It is believed that the more we heal from our past, the more mature and stable we become. This might be a myth. If we are doing the emotional body-centered cathartic healing work, our hearts might begin to open. Once our hearts start opening, we can become more susceptible to emotional and physical flashbacks. This can happen so we have more opportunities to heal even more deeply. The pain hits and hurts even harder. You are likely to act out harder. You feel things much more intensely. You are less likely to connect with others not only because you’re more authentic, but also due to the unconscious traumatized parts of self becoming sensitized to the point where it’s even harder to keep friends. These are normal possibilities all depending on our past and the severity levels of trauma. If you read the book, “Miss America By Day” by Marilyn Van Derbur, you will see a good example of how when Marilyn was releasing all her rage, her emotional flashbacks were more intense, but after she released it all, she came out the other end of it.
When people’s hearts are shut down, (generally speaking) they are emotionally stable and can handle life’s battles much better than one who is opened up and bleeding all the time. Once the wounds start bleeding, relationships become more challenging to keep up because the emotional flashbacks become more regular and more intense. When the heart is open, it becomes more breakable and more feel-able.
I have noticed that in the past, I used to be as tough as nails. I could handle anything. People used to comment on it asking me if I ever had a bad day because I was so happy all the time. I was able to hold up my facade as the strong happy extroverted cheerful girl that could always make people laugh and could handle anything. It wasn’t who I really was, but I could play the “social game” so well. I had to – to survive. However, once I started doing serious healing work from the late 90’s, I began becoming more real, more introspective, more discerning, more boundaried, more honest, and more vulnerable. Last summer I got to the deepest levels of my healing I have ever been but at the same time, I am noticing how much more severe my emotional flashbacks are and just how committed I am to sabotaging relationships when people start getting close.
I was adopted out as a child and people do not realize the dynamic for a baby being given up on and the mother never coming back. While most — if not all — of us on some level have abandonment issues, the level of the mother NEVER coming back…. nobody can imagine what that feels like for a baby unless they have been through that themselves and unless they have regressed in time to that event and felt the emotions around that pain — can they ever truly understand how devastating that is. It is a legit form of death (while living) even though the adult-mind knows that the abandonment was not personal. My birth mother imprinted in my infant-mind that once intimacy is established, abandonment follows. There is nothing more intimate than living inside your mother. It’s a biological connection. My birth mother had told me that she read, rubbed her belly and sang to me while I was inside her womb. Then when I was born, she held me and didn’t let go of me, stayed a night with me in the hospital (which was rare back then for moms to be able to do that) and then she let me go. This is why when I am getting too close with another woman, my inner-child or the unconscious (traumatized) part of me takes over and must destroy the relationship to avoid ever having to experience that abandonment trauma again. The tricky thing is that I am not even aware when I am doing this and after the fact, I am so ashamed and embarrassed that I just gave up on a friend that I had deep positive feelings for. I did this to my aunt too. She was the only one in my family that deeply cared for me. And I found a way to screw that up too.
I really loved this amazing woman I met a while back and as we began getting closer and closer, I started to (unconsciously) torment her. I didn’t know I was even doing it until after the fact, but I tormented her enough to cause her to start re-evaluating our relationship. When I saw that happening, I picked up in her energy that she was thinking about ending our relationship and I got so traumatized by that — that my life went upside down. I became so overwhelmed that even emoting wasn’t enough because the rage was so tightly tucked down and I was not able to process it. Even several months later, I am still not completely recovered and I haven’t been the same since. My emotions made me sick, my husband got sick and so did my cat at the time. Everyone here was feeling my pain. But this was the better alternative to her ending the relationship before me!!!
This might be hard to digest for those who don’t understand trauma — especially adoption trauma. But the truth is, in spite of this whole process being challenging and at times too much to bear, please believe me when I tell you this (for those who are sincerely here to do the work)…. it is VERY VERY worth it. Every day, I am learning, growing and healing bit by bit. It is a slow and painful process, but the gains outweigh all the pain, I promise. I am getting myself back. I am learning who I am. I am getting my life back. But to the average person, it might look like I am degenerating and dying. To the trauma-informed, however, they know… this is what healing looks like. I have my husband looking after me and holding space for me — I feel his angel wings wrapped around me. As far as girlfriends are concerned, I just need to warn people in the future what to expect. Gotta tell them I might try to sabotage the relationship if we start getting close.
You can definitely get a lot of healing work done alone — that is for sure. However, for the deepest parts of the healing journey, I wager, the most important part of the healing is done relationally. We are wounded in relationships so it makes sense we heal in relationship. Relationships are the secret key to the most advanced stages of healing. You need a strong support system to heal in. You need very strong people who can handle deep emotions. You need people who understand how the unconscious mind works and how our fragmented traumatized parts can do some weird shit sometimes. You need stable people who won’t give up on you. You need people who will agree to communicate with you in a timely manner if there are any problems. Both parties need strong boundaries all the while being able to be forgiving and stay committed to each other through a promise to always communicate everything when necessary.
The healing process is bittersweet. Not everyone is here to do this work, but for those who are, I hope what I wrote today can be helpful.