instead of being able to move smoothly (mentally, emotionally or physically) in different directions, we find it too difficult to shift, we get stuck, we can't make the kind of easy adjustments that would help us keep our mental, emotional and physical lives in balance. we cannot make the changes in our life that would really make a positive difference.

Getting Others to Change Is What Makes Us Happy

One of the greatest distortions that come from the muddled magic is the belief that the only way we can be happy is to get other people around us to change. Along with this she also tells us that (if and when) the other person changes (and provided they change the way we want them to) this will magically empower us with that elusive sense of feeling love, safety and happiness that we have been seeking throughout our lives. (See separate pages on Making Changes That Make a Difference and Myths about Not Being Able to Change)  Links you to our Relationship Secrets website.


Her magic robs us of our ability to look after our own needs at those times when there is no one else around who can be our friend. She may even tell us that it is selfish to think about looking after ourselves, that we don't deserve this and that we should spend our time looking after other people who are more worthy than we are. (And expect that this is the only way to get other people to look after us!)

Damaging Our Boundaries

The Little Trauma Witch doesn't understand boundaries, those energetic and physical shields that we all need to protect our self  from the impact other people can have on us. (And our impact on other people.) Because she doesn't understand them she usually tries to weaken them. We can try to strengthen them again but she undermines them faster than we can build them up.

Cutting off Our Spiritual Connection

Her fear of what she doesn't understand causes her to cut us off from our deep inner spirit, our soul, our sense of having a spiritual connection with our God (in whatever way we seek to know our own particular Higher Power)

Negative Core Beliefs

It is becoming obvious to me that the Little Trauma Witch is very much involved in setting up and maintaining most negative core beliefs within us.

What Do We Do about the Little Trauma Witch?

As with all inner selves, you cannot get rid of any of them once they are established as protectors in your inner village. And, keep in mind that she is still only a little girl trying her hardest to fix things that are beyond her capacity to fix. She needs a rest rather than condemnation. But you can look at the lack of balance she is creating. Whatever powerful selves exists within us, there must always be an opposite personality somewhere nearby who can help with this balancing.

Creating a more flexible balance with an opposite self means she is not rejected or discredited but she will get a chance to take a rest.

I imagine that there is a more grown-up witch or a wizard living in my new inner village up on the hill who has the power to balance the muddled magic cast by the Little Trauma Witch. If so, perhaps they will provide us with the answer. What do you think?

   See The troublesome ten percent (link to come here)