June 17, 2020

What Happens to our Body when we Deny the Reality of Trauma.

There is a profoundly innate, divine intelligence to the human psyche.

The Greek root of the word means the soul—the invisible animating energy that occupies the physical body.

Everything about the psyche is intelligent, even the defense mechanisms and identities we form before we are able to consciously make meaning of experiences.

The unconscious aspect of the human experience is vast and serves an important function in our survival, especially in a culture that has been built on a foundation of trauma, disconnection, and unmetabolized grief.

Trauma is not a thing we create within ourselves. It’s not created; it happens.

This is the problem with thinking trauma is created: it denies the reality that trauma happens when life circumstances are too much to process, or when there are prolonged experiences of neglect, emotional abuse, or spiritual disrespect.

Abuse is real. And life can be overwhelming.

Shame is one way this kind of pain gets stored in the body, especially in a cultural climate that denies the reality of trauma and places the onus on the oppressed to protect the oppressors.

It is our body that experiences life, and it is in our body that these experiences are stored.

Unprocessed pain is embedded long before the unhelpful thought processes develop—long before we are even able to make meaning of things. We cannot think or medicate our way out of these issues.

Shame is the pain of being on the receiving end of trauma—to feel that one is bad and wrong, unlovable, and the deep grief of not having been loved.

This is a painful feeling stored in the body, often a burning in the heart and a hardness in the belly. It awakens only in vulnerability or when there are unconscious matches to it in the environment. It’s a feeling we know well, even if we don’t know how to name it.

It is a constriction that develops over time, and after a while, becomes a part of the unconscious experience because it’s been there so long, woven into the fabric of our everyday, ordinary experiences.

So often, individuals work with me who are struggling with addiction, codependency, or difficulty with loving themselves, but profess to have had a wonderful childhood. Upon deeper reflection, we find that there was profound emotional neglect, disconnection from appropriate grief processes, or that the child was her/himself parentified.

We have come to normalize abuse, especially emotional neglect and the reversal of patterns in families to protect the patriarchy. This also prevents us from seeing these disowned behaviors within ourselves. So much so that we are blinded from being able to name the pain of our own experiences, which is the only place where our healing—the real healing of trauma at the roots—can happen. Everything else becomes Band-Aid advice and symptom management.

Shame takes different forms: grandiosity of self (how we typically think of narcissism) to compensate for the deep shame, to try to fill up that hole with validation as this culture rewards narcissistic achievement at the expense of the soul.

It can also take the form of self-hatred, chronic self-doubt, and low self-esteem from living inside that fear of being bad for long.

It’s also an expression of the traumatized inner parent, because we often internally treat ourselves the exact way we were treated, unless we have the space to heal the inner parent and cultivate a loving relationship with a nourishing Mother archetype.

Grief is the divine pull of what we love pulling us back into our true essence. She tells us what matters—what is really important to us.

When we can tell ourselves the truth and honor what we really experienced, the grief that comes is cleansing because that grief is an act of love toward all the versions of self who have not been loved before.

The grief itself is the love of the sacred feminine pulling the heart open, demanding the pull of the heart toward more aliveness in order to make space for more of the light of soul.

Grief releases trauma from the body as much as it opens the heart to the spaciousness of love it has not encountered before.

It transforms the shame back into resilience and self-love.

It brings us back into right relationship with goodness that is our true nature—without compensation or denial.

We become a safe vessel for our own energy, which makes us capable of being safe humans in a world that we need to desperately make safe again!


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