I believe we all have a compassionate core that encourages us to gently untangle the knots of trauma-related resistance (emotions, body sensations, deep wounds and core fears)
In this episode, I'm diving deep into this concept and sharing some examples from my own life of how my own use of my compassionate core has helped me get through some intense activations, emotions, and sensations when resolving and working through my personal traumas.
I also talk about where to start if you feel you have no sense of a compassionate core to cultivate it.
**SHOW TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
We use the compassionate core when working with trauma-related resistance.
What is trauma-related resistance?
Trauma-related resistance looks like extreme Self-Opposition
A Sense of Complete refusal from self to do things for self. And a lot of times it is a refusal to be with the self - because of a fear of going back to certain places or experiencing certain emotions.
Every single thing feels hard because this is a resistance in our very self, to our very self. This kind of resistance can be an intense emotional charge, or intense boredom and nothingness. It looks like: big swings, swinging from extreme shut down and fear of activation to going into overdrive with fear of slowing down.
Trauma-related resistance is cycle -dependent - think about feeling caught inside a loop and you can see it happening but it’s almost like you see it happening a second too late.
It is related to the sensory and emotional core sense of self.
It feels like running FROM yourself with distracting and numbing or running OVER yourself through overworking, ramping up into overdrive, giving maximum effort for a limited time before burnout shuts you down.
Trauma-Related Resistance is the Deepest level of resistance as it comes from deep disconnection and disembodiment as a result of a core wound or chronic traumas (emotional neglect, abandonment, disorganized attachment, poor-caregiver relationship, intense and prolonged states of stress, terror, despair in childhood/infancy)
The reason that trauma-related resistance is so cycle dependent is because it CANNOT be worked through with ONLY the thinking mind.
It involves all aspects of self (physical and physiological, biological, emotional, spiritual)
Trauma-related resistance has to be untangled gently. And - how do we do that. One way to do it, and the framework I have developed for doing this, is through using the compassionate core. The reason we use and think about and say the words compassionate core, is because it represents the core, or true-authentic self which is untainted by trauma and has not taken on the trauma responses as a personality.
The compassionate core is wise in that the compassionate core - or, your compassionate core does not approach trauma-related resistance through ignoring it OR by strong-arming it.
So let’s talk about the compassionate core:
The compassionate core is the part of ourselves which is present as a witness
The compassionate core can act as a guardian - a tuning into future self, higher-self, or a vision.
The compassionate core knows that we are suffering, and will not pile shame onto the suffering, but will encourage.
The compassionate core is the courageous part of us which is untainted by trauma.
The compassionate core is an expansive container
The compassionate core encourages us to gently untangle the knots of trauma-related resistance (can be emotions, body sensations, deep wounds and core fears)
And so, when working with the compassionate core, we have to first address the question that I’m sure you guys have which is - What IF I DON’T HAVE A COMPASSIONATE CORE!!??! WHAT IF MY SENSE OF SELF IS SO LOST AND CONFUSED AND BROKEN THAT I HAVE NO IDEA WHO I TRULY AM AND THE THOUGHT OF WITNESSING MYSELF THROUGH DIFFICULT SENSATIONS AND EMOTIONS TERRIFIES ME!!
Well - first I will say that yes you do. If you are listening to this podcast you have a core self. A wise self. An inner-knowing and an intuition even if you feel like you can’t remember it or sense into it or access it. I believe it is there. And sometimes, we just need some help with accessing it or tuning into it.
So cultivating my own compassionate core took some patience, some kindness, some gentleness and some support. I worked with therapists, coaches, practitioners who were able to provide a compassionate container for me to work through intense self-loathing and toxic shame of what I perceived to be my weaknesses, shortcomings or failures. I also used a lot of art, writing, poetry, writing stories, music and singing, and dancing and moving my body to increase my capacity to handle a lot of the stored up traumas and emotions that were in my system.
