In this episode, I'm explaining and simplifying the concept of traumatic re-enactment and talking about three common forms it shows up in our lives. Obsessing & Trying Really Hard, Self-Loathing & Self-Sabotage, and Fawning and People-Pleasing.
Episode Transcript Below:
What is Trauma Re-enactment?
Trauma re-enactment is the idea that when we have unresolved traumatic energy in our system, we tend to repeat or re-enact the trauma. Freud had a concept similar to this called repetition-compulsion. And many theorists think that this is the system’s subconscious way of seeking resolution and I tend to agree with aspects of that idea.
It is my personal belief that we are here to heal. That we have a responsibility to do the work of reconnecting with self and others and increasing our own regulation and embodiment to bring balance and regulation into the world. And to change the trajectory of future generations - our children, and our world. I...
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.
A Major component of my recovery/healing from Complex PTSD was the experience of grief.
Grieving was an experience that I kept away from myself for many, many years. It felt safer to berate and judge and shame myself:
“I should be over this by now”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I just need to get over it and move on”
“I don’t have time to cry about my childhood”
I didn’t know a thing about compassion.
About witnessing and holding myself.
About the sacred practice of pouring out the pain.
I didn’t know that what I truly needed was a space to grieve. I didn’t know that the grief experience which I so feared, would actually help my integrate and heal.
I had internalized the shaming messages from years of abandonment, parental betrayal, neglect, and abuse. Shaming myself kept all that pain of deep despair at bay. I preferred the more familiar pain of criticizing myself and pushing myself to keep going. I feared being...
I feel like self-love is part of our collective knowledge now. We understand that it’s important. We understand that we need it.
But, there is difficulty with applying it. And a lot of the self-love talk out there is about the sort-of practical - night time routines, morning routines and making yourself a green tea and meditating. And I think that those things are important and they form a PART of self-love.
But when we are talking about applying self-love, I like to add another layer or component onto it. And that component is ruthlessness.
So today, I’m talking about ruthless self-love.
I think there is an unfortunate misconception that has come up for us in modern culture where we think that uncomfortable feelings are bad. We think that feeling anxious or depressed or confused or overwhelmed means there is something wrong. Or, means that we are wrong.
Specifically, in healing communities and modalities we have reached this place of prioritizing safety which is a good thing. I am not against safety and environments that promote healing. This is really the foundation of the polyvagal theory and other modalities like somatic experiencing that seek to bring a measure of regulation online to the body and brain through creating safe experiences of connection. And these modalities work.
However, there is a fine line here. And, I am noticing a real fear of triggers in the air.
We fear things that bring up reminders of bad feelings or bad memories, or feeling as though we are at the mercy of what other people do and what other people say, and other people’s...
I absolutely love the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). My husband got me into it - we even got engaged at a UFC Event in Toronto (Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis to be exact. for those of you who are fans). When we first started dating, he would have the fights on in the background and I dismissed it for a couple weeks.
But, as I watched these fighters tell their stories of adversity and triumph, and saw their athletic commitment and dedication - I fell in love with the sport - the vulnerability of standing barefoot in the octagon, bleeding and pressing forward. The preparation, the skill, the power, the willingness to lose - the emotional triumph of a win. It hooked me. Some of them had lost children, grew up in poverty, were working full-time jobs and still fighting.
Athletics in general are an amazing metaphor for overcoming adversity and trauma.
They show us that against all odds - we can win. And, if we lose, we can still say we put it all on the line....
Narcissistic Shame Off-Loading
Growing up with a narcissistic parent is a scary, difficult experience. Narcissists suffer from a deep wound of shame. Some say the narcissistic wound is the DEEPEST wound. The shame is so severe that the system creates a construct to protect the individual from collapsing under the weight of this toxic shame. This construct includes ego-protection and delusion, it also includes projection. Projection is the off-loading of a negative affect (emotion) onto another individual.
An example of this is the narcissist who is irresponsible, selfish and unable to connect with their child. This individual cannot attach and be there for the child because their narcissism prevents them from SEEING someone else. The narcissist is dissociated from their own body and self. And thus, is unable to form a connection with their baby. On deep, dissociated levels, the truth is known. However, this truth cannot be negotiated with or faced by the narcissist’s...
I’d like for you to know
That you are not merely your thoughts
But deep red blood
Flows through your veins
Heart is beating
Eyes are tearing
You are human animal and primal soul
You are alive with the worlds within and without
You are at once many systems inside you
If you stop in this second and in this moment in time
You might notice a universe within your viscera
Pulsing, beating, breathing, expanding, moving, digesting, and flowing
It is as much you as any thought and more
The thought is only something which you do
But your breath – your beating heart is a wildfire
Alive without your command
Without your intention
A creature you are
Your cubicle may make you forget it
The green grass reminds you
I’d like for you
All that you are – below the head
Beyond the mind
The body whose origins were in your mother’s belly
Who grew into the creature which now reads these words
Your voice comes from your guts
And the sound...
Trauma Healing is the courage to move through pain. This is pain that feels unbearable, it stretches you. It scares the hell out of you. It cuts you down the middle and purges your soul. It challenges you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The crushing sense of loneliness, fear and shame is a heavy, heavy burden to bear. I once said to a therapist of mine: “I feel as though I want to throw up my childhood, I feel that it needs to be exorcised from me.” I have spent many nights screaming out, crying, shaking. If that’s where you are now: I see you.
Part of the reason for the intensity recovery pain is that we have not had a proper framework for dealing with emotions. In toxic/abusive families, our parents shamed us or abused us for having feelings. Or, we were in so much pain that we didn’t even know we had feelings at all. This kind of dissociation is a hallmark of complex PTSD, a condition that can be caused by chronic...
When our bodies are balanced and we feel safe and happy, we are in a state of “regulation”. In this place, we are not too stressed, nor are we too excited or exhausted. We are calm. We are clear. We have focus. We are creative. We are able to communicate rationally and clearly and openly.
BUT, when we experience trauma this sense of safety and balance is completely ripped away from us. It’s almost as though our soul is taken from us and what is left is only a shell.
This trauma is deeper when you’ve lived your whole life being abused and neglected by your primary caregivers. You may feel completely devoid of a sense of self – your brain has developed under chronic stress which causes your body to look out only for your survival.
Our bodies have two distinct reactions to traumatic experiences. We can be be maxed out – unglued emotionally and physically – this looks like panic, toxic stress, anxiety and physical...