Defining Creative Imprinting

Children look to their parent(s) for guidance. What they seek is affirmation and acceptance. Most individuals attribute some degree of their behavior to gaining the approval of their parents. Due to this, we adopt patterns reflecting all the Compatibility Factors that are not our own. This imprinting process is motivated and reinforced by parents who seek to see themselves in their children. The more we are unclear about who we are, the more pressure we place on our children to be superficially like us. For example, this means if our parents are faster pace, we will naturally try to respond quickly. If our parents are Think First, we try to remember to check in with our Thoughts before we act. Imprinting as a whole is very confusing because we end up losing our sense of self in others’ ideas about us, which increases our need to be reassured by them. This is why Imprinting is a trap. The more we are caught, the more we need reassurance about who we are.

As babies, most of us are looking for support and guidance. We are trying to learn how to get our needs met without overwhelming our parents. We may have a sense of our own possibilities, but we have no concept of how to actualize these ideas. It is no wonder that we become entranced by our parents’ behaviors, because they are the only real examples we have of actualized individuals. New parents also have a learning curve, as they are typically unsure how to care for their children on every level. Parents seek guidance from their parents, aunts, uncles and whomever else they can to do the best job they know how. When they look at their child, they see the best in them, which is, naturally, what they conceive of as the best. For many parents, they have not yet considered how different their child may be from their (the parent’s) natural way of being. This is why parents are typically indifferent about their child’s difference, believing that raising their children is their main focus, not adapting to the child’s creative needs. As a result, it is easier for parents to see a child as a simple extension of themselves where they can install their values without consideration.

The main way out of imprinting process is to find a way of being that increases the child’s sense of flow and joy in being Alive. The main way to reinforce an imprinting process is to keep trying to do behavior that previously made someone happy but now does not. Finding our own natural expression ends with joy, while doing another’s expression ends with pain. This points out that much of the angst we carry was actually not only the patterns and conflicts we absorbed from our parents, but the fact we did not think we were sufficient in our natural way of being. When our parents imprint us, it is more than what we say or do, because we are actually attempting to imitate them and live up to their standards. This means, as children, we take on the Excitement, Intensity and Anxiety of our parent’s thoughts and then react to it, which creates inner turbulence. The more we are confused and feel trapped, the more hopeless it seems about releasing ourselves from our imprinting. We end up absorbing the imbalances of our parents that go along with their patterns of engagement. Even if we have the same Creative Expressions as our parents, their emotional, intellectual and sensory distortions will still create a conflict within us (and therefore, between us and others). This is amplified in differences in Motives, Attractions and Relationship Skills.

We consider Imprinting successful when we lose our sense of self and attempt to gain approval by patterns of behavior which are not naturally our own. This ’success’ is amplified when parents pay attention to us, at least initially, when we do an Imprint. Sometimes mirroring our parents’ patterns can seem much safer than being our Self. It is interesting to note that many new parents are stimulated to engage new processes around their newborns. When parents become engrossed in our Creative Expression, we could come to believe that doing this imprint engages parents in being more authentic or seeing themselves on a deeper level. This can lead to a justification that our imprints help our parents. The problem is that we are compromising ourselves by doing their imprinting and, in effect, cutting ourselves off from a path of Authentic Self Expression. Our parents feel justified giving us the patterns of their success, because they believe it is their job to help us survive and succeed in the world. Unfortunately, mutual good intentions cancel each other out and end up creating damage to the relationship between the child and parents. Until the imprinting issues are addressed, this damage is hard to heal.

Confusion about who we are arises when we realize that our internal beliefs or expectations are not consistent with our outer experience. Imprinting disconnects us from our reality by convincing us we have to be someone we are really not. In this way, the more we take on imprinting, the less we can trust the experiences of life to make sense. Our thoughts about what is happening are isolated from our experience. We become attached to the idea of another’s acceptance rather than seeing what we are doing no longer works. The more we impose a false sense of who we are on our reality, the more difficult it is for others to connect to us. More importantly, the greater our imprinting, the more frustrated, irritated and agitated we become when others do not preemptively accept us as we present ourselves. This is why individuals who need to be accepted feel compelled to accept others as they are. Imprinting rewires us, so what we consider to be acts of kindness actually creates more damage that we imagine. In our effort to treat others as we would like to be treated, it does not take into account the differences between us and others. On investigation, the act that seems kind to us may actually discount and disregard someone in his or her own self perception. This is how the act of believing our Imprinting creates a disconnect within ourselves, so we cannot see our disconnect with others when we engage them. Imprinting creates greater separativeness because we come to not trust our own perceptions.