And I really lived a very compartmentalized life where I used my superego which projected strength and a get-it-done - be successful sort of personality. Which is certainly an aspect of my personality but it is not the whole story. I did not feel safe to expose the deeper parts of my personality, because my system was really stuck in a freeze state of deep fear. And in that place every single thing in my life felt so hard. I had such immense pressure, fear, self-hatred, and shame that I was constantly working against myself instead of with myself. And when it came to setting goals for myself it was that constant roller coaster of going hard and maxing out and then completely shutting down. And I would also experience major major resistance to simple tasks every single day because I was really working hard at pushing down my fear and strong-arming my resistance instead of accessing my compassionate core to bring some compassion and love, and witnessing to the intense sensations and emotions that were stored in my body as a result of my nervous system and brain marinating in an abusive/dangerous situation as an infant, child, adolescent, and teen.
So, I want to talk about a couple experiences I’ve had - And, I’ve had many experiences like this where I intuitively accessed my own compassionate core.
Experience #1 is an experience that started happening where I would feel an intense sensation of fear in my body. It was like restless legs, except sometimes there was some rocking involved. And so, one time I was reading a book at home by myself - this was about 4 years ago, and my body just started rocking and I had an urge to scream. And I had been experiencing this on and off but really resisting and trying to suppress the movements that my body was making. This time, however, for whatever reason. I said out loud “I’m here, what do you need”. It just kind of came out and emerged and really came from a place of witnessing. And to my surprise, I heard another part of me or another element of me say: “Stay”. And, so that’s what I did, I accessed a deeper part of myself that was able to witness and be with my whole self through the experience - the activation of some old abandonment stuff that was beneath the surface. And, for whatever reason, probably because I was safe, and I had created a more stable environment for myself, that was the time that that came up.
Another example and experience I will give is when I was experiencing some pretty intense anxiety and I could feel it in my chest. I could feel that the anxiety wanted to take over but also that something needed to come out and emerge. And so I sat with it, and intuitively starting talking to myself. I was saying “you’re doing great, I’m right here” And by being there for myself in that way, I was able to create a container of safety for some really deep core fear to be experienced and witnessed in my body. I grew up with a mom who had some very deep narcissistic tendencies and so my home was extremely abusive. And so, there were some real remnants of deep fear and terror and a part of me that was stuck in that experience of feeling as though I might die or that I was going to die.
There’s certainly some overlap with parts work here which is Internal Family Systems Therapy. I am a life coach, not a therapist or psychologist and I don’t have any formal training in Internal Family Systems Therapy. This is a mixture of my own intuitive work that is certainly influenced by IFS and parts work.
So here’s the thing, if you’re experiencing intense resistance to everything - if everything feels hard and you feel like you’re caught in the BIG SWING - the cycle of maxing out your effort and then burning out and wondering why you “can’t do it” and shaming yourself and wondering why you “can’t get over it”. If you’re trying to set goals for your weight or your job or your business, or you can’t seem to perform daily tasks without an intense level of pushing than it’s likely that you’re not bringing all of yourself to the table, that there’s some disconnection and disembodiment from some pain beneath the surface. And that’s okay.
BE comuntangling and compassion. And that intense resistance that you feel, and probably try to strong-arm or ignore is pointing you to a deeper place within yourself that needs some healing and restoration and witnessing.
There’s not a timeframe, or an agenda that you can bring to untangling this kind of deep resistance. You’ve really got to sense in with gentleness. And so, you may need some support with this if you’re used to being blamed and shamed and experienced a lot of emotional withdrawal or neglect, then we can internalize these states and perpetuate the blaming and shaming toward ourselves and that is no joke.
But know this - ALL of you is worthy. Believe me - I understand the unique pain of hating and being disgusted with yourself. I have sooooo been in the trenches of that experience. But there is a way out - and the way out is actually inward - with compassion, love, and tenderness.
So! If you want some 1-1 support to help cultivate your compassionate core, if you want some compassionate space to learn to love yourself - all of yourself than I encourage you to send me an email at [email protected] and we can work together.