Many times, people write to me or phone me and the conversation goes like this: “tell my dog/cat to not: chew the shoes, pee on the sofa, bite, etc……..” Many people think that animals cannot understand what is wrong and what is right. They believe that animals behave badly because they are not intelligent enough to behave properly. Humans believe they need animal communication to “teach” or to “command” their animals on how to behave
I have news: animals understand everything and there are different reasons why animals behave “badly” (judged by human standards). Children also behave “badly” until they are grown-ups and nobody doubts that children understand everything. Criminals also behave “badly” or not according to social standards and we know they can understand very well, what they are doing.
So, the question is not: “how can we make my dog/cat behave better?” But “Why he or she is behaving like this?”
The reason why a human or animal behave in a certain anti-social way varies: psychiatric disease, trying to get attention, hunger, anger, fear, trauma, trying to communicate, mirroring the human family …mainly everything can go under the umbrella-term of psychological problem. I believe that many will agree with me that: anti-social humans act the way they do because they do have a psychological problem.
The way we behave is determined by various factors: the way we are raised, where we are raised, by whom, survival, physical or psychiatric disease. During my years in the Catholic University in Brazil, studying psychology, I had the honor to work with street children left in a state orphanage (FEBEM- Fundacao para o bem estar do menor). I would have to say that it was not the easier job to do, these children do have behaviors (as soon as 7 years old) not accepted by society. Extremely deprived of: parents, love and caring, these children behave in a dangerous way. Unfortunately, society has not yet come with a solution for human’s sociopath behavior; the same cannot be said for animals.
Animals also, many times, mirror their human to warn him of a “non healthy behavior” of the human himself. When I was doing a seminar that did not help me and was even wrong for me, my cat started peeing on the sofa. It took me 2 weeks to realize he was telling me that I was doing the wrong seminar, losing my time, away from them and losing my money.
Many times, animals will mirror us to show us of a faulty behavior that we adopted. Animal Communicator and Biologist, Martha Williams, wrote a book about the subject called: “My animal, myself”. Many times, odd behaviors are there just to call the human attention that something is wrong. She says in an interview that: “Animals mirror us in different levels: emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. And they do that because they are more open heart and empathetic than people are. Animals are aware and reacting with everything that is going on inside of us. The processing of mirroring can go very deep.”
This article is related to behavior based on past trauma. Behavior caused by fear which in turn is caused by an event that threatened the life of the animal.
What is trauma?
“Psychological trauma is damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. Trauma may result from a single distressing experience or recurring events of being overwhelmed that can be precipitated in weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances, eventually leading to serious, long-term negative consequences.”(1)
According to Sigmund Freud : ‘Trauma’ is a twofold concept in that it relates to mental experience and links an external event with the specific after-effects on an individual ‘s psychic reality.”
Humans, animals and plants have a body and a life. Following their survival instincts, they have basic needs they must to fulfill to remain alive. The experience of living, day to day, is a continuous striving to fulfill: Basic, psychological and self-fulfillment needs.
Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. (2)
If we look at Maslow pyramid, the basic needs every being has are:
- Physiological needs
- Safety and Security needs
- Love and belonging needs
- Self actualization
From the moment a baby is born, he is subject to trauma, many psychologists believe even the birth is a cause for trauma. Animals get traumatized when separated from their mother, not to mention all traumas that animal abuse and industrial farming can engender.
On a general rule, animals close to humans are more vulnerable to trauma than wild animals that have no contact or minimum contact with humans. Somehow, the need of humans to control and rule vulnerable or weaker creatures, including themselves, transforms the adventure of living into a challenge for humans and animals alike. Humans still view and feel themselves as separate and superior to nature, which is bringing catastrophic result to the planet, itself. Be it karma or not, our mission is to understand, alleviate and use compassion in all our animals and beings that we meet.
Animal Communicator Teresa Wagner worked closely with animals in shelters and, taught by the whales, she says that: if she is to help suffering beings, it is better to put her own reactions in the background. She found out that all the love and compassion sent to the animal, help her, also. As many healers know, the more healing you send, the more it comes back to you. She also learned that the intention is the most important part- not pity. Pity, as Anna Breytenbach (animal communicator from South Africa) says, if very dis-empowering, for animals and humans alike.
Teresa Wagner says in an article: “In addition to the intention the whales taught me, I always use Flower Essence Society’s Glassy Hyacinth flower essence, which helps the intention of getting to and staying with the compassion, not the horror. Some of the writings and meditations of Steven Levine also help me with this (Living with Dying). He does a great job of helping one learn to offer loving kindness to suffering without getting lost in it, and yet to never succumb to being repelled by it or inappropriately try to be a hero to fix it.”
Therapy and healing
Animals respond very well to any kind of healing: Reiki, psychotherapy, counseling, Ayurveda, homeopathy, Bach remedies, Theta healing, Tellington TTouch.
Penelope Smith, the pioneer in animal communication says: “This is a time of the darkness of humanity being exposed, so all of us can shine the light of our truth upon it, and shift from conflict into the cooperative spirit of love. Sinking into the darkness by fixedly contemplating the brutality of life drains our life force and adds to the malaise. Uniting with our deepest goodness and that of others while focusing on the positive light and action we can bring to aspects of life to which we are drawn is uplifting and energizing. Do what you need to do to help yourself focus on uplifting your own life force and you will then be able to do the same for others.”(3)
My clients are always asking for immediate solution for a behavior problem. Humans, since the times have changed so much, are conditioned to expect immediate solutions and success; from: taking a pill for their headache, to eating a ready meal. They forgot the old ways, when humans had to scavenger for food or hunt, when they had to look for seeds to plant, when they had to douse to find water; now, everything can be bought in a supermarket. Internet is full of scams that prey in this naïve belief, that things can be attained overnight and that success can be reached thorough a reality-TV-show.
Incredibly, I am asked, most of the time “if I can do anything at a distance to solve their problem”. Besides being a sign of ignorance and arrogance, it shows that the humans themselves do not live with compassion. They only look at their own goals and problems.
The need for more compassion and healing in our world is huge. It starts with empathy, as our animals show us. Realizing how the other feels and working for their well being .Our world/mother earth is in urgent need of love and compassion.