Your needs are valid

Your needs are valid

 

Your needs are valid.

 

If you have been impacted by developmental trauma, there are certain core needs for safety and validation of your emerging self that simply went unmet. And they didn’t go anywhere. Your personality and ways of functioning in the world had to develop around them – perhaps over compensate in some way, or pull back and try not to have the needs or put down having needs at all.

These developmental needs might drive behaviours in yourself you don’t like, as you try to live in the world without these needs having been met. Your nervous system and self-identity are ‘incomplete’ and in a constant state of:

  • Ignoring the need
  • Trying to be bigger than the need
  • Overcompensating
  • Trying to numb out from the feeling of the need being unmet
  • Coming from a ‘push’ or control energy to try to get the need met
  • Focussing too much on meeting the needs of others over your own, because somehow that’s easier to do

The longer you use these strategies, particularly when you’re using them unconsciously, two things will happen:

  • You will start to feel more hopeless or despairing, because the strategies don’t really solve the problem of the unmet developmental needs
  • The strategies themselves will start to cause problems:
    • people may find you ‘clingy’ or ‘needy’ and not want to be around you,
    • people might find you pushy or controlling or needing to have the last word and not want to be vulnerable around you
    • people might see you as ‘super-human’ and feel like they can’t get close to you
    • the stuff you do to numb out becomes a problem habit or an addiction (drink, drugs, spending money, over exercising, controlling eating or over eating, over working, disconnecting from people)
    • you become exhausted from the never-ending pit of other people’s problems and don’t learn to recognise and more effectively meet your own needs or invite meeting of them by another

See if you can slow down a moment and notice what your needs are right now.  Validate them for yourself – ‘it’s normal and human that I would want or need that’.  See if you can kindly acknowledge and validate to yourself what you genuinely need right now – go down through the layers. 

Whether this need is being well met now or not, whether you can see a pathway for it to be met or not.

Exercise: 

Slow down a moment, take a breath, make contact with your body in some way and allow this need.  Make kind, validating contact with it.  And perhaps for all the patience and twists and turns and silent agonies your life has taken while this need has not been met,

Acknowledge and love on the need.

rewire 4 life blog

Articles, videos and resources for healing complex and relational trauma.

Contact

Contact

Contact.

It’s starts when we are young and the contact and care are chaotic or disrupted or unpredictable or just not there. Maybe abuse is there instead or as well as love.

It goes underground.  On the outside a part of us functions and copes. Another whole world inside is hidden, cut off, numbed out. We lose touch with our body, our sense of self and purpose and basic goodness. Body systems go haywire and can’t harmonise. The adaptations start to cause problems – in our immune, digestive, endocrine, musculoskeletal systems. Our stress response has two modes – “I burnt the coffee, were all gonna die high alert” or ” I burnt the coffee, there is no hope and nothing more but to shut back down.

The internal flow, awareness and connection that supports good things in our life, struggles and collapses when we need it most.

Life gets hard, but we don’t know why. We are good at coping.  But life gets harder and coping gets more critical. It affect our relationships, health, finances, social support. More adapting and coping because we are resilient people. A growing sense that it didn’t or doesn’t need to be this way.

Living becomes an isolated existence, isolated from fragments of our selves, from caring others, from our body and sensuality, from the realisation of the rich full potential of who we are.

Loss of critical contact is how is starts.  Bringing back in the critical contact is how it heals. Contact with your body to start, to make it safe and bring it online.  Then contact with lost fragments, broken dreams and carefully power packs of purpose and mission in life. Contact with how frangipanis smell and how the energy in your body moves.

Contact with your deepest truest self and what it wants so desperately to experience and achieve in the world. Contact with the awareness within you that you are one with, connected to and breathing in harmony.

It states with broken contact.

It ends with contact. Deep, pure, playful, purposeful, both freeing and fulfilling your soul.

Contact.  Knowing somewhere is there, that they get you and have your back. They are your middle of the night person.

Contact.  Feeling your occupation of your own body.

Contact. With your whole self and all your parts and the soul expression that drives them.

Contact. True contact and sense of acceptance, care and validation from the world out there.

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This isn’t for everyone. This is for those of you who have fought and struggled and fallen and fought again. You may have tried a bunch of things, a string of doctors and therapists and spiritual practices. Or maybe you held it all in and pushed through, but your health is showing the signs of that and a part of you so deep inside knows it can be different, longs for a life that is more “yours”.

rewire 4 life blog

Articles, videos and resources for healing complex and relational trauma.

Crayons, drums and layers

Crayons, drums and layers

Healing trauma is a lot about working with the body’s natural rhythms, creating an environment of warm attunement, where safety is felt and a kind of natural alchemy can happen between body based trauma memory and more resourceful states.

It can be helpful to use tools and processes that directly access non-verbal brain domains and felt sense present moment experiencing.

Coloured crayons ???? on a blank page can help ground and strengthen an internal shift.

A drum ???? beat or the movement of banging it can regulate heart rhythm and bring a sense of safety and containment.