  Imprinting is a sore spot in our psyche where we end up constantly reacting to others’ perceptions about us. We are always off-balance and agitated when someone does not cleanly perceive our intentions. This is why we end up needing more reassurance, because the reality of the interaction does not make sense to us. In effect, what we are doing is acting out of a predefined pattern of belief between who we are and how others respond to us. Over time, certain patterns of behavior become viewed as the way we need to compromise ourselves to be accepted. Imprinting focuses us on filling stop-gap measures so others do not become upset with us. Ironically, the more we do our imprinting, the more we end up creating the opposite effect of what we want.

The process of becoming more authentic requires releasing our imprinting so we do not invest in false perceptions and desires. Paradoxically, Imprinting reinforces self-doubt and allows us to hide who we really are. The point is that by healing our imprinting we become more fluid in expressing our Creative Self. This makes us more adaptive, flexible and fluid in our approach, which might challenge any role-playing fixations we create. This can create a fear that things may go wrong and we may not be safe. This is why going against Imprinting takes the high road and is not initially comfortable. Healing our Imprinting means reprogramming automatic assumptions by asking if our current way of being is true. If we are being true to ourselves, we do not take on others’ perceptions of us and react to them. We also do not need reassurance about who we are.

The source of imprinting is how others’ ideas become imposed upon us. Initially, our parents want to help us be more like them to resolve issues in a way they think will work best. Our inability to convey our own sense of what is natural causes us to accept their perceptions about what is needed in order to gain approval. What makes this so difficult is that if we knew then how to communicate our experience, and they knew how to recognize our way of being, the situation could have turned out much better. Unfortunately, being put on the spot without the ability to be seen leads us to accept our parent’s reality over our own, which traumatizes us around our own natural Creative Expression. We then become programmed to attempt to be what they want us to be, which not only distances us from our Creative Source; but, guarantees we will be in pain when others do not appreciate our self-presentation. A great example of this is when a child decides they want to do something different in a career path (than was planned for them). Some of us are never able to break out of our parents’ orbits.

The more we become identified with our Imprinting, the less we invest or accept our own Authentic Nature. It is ironic that the pain of our Imprinting causes us to avoid engaging our real, Authentic Nature because we are afraid to add more pain to our existing interactions. This creates a hardening or deadening of our natural openness and availability. It creates a negative cycle, where we become increasingly crystallized and locked into imprinted patterns. Eventually, we do not even see any other options. It is important to distinguish that Imprinting operates on an Instinctive level so this full framework is usually not conscious. This is different than our defensive framework, because it has more intellectual decision-making and can be figured out, given enough time. Imprinting triggers many of our reactions with other people, without a conscious understanding as to why. It is also very hard to identify what others are reacting to in us. Rest assured, we can assume at least half the reactions of others have to do with Imprinting issues. If we were to heal our Imprinting, we would not only possess greater clarity about our Creative Nature (so we could invest in who we are), but we would greatly reduce the friction we experience in meeting others.

Since our society is composed of seven different creative expressions on three different levels, there is much opportunity for confusion. Even if we happen to have parents with the same Creative Expressions as us, there are still differences is how we do things that they may not approve of. This is particularly true around Pacing, Communication Process and Decision Making Approach. Creative Expression imprinting is also accentuated by our imprinting around Goals, Modes and Attitudes. Finally, our cultural setting can also dramatically affect our Imprinting and how well we fit into our communities. Each community has expressions it both accepts and rejects. In order to have greater congruence, many communities could be described in terms of authentic expressions they accept and the imprinting they expect. This creates cultural differences, not only in different countries, but in different regions or cities within a country. For example, Boulder, Colorado amplifies and accepts all Visionary and Inventor expressions, but neutralizes Storyteller expressions at the imprinting level and rejects Implementer at the authentic level. It is important to recognize that most of what we identify as feeling accepted and comfortable in a community is, in fact, a reflection of how congruent our imprinting is compared to the local norms. When we do not fit into a particular group, a good percentage of the tension experienced is the difference in perception around beliefs that are either accepted or discounted in the community.

