“Unlearning trauma also means unlearning the behaviors you adopted and inherited as survival tactics.”
Traumatic reactions made absolute sense in the aftermath of something shocking and life-changing. But for many of us there comes a time when being triggered so often starts to feel like a life sentence.
So what can we do when we feel this way?
1. The first thing to do is to acknowledge to ourselves that these were very normal, understandable reactions. In fact, they were necessary at the time. They were your brain and body’s way of taking care of you. They were ways of protecting you from further harm and pain.
2. So, thank your brain and body for taking care for you. For being totally committed to protecting you from harm. What they offered was a gift. And you appreciate that gift. You were there for yourself when it really, really mattered!
3. But today is a new day. You are different. You are stronger. You already have survived. You are at a different stage. This is a time of rebuilding. It’s a time for moving on. A time for moving forward. For creating a new life.
4. Because you’ve stayed with all the feelings, and experienced them fully, you’re not living in denial. You have fully faced the truth. Now you can give yourself permission to loosen off those bonds (bonds which sometimes feel like friends as they’re known and so familiar).
5. When the feelings start to rise up you can now walk through the process of telling them you’re grateful that they helped you to survive. But today the situation is a very different one. You are watching carefully and you’ve judged that you are safe.
Also, you’re watching carefully so you won’t be harmed again. And you have supports in place. You’re not facing life alone.
So your feelings can subside as for you’re not in danger now. But you’ll be watching for the signs. You won’t be naïve again.