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Cutting the Ties

Release the Ties that Bind You

Growing Up and Moving On

Western culture has no coming-of-age ritual, where we proclaim to the family and the world that we are adults and childhood is over. We stay connected to our childhood and see our world through the eyes of a child. We may cut physical ties and move far away, but the emotional ties go the distance.


This Cutting the Ties process was created by Phyllis Krystal, author of Cutting the Ties that Bind: Growing Up and Moving On. This is one of powerful visualization exercises she created. Using symbols and pictures is a potent way to communicate with the subconscious.


You can start with your parents, or parental figures. Even if you have, or had, a wonderful relationship with them, this will help in unexpected ways. When this is done, you can do the process with your grown children, ex-spouses, or employment situations. Your dreams and your own intuition will guide you.


This process may need to be done again at some point in the future. Self-discovery and healing are like peeling back the layers of an onion; it takes time and sometimes there are tears of discomfort.

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Cutting the Ties Visualization Exercise

Make a List

Create a list for each of your parents or parent figures. One column should have their positive attributes and the other their negative attributes.  Look at it through the eyes of the child you were as you create it. 

The Exercise

The following exercise should be done daily, morning and evening, for at least two weeks. Do the exercise for no more than 2 minutes each time.  Start with one parent. After the completion exercise, take a 3 week break before starting with your next person.

1. Relax and sit comfortably in a chair and close your eyes.

2. Imagine that you have a golden circle around you on the ground, about arm’s distance.

3. Visualize a circle of the same size in front of you on the ground. That circle just touches yours. Make sure both circles are on the ground.

4. Whichever parent appears before you in the circle in your mind, is the one you should work on for the next 2 to 6 weeks.

5. In your imagination, make sure that you and your parent stay in your designated circles. If he/she crowds you, put them back as though he/she was a doll.

6. Imagine a healing neon electric blue light is at the point where your two circles meet. Push the blue light along the golden circles, going clockwise around your parent and counterclockwise around you, forming a figure eight.

7. Imagine everything negative about your parent and dump it into the healing blue light when it reaches the center point between you, going from you to him/her. This might include memories, traits from the list you made, events that occurred, and feelings. Pour it all into their circle or the blue light at the center point. When the blue light comes back to you, what you poured in is gone. Strong negative emotions may be brought up. Give it all to the light. Refer to your attribute list for inspiration if you need it.

8. To augment the process at other times of the day. Draw a figure 8. Place your initials in one loop of the 8 and those of your parent with whom you are cutting the ties in the other loop. Draw the figure 8 and do a mini version of the process. Trace a figure 8 with your finger.

9. You may find it helpful to record your dreams on a pad at your bedside. As you lay down to sleep say to yourself “I remember my dreams. I have excellent dream recall.” To determine what your subconscious is telling you, you can use the dream interpretation dictionary at


At the end of two weeks, are you still finding memories and emotions to throw into the other circle/light? If so, keep going. Be sure to look inside figurative closets, under beds and carpets for memories and emotions that are hidden.


When you have no more to put in the circle/light or 6 weeks have elapsed, do the final cutting the ties process.

1. Again, relax and sit comfortably in a chair and close your eyes. 

2. Imagine your golden circle and your parent in the other. There is no blue neon light.


3. Imagine a rope, a chain, a cable, or cord that connects you to your parent. It connects into your body at a specific point. The connector and connection point are different for everyone.


4. Hold the connector with both hands. Imagine your hands and the connector as light and bright.


5. Pull the connector out of your body and then out of your parent’s body.


6. Place your dominant hand over your wound where the connection was displaced. Your hand glows and heals. The wound disappears.

7. Drop the connector on the ground and destroy it by whatever means you choose.

8. Thank your parent and ask for forgiveness. They will then disappear, as will their circle.


9. Notice a body of water beside you. Remove all of your clothing and walk into the river. You are safe and feel free in the river. Wash yourself in the river. Submerse yourself completely.

10. Walk out of the river on the other side. Dress yourself in the clothing that has been placed there for you.

11. Slowly let the scene fade and awaken fully.

12. Do not talk about your experience with anyone for at least 3 days.

Cutting the ties with a parent, especially a mother, is an emotional process.  You may find yourself vulnerable for a few days.

The Negative Parent – Additional Exercise

A negative parent may have assumed a larger-than-life figure in your child eyes.

 If your parent’s negative behavior was especially impactful upon you, you may yet carry a reaction to the shadow of this in your mind. You need to rid yourself of the monster, or whatever creature they become in your mind.

1. Again, relax and sit comfortably in a chair and close your eyes.


2. Imagine your parent as a creature; perhaps an ogre, a witch, a frightening animal, a dragon or monster.  This is not your parent, but the shadow of them that remains in your mind.

3. The creature, the shadow must be slain. Imagine yourself armed with whatever weapon comes to mind. Use this weapon to slay the monster.


4. When the monster has been slain, give thanks. There may be a transformation of the monster’s corpse. You may choose to destroy the corpse. Every experience is different.

5. Imagine a nearby river and wash in it as you did after the initial completion.


You may find yourself feeling drained for the next day or two. But you will be free.

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