Therapy can be a very beautiful multi-layered experience of freeing, grounding and expressing your true self. ☀️☀️

rewire 4 life blog

Articles, videos and resources for healing complex and relational trauma.

Just move your little toe – starting slow to come into your body

Just move your little toe – starting slow to come into your body

The other day I was lying in bed on a weekend morning.  I was feeling flat and low and aware I was falling into that awful in between zone of not awake and not asleep where weird dreams can happen and reality can feel a bit warpy.  There were some good reasons why I was shattered tired and not refreshed from the sleep.

So I started to wiggle one toe.  In moving one toe I could feel the ripple effect through the muscles and tendons in my foot.  I could feel life coming into my body.  My breath changed itself, went deeper and more open.  That felt great, so I noticed that and kept my awareness with it, then my whole torso started feeling nourished by these breaths.  Then I noticed my spine start to arch and stretch and curve itself, while I was still lying down, more of my body was coming online.

Clenching and releasing the whole row of toes now.  Stronger breath inwards, more confident breath, more grounded, more ready for the day.  More stretching of arms and legs and torso.  I decided to focus on just the choice to stand up and put clothes on and everything else could figure itself out from there.

Rather than lie on the couch or bed, stuck, flat and zoned out or exhausted, make one tiny little movement – a finger or toe, a conscious blink of the eye.  Let your awareness stay with that tiny movement in the present movement and see what happens next.  Notice how that movement shows up as sensation and how both affect your breath or your position where you are sitting or lying.

See if you can start a slow cascade into your moment!

rewire 4 life blog

Articles, videos and resources for healing complex and relational trauma.

Book Intro: ‘The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships’

Book Intro: ‘The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships’

Screenshot of Betrayal Bonds book Cover

The Betrayal Bond:Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships

“Betrayal bonds” or more recently understood and referred to as “trauma bonds” are relationships we find ourselves intensely bound inside of, even when overall they are destructive to our self esteem and healthy functioning.

They get created through a unique chemical cocktail involving stress hormones, bonding hormones and neuro-chemicals that support addiction.  People who have experienced developmental trauma earlier in life, often find themselves trauma bonded to a partner or series of them later in life that re-create the earlier circumstances.

This book, written by Patrick J Carnes, PhD and published in 1997 remains a wonderful depth exploration of trauma bonding, explaining how they are established and maintained and includes a relationally based Post-Traumatic Stress Index for you to work through.

On Betrayal:

“Betrayal intensifies pathologically the human trait of bonding deeply in the presence of danger or fear.”

On abandonment and addiction:

Abandonment is at the core of addictions. Abandonment causes deep shame.  Abandonment by betrayal is worse than mindless neglect.  Betrayal is purposeful and self-serving.  If severe enough, it is traumatic.  What moves betrayal into the realm of trauma is fear and terror.  If the wound is deep enough, and the terror big enough, your bodily systems shift to an alarm state.  You never feel safe.  You’re always on full-alert, just waiting for the hurt to begin again.  In that state of readiness, you’re unaware that part of you has died.  You are grieving. Like everyone who has loss, you have shock and disbelief, fear, loneliness and sadness.  Yet you are unaware of these feeling because your guard is up.  In your readiness, you abandon yourself.  Yes, another abandonment.”

Signs of trauma bonding:

Some signs of trauma bonding that Patrick describes include:

  • obsessing about people who have hurt you and left
  • seeking contact with people you know will cause more pain
  • going all out to help people who have hurt you
  • working to get people who are using you to like you
  • trying to explain relationship concerns to people who don’t want to listen
  • being loyal to those who have betrayed you

He describes how they can form almost instantaneously, but last forever, making survivors more vulnerable to repeated episodes of relationship abuse, often without even realising it.

Included is a wonderful graph, explaining the relationship between warmth and intention in relationships.  The combination of high warmth, but low intention to genuinely care or connect or invest can create the kind of seductive scenario that can lead to anxiety, intensity, manipulation and exploitation, with risk in the relationship often being one sided.

Types of betrayal:

Various types of betrayal are discussed, including:

  • Betrayal by seduction
  • Betrayal by terror
  • Betrayal by power
  • Betrayal by intimacy
  • Betrayal by spirit
Compulsive behaviours and the way forward:

The book includes a Compulsive Relationship Self-Assessment and a Compulsive Relationship Consequences Inventory, where you can take stock of the levels of how trauma bonding may be impacting you.

Guidance is provided for the paths of:

  • No contact
  • Limited contact
  • Full relationship restoration
Dimensions of recovery

Dimensions of recovery are outlined, with examples of what that looks like for ‘no contact’, ‘limited contact’ and ‘full relationship’.  The dimensions Patrick identified for trauma bond recovery are:

  • Establishing healthy bonds
  • Boundary development
  • Role development
  • Trauma resolution
  • Systems change
  • Strengthening sense of self
  • Metaphors for a new working model
  • Recovery plan

I’m a big believer that the right information and frameworks for understanding can help us hold ourselves through the difficult times and find ways forward that are genuinely healing and supportive.

rewire 4 life blog

Articles, videos and resources for healing complex and relational trauma.