Interrupted Reaching Out Movement (IROM)
Interrupted Reaching Out Movement (IROM) is a simple label for a complex dynamic. IROM stems from a disruption in the flow of love in the relationship between parent and child and can lead to a reduced capacity for being present in your life and feeling primary emotions. This makes connection to others, the world and to themselves difficult, and in crucial situations personal power may prove elusive.
For those of us who have had the experience of IROM, we are often outwardly very active, independent and functional people with highly developed skills, coping strategies and knowledge. While we may be successful professionally and financially, we may recognise something crucial is missing – that despite our efforts, skills and successes, our thirst for wholeness isn’t satisfied. For example, we may have addictive behaviours or struggle in relationships with intimacy and connection.
A child’s basic personality structures, learning to BE and how to relate arise in the context of parental relations. A split develops between the true self and the coping strategies when a child’s emotional approaches toward the parent are met with either indifference, disdain, aggression, or simply the parent for a multitude of reasons is unable to be present for the child.
If the child’s needs are not met there are no options, the focus is on survival. The child learns to adjust and adapt with behaviours as an attempt to have their emotional needs met. They will carry these behaviours into adulthood without realising the impact on their personal development and relationships with others and themselves.
There are 3 Ego States that we can be in at any given time depending on what is happening around us. We can fall into any of these states, similar to falling into a trance.
The three ego states are –
Wounded Child – the part of us that was wounded in early childhood when caregivers were unable to fulfil the child’s real needs, and that still impacts us in our adult lives.
Adapted Adult – the part of us that denies, abandons and turns against the pain and distress of the wounded child by medicating ourselves in order to not feel.
We can be incredibly creative in how we do that and the list is endless. Here are some ways in which we creatively adjust and medicate ourselves against the wounds of our childhood –
Addictive behaviours such as drugs and alcohol, perfectionism, people pleasing etc
Functional Adult –
Is the part of us that behaves appropriately to our age NOW. The FA understands the wounds of their childhood and is able to allow and accept the distress and pain as it comes. The Functional Adult is able to meet the needs of the wounded part of themselves with compassion and acceptance.
When we, in our adult life, are being impacted by the unfulfilled needs of our childhood, we can often fall back into the space of the “wounded child” and this can influence how we operate in the world in that moment.
This is where, with awareness, the FA can begin the process of acknowledging that the wounded part is present, and with the help of a therapist can go back in time to visit that small child and begin the journey towards healing.
In other words, for us as adults to live our lives in a fulfilling and meaningful way, we have to re-parent ourselves. We have to let go of some of those behaviours that are out-dated, damaging and not relevant to who we are NOW.
In the framework of Family Constellations, a trance encounter with the representatives of the parents can have enormous impact when we as the client are given the opportunity to come back to our feelings and primary emotions, whilst at the same time re-learning and experiencing our primary reaching out movements.
When we bridge our inner splits and connect to our deeper self, we begin to experience deeper personal satisfaction and new ways of relating with others and our environment. This can lead to a more enriching and meaningful life as we become more open, creative and spontaneous as opposed to being stuck in old, fixed behaviours stemming from the primary emotions of our past.
“One birth has been given to you by your parents, the other birth is waiting. It has to be given to you by yourself. You have to father and mother yourself”. OSHO
Acknowledgement: Some of the above material is adapted from writings by Bert Hellinger, Ursula Franke and Pia Melody.
Maria Dolenc is family therapist and constellation facilitator at Byron Private Treatment Centre, Byron Bay. Qualified as a Gestalt Therapist, Family Constellation Facilitator and Addictions Counsellor Maria has over twenty years experience working with individuals, couples, families and groups. She devotes most of her spare time doing what she loves – family systemic / constellation work