Sharing is caring!

Instead of owning your awesomeness – all your unique gifts, skills, talents, education, and experience – have you made an unconscious decision to be invisible?

Have you made a vow- a deep and long-standing commitment originating in childhood – a vow not to shine (for this would incur great anxiety)? Maybe you learned way back when, that it was safer to blend into the background and maybe even not be seen at all.

Could this be you?

If you’ve made this vow of invisibility, the persona you show to the world is someone who:

  • fits in
  • who’s more appropriate
  • self-sacrificing
  • doesn’t stand up for their beliefs
  • has inadequate boundaries (is a “pleaser”)…

In other words, you’ve become a person who others like your parents, friends, family or teachers have told you you should be. 

Often, if you’ve been abused as a child, you learn that becoming invisible was one of the ways you kept safe. Your security was at stake if you were on the radar of someone who was abusive. With the intensity of emotion – often flight, fight, or freeze – your subconscious mind (all about feelings and emotions) took on a deeply rooted belief that in order to keep you safe and alive, you must, absolutely MUST, remain invisible. 

You learned as a child that if you were to show your true desires, dreams, feelings, or talents; you’d risk psychological, physical, or emotional danger.

Expressing your true self, standing out, owning your uniqueness, shining in your environment – these were what felt like life-or-death situations. 

For years now, if you resonate with any of this, you still carry the deeply rooted thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that stemmed from these childhood experiences.

Even though these experiences are long past, your subconscious is still running the program that it’s not safe to be seen.

  • It’s better to be invisible.
  • It’s better to be less noticed, particularly if it’s negative.
  • If you shine, you risk rejection, judgment, and attention.

That can be scary for many people, even though they may not be aware of why or where this fear comes from.

Taking on this invisibility vow limits your life in so many ways.

  • Are you passed up for promotions?
  • Are you in an unfair situation and afraid to speak up?
  • Do you let others take credit for your work?
  • Do you often downplay or deflect compliments?
  • Find it difficult to receive attention and recognition?
  • Are you undervalued or underpaid for your work?
  • Do your kids or partner disrespect you?
  • Do you have trouble asserting yourself and having strong and clear boundaries?

When you think of a bigger goal, do you feel the butterflies in your stomach of excitement or fear? Is the fear triggered from lack of confidence and of having to stand out in any way?

In the past, I had taken on the vow of invisibility. I say “vow” because it is a deeply rooted belief that this must be so- and boy, I was committed to it.

When you take the time to look at your beliefs and take them apart, you start to notice patterns. I know that a majority of my disempowering beliefs started in childhood. There was a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress in my home. To try to lessen it, I learned to stay in the background and not to “rock the boat.” If I stood out for any reason, I risked abuse. 

Sound familiar?

So when you go for your goals and dreams, it’s like you have the brakes on. Your conscious mind is going over the possibilities of a wonderful dream life for you, but your subconscious is running that old program in the background saying “Nope. Not gonna happen. Not on my watch. That could cause death and destruction to be seen like that. I have to protect you. Come hell or high water, you will not be shining today missy.” 

Your subconscious is still running on the program that was inlaid so long ago. It was cemented in by the emotional intensity you felt at the time.

They say you learn best by two methods: repetition and emotional trauma. Something that is emotionally intense (like one time I remember my parents really going at it, fighting) will stay with a child. Their mind isn’t mature enough to create a filter.

As a baby and young child, you are taking in everything in your environment. As you get older, you have the capability to filter out those things you choose to reject. However, all those experiences in your childhood are still with you unless you consciously choose to bring them to light and work on processing those experiences and creating new beliefs.

By the way, my traumatic and abusive childhood began after age 7 when my mother passed suddenly. My filter was just beginning to be utilized in my still growing brain/mind. All this negative crap going on is difficult for a child to make sense of. What happens is that children will often blame themselves. For example, “If I had only been there when this happened, or said this…then it wouldn’t have happened.” It becomes “magic thinking.” 

You internalize all those messages as a child and ultimately, for me, I learned that to be safe, you had to stick to the sidelines. It wasn’t okay to shine. My subconscious did a damn fine job of keeping me in the background. Hey – Nicole’s student government president this year? Yeah, well, that’s not gonna work for her. We’re just gonna show up as self-sabotage and have her flunk out of college the next year (yeah, not proud of that, but I did go back to college later!). 

Staying invisible is a choice.

At this point in your adult life, if you recognize this as a disempowering pattern and belief, you can choose to change this program and create a new one. 

What are some ways you can change this invisibility program you have running in the background?

  • Through repetition. Affirmations can be wonderfully powerful if they’re done correctly.
  • Through emotional intensity – like some kind of trauma. This jolts you out of your old programming. Not something I’d recommend. For example, a near-death experience changes people. An illness or a loved one passing – many people are moved to change in this regard. I know that my divorce was traumatic – and also the catalyst I needed to change. That was my “dark night of the soul” moment that broke me open to change myself.
  • Through EMDR. I used EMDR after the breakdown of my marriage. Incredibly powerful modality to processing your trauma.
  • EFT/tapping. Another powerful modality for producing what can be really quick change. 
  • Through an experienced coach who can help support and guide you through the personal and individual issues you may have. CONTACT ME to get started on your path to healing your inner wounding. I’ve also put together my best material into a course where you can learn to get your shine on and let go of old limiting beliefs. Check out the MASTERCLASS for my new course, Inner Illumination. 

Published by Nicole Nenninger

Nicole Nenninger MA Psychology, MA Marriage & Family Therapy Nicole is a coach (life and relationship), counselor, author and course instructor. She understands that the relationship you have with yourself reflects the overall quality of your life. In addition the relationship you have with yourself affects the relationship you have with your partner and with others. Nicole helps women in midlife who struggle with self-esteem and confidence, life purpose, life balance, motivation and direction, relationship issues, break-ups, and more. Nicole lives in a beautiful coastal town on Long Island, New York with her handsome husband and soul mate, 2 dogs and a cat. Her 4 children are young adults living their best lives. She loves running, reading, learning, kayaking, and going to the beach.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.