How to Heal a Traumatic Experience
The first thing we need to know is that we have all suffered some trauma at some point in our lives, and that these traumatic experiences alter the way our brain and nervous system communicate.
Trauma is an intrinsic part of the human experience, shaping the way our brains and nervous systems function. A trauma caused by an event that occurred when you were a child, may have remained intact for 40-50 years, conditioning the rest of your life.
Traumatic experiences can have a lasting impact on our lives, and many people feel trapped by anxiety, depression, limiting beliefs, repetitive behaviors… What happens? How does our brain interact with our body when it comes to processing and classifying experiences?
Our brain, in its innate desire to protect us, stores these memories and keeps them constantly present so that «that happening» never happens again, but in doing so inadvertently keeps us trapped in the trauma.
It’s hard to understand that your brain’s strain is the cause that keeps you trapped in the trauma, but that is the way it works.
In reality, the brain is just trying to protect us. So, for example, when it fights anxiety, the brain just wants to protect us from that anxiety and, in doing so, creates anxiety. It reactivates the same thing it is trying to protect us from.
Therefore, we cannot leave the resolution in the hands of the brain. Our brain is not designed to facilitate a prosperous, happy and successful life. Our brain is guided by a survival instinct that seeks protection and security. And it is not easy to stop its hyper-reactivity, because it works very fast. It will automatically connect with reference traumatic events in your life, all in nanoseconds.
But how can we break free? How can we harness our power of choice to change automatic reactions and heal from these experiences?
The Language of the Brain and Body:
First of all, you have to understand that, although thoughts are the language of the brain, the language of the body are the emotions.
Both need to be addressed if we are to start a process that will enable us to to embark on the healing process and thrive in life with a reasonable vital balance.
Unfortunately or fortunately, belief systems are the drivers of all our thoughts and behaviors.
Those systems were born to protect us and prevent «that» from happening again, and to prevent «that», it keeps the trauma active.
Even if we try, we can’t go back and change the past, no matter how many times we think about it.
Does that mean that we have to go back and relive the traumatic experience?
The Journey Towards Healing:
Let us go step by step…
At the time, your brain extracted meaning from the traumatic experience and created a belief about you and the world: «you are worthless»… «this is not a safe world»… «children don’t cry»… etc.
All that lack of confidence, insecurities and self-limiting beliefs are emotionally charged with a neurological response.
When you go through a trauma, the first thing is to survive. At that moment, we don’t have the ability to feel and deal with all aspects of that experience, and we need to keep moving on.
Subsequently, there was no opportunity to deal with it, there was not the necessary space to process and integrate what happened… there was no time to cry or space to feel all that sadness…
And the trauma becomes even more rooted with time, while the brain remains in a hyper-vigilance response that keeps us trapped in the «drama».
Effective therapies work in layers, and the brain must feel safe to start tearing those layers apart, because letting go of the trauma means putting ourselves in a vulnerable and unsafe place, something the brain constantly avoids.
Therefore, it is very important to work with the brain in a process that allows it to feel safe, so we can finally let go of that «state of alarm» around the trauma.
The healing does not mean reliving the trauma, but rather creating a safe environment to feel and release the emotions associated with it. This process allows the trauma to be freed from the body and released from the survival structure of the mind.
Emotions need to be felt and released from a place of safety. It’s not about feeling the trauma and getting caught in a loop, but about feeling it to finally release it and let it go.
The essence of a good therapeutic approach is to explore what may need to be felt to free it from the body and release it from the survival structure of the mind.
Changing the Meaning:
And then, it’s important to address the meaning, to draw the lesson. There are numerous examples of human beings who transformed their traumatic experience into a purpose for their life. Louise Hay is a good example.
It’s definitely not easy, but it’s absolutely possible.
The first step to take is to change the meaning around emotions. Two people can go through the same experience with a completely different outcome, because of the meaning they gave to that experience.
We have to understand that we put emotions in boxes and label them. These are good emotions and those are bad. These are positive and those are negative. That way, we label a risk or a threat around certain emotions and the brain wants to avoid those threats.
A lot of people can’t release emotions, because there’s an internal resistance not just to release them, but even to feel them, because there’s a belief installed in the body/mind that says: You can’t afford to feel everything you feel.
Emotions are not necessarily good or bad, they are just part of our human experience and there is nothing wrong with feeling emotions. But we’ve been taught to judge our emotions: «I shouldn’t feel that way»… «I’m not strong enough»… «not good enough»… etc.
As human beings, we will experience a wide range of emotions in our lives. In fact, we cannot live a full and meaningful «human life» without living a wide spectrum of emotions, often challenging and sometimes contradictory.
Emotions simply are, and by accepting and allowing ourselves to feel them, we can move closer to healing.
Finally, there are traumatic experiences that vibrate with events which occurred in our families that connect us with transgenerational memories. Very often, we carry energetic burdens from past events that we may not even be aware of.
Recognizing the potential influence of transgenerational memories within our families and working on the resolution of those energetic family loads is an important aspect if we want to feel free, in harmony with ourselves and our family of origin.
The Netflix series «Another Self» shows us those invisible forces behind our personal reality and the burden of our family. You can watch a trailer HERE,
I have a private Youtube video, with subtitles in English, showing one work with the «Knowing Field» of Family Constellations. You can request to watch it by sending an Email to AngelPrimal@gmail.com
Besides Family Constellations and Primal therapy (deep feeling therapy), a Personal Constellation facilitated in a group is a powerful experience to heal our personal history.
Those who seek to free themselves approaching trauma from a spiritual perspective, following Masters of Freedom such as Mooji, Gangaji or Echkart Tolle,… may succeed, and I am all for it.
Nevertheless the authentic connection with the SELF rarely happens without first crossing certain spaces of personal and transpersonal liberation. More down to Earth masters like Teal Swan, Byron Katie, Kelly Brogan or Peter Crone may be a goo reference.