It is a well-known fact that humans do not complete trauma the way animals do. If we look at the animal kingdom, we can see that animals literally “shake off” the residual autonomous energy after a traumatic event. If an antelope gets away from claws of a tiger, it runs away to safety and then it starts to shake vigorously, almost like it experiences chills, and after the body of that antelope is done discharging excess energy from the chase and the experience of being caught by a tiger, the antelope goes back to grazing as if nothing ever happened. It is still aware that tigers are dangerous, but that fact does not get in the way of antelope’s life.
Humans sometimes experience these “chills”, especially after an accident or physically traumatic event. And what do we usually do? We cover the trauma victim with a blanket and distract the victim with words or actions. The intention is good, but we disrupt the trauma cycle completion. That accumulated energy is never released, and it needs to go somewhere. Later in life, it will materialize as mental, emotional and physical ailments.
Trauma is not only the accidents we experience, the shock of finding out that a family member passed away, the physical and mental abuse we might experience in our life. In Metaphysical Anatomy™ Technique (MAT) trauma is defined as feeling unsafe/losing control. Other, less obvious examples of trauma include:
- having one’s needs met with neglect,
- reaching out for safety and finding disapproval,
- experiencing a lack of resources to resolve a conundrum,
- being shamed for having fun (especially as a child),
- invalidation of emotions,
- being punished with a time out,
- and so much more!
When we experience trauma, our bodies release all the necessary chemicals and hormones needed for our survival. Stress hormones skyrocket, adrenaline kicks in, our muscles tense up. The reptilian brain takes over. Your instinctive responses kick in. You automatically go numb, you run away or fight for your life, you pass out, you freeze, or you vomit.
Let’s say that in your childhood you experienced the following:
As a 4-year-old child, you really needed to go potty. Your bladder was full, and it was time to go to the restroom. You lived in an older home, and the restroom was dingy and scary looking to your 4-year-old self. You didn’t want to go there alone, you were genuinely afraid of that room. You called your mom to go with you, but your mother thought you were a big kid now and it was time you started going there alone. She insisted you go potty by yourself. This terrified you because that restroom scared you to the bones. You begged your mom to go with you. She still was saying no. So, you were stuck: if you go to the restroom, you’ll risk being attacked by whatever evil might lurk under the sink in that dingy restroom, if you stay you will pee yourself.
Your body’s job is to keep you safe at all times. In the moment of that stress, both being afraid of the restroom and having your mom show you no compassion, you froze. You started to cry and you peed yourself. Then, your mom starts to yell at you and showed her disapproval of you. She spanked your wet butt and sent you to your room to change. Not only you couldn’t control your fear or the voiding of your bladder, your need for safety was met with mom’s disapproval and harsh words.
That was a very traumatic event, you did not complete that trauma in any way and the stress build up in the body of that 4-year-old you never left your body after that event. You also started to hate the part of yourself that was afraid, because it got you into trouble with mom. In fact, mom does not love that part of you. You experience shame and your internal self-policing dialogue started ostracizing your afraid self.
The instinctual responses active at the time of that trauma were never rebalanced. Because each and every emotion has its own chemical signature in the body, later in life, whenever the same cocktail of emotions becomes active in the body, the same instinct kicks in. The overactive instincts keep the trauma alive in the body. New events might be unrelated to the first initial traumatic memory but still cause unhealthy, unconscious responses. Your body might feel threatened and release all the necessary stress hormones and chemicals with the intention to keep the body safe.
“It helped back then so it must help now”.
In the future, you will make decisions based on past trauma, because that past trauma is still alive in the body, even though your conscious mind might have disassociated from it. The reactions that once served you can become a self-sabotaging pattern in the future.
Activation of instincts starts an emotional response, and by extension, physical symptoms.
Remember that dissociation from trauma instead of healing and resolving it might help a person to move on from a traumatic event at first. Disassociating can build up psychological strength. Bypassing trauma can be beneficial in an emergency situation or a crisis. One can bypass the root cause of trauma by changing one singular thought or feeling about the trauma. But later in life, when a person is ready, addressing the trauma directly is the next logical step.
We hold onto trauma as a reminder of how we have been hurt in the past with an intention to protect ourselves from future bad experiences. This is how secondary gain (or the unconscious benefit) is formed.
Now, here is where I really want you to stay open-minded: trauma can originate from an event you experienced in your life AND it can be passed on to you form your ancestors. It can even be transferred to you for the people you encounter in your life!
According to the science of epigenetics trauma, survival patterns and behaviors can be passed onto future generations. Stress causes chemical changes in the body, which permanently changes our DNA structure, and we pass our DNA to our children and grandchildren.
You are an expression of your ancestry. You are expressing your ancestors' eye color, skin shade, bone structure, the microbiome in your gut, character strengths, strong emotions, and unresolved traumatic events.
Emotions are driven by the instinctive responses from the body. This can mean both positive and negative emotions. There is also very good news coming with this fact: you are also an expression of the positive resources and emotions your ancestors experienced. At any point you can recall how your abundant or genius ancestor felt like, and you can recreate that feeling signature in your life!
So how are we making decisions based on trauma and how it affects our health?
Our bodies want to keep us safe at all times. If in our lifetime we made an association that to be safe is to lose control and give up completely (in the case where we have been physically attacked and the only way to survive was to surrender to the abuser). Let’s also assume that subconsciously we do not feel safe in life (lack of affection, lack of money, lack of understanding, lack of support, etc.), so in the future, we might develop a condition where we will experience an inability to move. We will have to depend on others and it will be the only way where we CAN receive support, compassion, and care. In fact, multiple sclerosis (one of the symptoms of MS is progressive loss of control of muscles; inability to move) is a classic example of feeling unsupported, over-giving, over caring without receiving same care and affection in return.
Thyroid problems, especially hypothyroidism, is associated with trauma-related to speaking up (being quiet and not speaking up kept us safe) and being suppressed by an authority. Cancer is often related to resentment. Pain is almost always a symptom of suppressed anger. Problems with ankles surface in people who have some sort of conflict with their mother.
These problems do not have to be an expression of your own trauma, it can be also an expression of trauma that has been passed on to you from your ancestors DNA. I found out in my own healing journey that the thyroid problems I have in my life are coming from traumatic events my grandmother went through during World War II. After releasing just one of these traumas, I experienced a relief of symptoms in a matter of moments
Our bodies speak to us in a metaphorical language. Our nerves are affected by the way we communicate and were communicated to, our bones represent the support we receive in life, our feet represent the direction of our life, our hands represent our ability to give and receive, our spine stores family values… There are many ways the traumatic emotions are affecting our bodies.
MAT is designed to gently release unresolved trauma from the body without reliving the trauma again. The key to MAT session is emotion. By working with emotions and instincts, we can find the root emotional cause “stuck” in the body, and by releasing it, we dissolve the emotional block keeping us stuck in place. We no longer keep our bodies in the override mode, ready to save us from that unresolved threat. We can gain back control over our reactions and pattern in a matter of moments.
If you feel ready to find and dissolve the emotional trauma keeping you stuck on your healing journey, or if you’d like to stop self-sabotaging behavior surfacing in your life, or if you’d like to wake up your own healing abilities, schedule your MAT session with me today.