Usually, we are unconscious of the behaviors that reflect our imprinting. If we do become conscious of them, it is because someone has pointed this out to us. A general theorem of this work is that whenever we become tired, stressed out, or upset, we automatically begin to behave in a way that matches our parents more than ourselves, i.e., ‘doing our imprinting.’ Imprinting is how we have learned to fake it to gain the approval of our parents, teachers, or society. When one of the seven Creative Expressions shows up as imprinting, we are usually acting, not being authentic, and not being seen for what we are doing, no matter how hard we try. This distinction of being authentic or doing imprinting can most clearly be seen when an individual authentically doing their Creative Expression interacts with a person doing an imprinted version. It creates repulsion, reaction and a judgment that imprinted person is phony or unreliable. Many of our choices in relationship have to do with these kinds of reactions to others.

The ‘Cost Of Imprinting’ graphic focuses on the constant effort required to show up in our imprinting. We become quickly exhausted and are not able to process events in the moment. The more imprinting we do, the more it distracts us from being able to focus on our Authentic Life Expression. Most important, we do not trust we can move forward and be resourceful because the imprinting has always distracted us. When we do imprinting we are not whole beings, but objects, subjects and fixated ideas of who we should be. This means we do not allow ourselves to fully experience our Light, Life and Love energies. The more we do Imprinting, the more it encourages others to do their imprinting. This means we attract mediocre individuals with no desire for growth or improvement. When we begin to release our Imprinting, we know it is working by the quality of those individuals who are attracted to us.  

Imprinting can also confuse us around Pacing, Approach and Communication Process. If a low-paced boy has difficulties with his father, and receives support primarily from his mother (who is fast paced), he will learn to associate that women require him to speed up his pacing. This guarantees he will be attracted to fast-paced women who exhaust him. This can be validated by how much this man has places he goes to where no one can disturb him, or he can take a nap without interruption. Until he learns the impact of choosing a fast paced partner, he will unconsciously seek them out without questioning how they impact him. We also see situations where a very feminine girl grows up with a highly Convergent Decision Making mother, who teaches her to focus and prioritize her activities. In this case, the girl may become very effective at breaking down problems, analyzing what she needs and coming up with an action plan that gets here where she wants to go. Unfortunately, this will not make the girl happy or joyful, because her natural process will be to do the opposite so she can openly explore options while moving at her own speed (to engage possibilities). Her Decision-Making Imprinting keeps her from options that would work for her.

Many boys and girls in the United States grow up with a degree of emotional repression. This often confuses their natural Communication Process sequence. Instead of trusting in their CP, they become overly sensitive and either preemptively attempt to describe everything or minimize their descriptions and refuse to engage when others ask questions. This confusion teaches some children to copy their parent’s action plan by pushing activities, while other parents teach their children to think about everything before making a decision. The result is a denial of key qualities in the Decision Making process that are needed for us to effectively connect to others. We each have seven options for Goals and Attitudes, but many of us are imprinted into acting as though our parent’s goals and attitudes are our own. This affects our direction, particularly in the early part of life, and also distracts us from our Authentic Life Expression.

It is important to remember how much effort it takes to maintain these appearances. Doing these behaviors automatically generates resistance in others because it is not natural for us. The reactions are particularly strong if others have a natural expression where we are doing the imprinted version. Most imprinting is caught up in doing something to prove us capable in a certain way. When others resist our actions, we usually put more effort into the act until they back off or explode on us. If our imprinted expression is mirrored back to us we are repulsed because we see our parents patterns in us. This is one of the main reasons imprinting is not studied or explored, because many of us are choosing partners who have the same Expressions and Imprinting as our parents. Due to this familiarity, we are also initially attracted to people because we can predict their behaviors. Unfortunately, it gets old quickly and what was once attractive can quickly become repulsive. It does not encourage us to study imprinting if it will reveal how similar our partners are to our parents.

