medically unexplainable symptoms pain body trauma

Recognising Trauma

January 2, 2023

Gabor Maté makes an interesting distinction between Big T traumas and Little t traumas. We might have the idea that trauma only applies to those Big t - intense shocking experiences - whether they be suffered through abuse or by accident.

However, we suffer many little t traumas over the course of our lives. Little t traumas such as: being sent to bed without dinner or smacked as a child, laughed at by your peers or rejected by your friends; have probably affected you more than you thought - at a deep psychological level.

Little t traumas could also be other subtle ways that we suffered in silence during childhood, such as:

-Our emotional needs are not met, in terms of attention and affection

-The feeling that we were not loved

-Not feeling seen or heard

-Not feeling wanted

-Not being allowed to express full range of emotion

-Being told off for getting angry, being too loud, being too energetic

We quickly learn to adapt our behaviour as children in order to sustain the affection of our parents and primary care givers. We quickly learn to behave in socially acceptable ways (at the expense of authentic and spontaneous self-expression). Or if that does not work we learn that bad behaviour is the only way to get the attention a child craves.

self-protect mechanisms
Self-protect mechanisms

Trauma from Greek literally means wound. The effect of these experiences is like an open wound. When someone presses our buttons and we (over) react, the wound is activated. Many character traits, behavioural patterns such as stress reactions fight, flight, freeze and please are the ways we have learnt to divert energy from the wound.

Just like a physical wound, scar tissue forms as a barrier, to prevent the wound from being damaged in the future. These behaviours are the ways we protect ourselves.

enneagram types 1-9 trauma personality self-protect
The Enneagram maps the characteristics of our subconscious programming we develop to protect ourselves from future harm.

A good friend of mine Dr. Luis Márquez told me this week that the character types 1-9 of the enneagram are the psychological manifestation of this scar tissue. The charter we form, our programming, our subconscious reactions are ways we have to protect ourselves and divert energy from the wounds we bear. I loved his comment that the character itself is a generator of trauma.

As we seek to defend our fragile sense of ego against the attacks we face (whether they be real or imaginary). Or even to maintain a constant SENSE OF SELF against the impermanence of nature. By resisting change or imposing the way we think things should be we make life more difficult than it need be.

The body is the store room and database of all these memories. The body keeps the score. Conscious touch forms of manual therapies and hands that practice deep listening can start to unravel these energetic knots from the fibres of the body. Such hands can hold space for a profound release and reset as the receiver shuts down their defence mechanisms and lets go of the need to control. This is why I call my work - transformational bodywork. This is why my brand is called Innersense.

Thank you for caring enough to read to the end.

May you be well. May you be free from suffering.

My thanks to jcomp on Freepik for providing the photos.

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