Being abused and having your sense of belonging compromised will either make you guard your emotional space very tightly through a fight response, or you might channel your actions into a please response.
To open up without being able to set limits is a recipe for getting hurt. As a child, you don’t have that choice, though. You are naturally vulnerable and don’t yet have the skill sets to defend yourself when that vulnerability isn't acknowledged or honored.
Healthy vulnerability and the ability to open up without the threat of being hurt helps you to connect with others; it makes for more compassion for oneself and others, and allows for connection with others to come your way.
When you are emotionally hurt and feel overwhelmed, you disconnect from the body. It is a safety mechanism that allows you to maintain some level of functioning, however, compromised that might be.
Most early life and childhood trauma are centered around trust that has been severely hurt, and suppressed anger that hasn't been allowed to be expressed just yet.
Boundaries Quotes, PTSD and CPTSD
Using the felt sense to come back into the body will activate and bring into awareness suppressed emotion and feeling, which may have been shut out for seemingly good reasons.
When we have been hurt, vulnerability is perceived as something to be avoided or seen as weak; out of that avoidance of the state of vulnerability, we start to build a defensive character structure around it.
To contain emotion is to have enough energy and resilience to stay with your internal suffering without reacting to it any further; neither getting too focused on what you feel, nor getting pushed out of staying with the emotion, causing you to dissociate. This is a hard one.
To build up resilience to assist containment requires that you slowly go into uncomfortable emotional territory and track your ability to hold to what you are feeling. If you go overboard, it is necessary to take a step back and disconnect from your felt sense or focus on something else for a little while.
Boundaries Quotes, PTSD and CPTSD
Release is not resolution. You might release emotion through catharsis, through an emotional outburst and feel good, or freed for awhile, but the emotion tends to build up again over time. Emotional release does not necessarily mean integration.
Going through or pushing for emotional release can also become addictive. It can start with your resting on the implicit belief that something is happening or shifting because emotions are felt and, as their release often happens in a therapy setting, this tendency leads to creating dependency on your therapist.
Without knowing the intricate mechanism of trauma, of containment and resilience, of build-up and release, and the necessity for dissociation, the continuous build-up and release of emotion can become one of the pitfalls of PTSD counseling and why you might stay in therapy for PTSD for far too long.
If you address your suppressed anger too soon, you would destabilize because you need your pleasing response in place in order to survive emotionally. If you were to express your suppressed anger before the proper foundations have been laid, that expression of anger would cancel out your pleasing response with the result that you would feel inadequate, unheard and unseen, and which potentially would be retraumatizing.
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