In the graphic above, we can see how the imprinting of the young woman matches the expression patterns of the two parents. This creates a desire in her for Safety, which is met by her husband (at right) who has the same patterns as her father (including most of his same imprinting). Most individuals choose instinctive partners at least in their teens and twenties. The important thing to remember about these distinctions is that we are the only ones who can validate them. We do this by choosing where to take risks and step into new possibilities where we have no pre-existing patterns of behavior. While we may be unsure about what will happen, it will be freeing, affirming and generate a sense of Aliveness within because we are expressing ourselves authentically. If we are caught in our imprinting, we are repeating patterns, hoping the Excitement, Intensity and Anxiety within us will be submerged into the Excitement, Intensity and Anxiety of those we are with. Through unconscious merging, we think we do not have to be responsible for the results.

While initially it is valuable to have a Coach or Facilitator profile us to quicken our self-examination process, we actually need to explore and discover our own truth. While it may be difficult to accept, there is a reason for having children with different patterns in our life. First of all, if we have not completed our own parental patterns, we tend to have children who will help us do this. Second, we select individuals with the same Compatibility Factors that express themselves in different ways so we do not recreate the same patterns again. Unfortunately, this seldom works, as the more fear we have about something, the more likely the universe will give us another opportunity to resolve it. Imprinting is a way of demonstrating we can learn to be a certain way to please our parents. Our attachments to proving who we are can seem more real than just being ourselves because it is exciting to pull off this deception. One of the challenges of dealing with imprinting is that we feel enabled to pull the wool over others eyes because we believe everybody does it. We do not realize that we can only pull the wool over the eyes of people who are compromised and caught in their own imprinting. Any individual who is on a creative growth path would be able to see these imprints if they knew what they were looking for.

We remake our view of ourselves when we invest in our Authentic Creative Expression. It is helpful to have a guide in the process so they can reflect our nature back and we can step into a possibility without past imprinted perceptions interfering with our own creativity. This is because agreement generates hope, and the more we accept ourselves, the more likely we will expand into a possibility when it is congruent with us. Compatibility Assessments are more about releasing ourselves from our past perceptions so we can become clear and present in this moment. The effective use of a Creative Assessment is to explore options, so the process becomes one that deepens and enriches our understanding of ourselves. Some individuals believe that identifying people’s behavioral patterns somehow minimizes their creative versatility. Actually, we assess individuals so they can examine their own truth and release themselves from the compromised patterns of their childhood. By deepening into our Self and prioritizing what is true, we come to embody our creative essence. We are only predictable to the degree when others do not accept their Creative Nature and rely on their Imprinting, Pretenses and Defenses.

Intergenerational Imprinting is when a grandparent pattern is the same as their grandchild’s. We commonly see reinforcement around certain issues in alternate generations because each generation tends to rebel against its own parental pattern. This means children grow up seeing the limitations of their parent’s patterns and adopt opposite ways of dealing with these issues, which are then repeated in their own children. This is what makes Conditioning and Defenses entirely predictable. Of course, who we are is beyond any superficial behavioral study.

This process will repel some individuals because they are not ready for it. Others will be repelled because of their negative associations of being classified, particularly by an authority figure. Usually this is due to the fact that we are still caught up in childhood patterns of Objectification and Subjectification. When parents try to make us something like themselves, they objectify us. It is up to us to step beyond an object status and express our Authentic Creative Nature. Another childhood pattern is waiting to be told what is true for us. This creates defensive patterns where our parent’s interpretation of who we are can become who we are when we accept their views over our own. The opportunity is to claim our truth, independent of our parents, which requires knowing what our truth is. Judging others and our self makes the identification of Compatibility Factors more of a projection on others rather than an invitation to explore authentic qualities. These projections, particularly when combined with imprinting, are called Idealization, which is the third defensive distortion. This is because our discomfort is frequently used to make others wrong. When we cannot own our imprinting it separates us from others. When we struggle to validate our Creative Nature, we do not want to fall into patterns that reinforce more imprinting.

At the Instinctive level we have expressions we naturally embody and imprinting which we pretend to be so others will accept us. Our main imprinting can actually cover up our Mental Body Expression, making us doubt ourselves. Instead of being our Mental Body Expression, we can get caught up in doing a version of the expression differently in order to avoid being considered similar to our parents. This is especially true when our parents are not actualized and expressing their creativity clearly or cleanly. Individuating ourselves from our parents is a part of the healing process. Realizing that we do not need to take on their patterns is another step in the healing process. Ultimately, it is breaking pre-established conditioning where we believe we must define ourselves in terms of others so we will not be attacked. We must clarify our Imprinting to prevent attacks from our parents and others.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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