How does childhood trauma affect you? Can trauma cause you to be out of touch with your emotions?
Most of us are aware that our past affects our current life. Our past can leave us with painful emotions and beliefs that are not supportive. Some of us can even lose touch with our emotions all together.
Have you last touch with your emotions? If so, there is an easy and safe exercise in this post.
How childhood trauma affects you
As a child you did not have much experience with the world. Anytime you felt a painful emotion and you did not know how to respond, that emotion became stuck in your mind and body.
When you feel an emotion, that emotion is meant to move you to action, whether it is responding, acknowledging, or doing. Once you have taken action, the emotion is free to leave your body and you can go on to feel another emotion.
As a child you were unable to act, so that emotion is still waiting for resolution. This painful emotion will be with you until you release it. If your stuck emotion is fear, it is easier for you to feel fear. If your stuck emotion is a broken heart, it will be easier for you to feel broken hearted.
How you lose touch
When you have stuck emotions, you feel the present emotion plus all the emotions you have not released. You can easily become overwhelmed by the backlog of painful emotions.
Some people feel all of these emotions and their life is a lot like a rollercoaster. One minute they are up and the next they are down.
For some of you, this rollercoaster is too much. You push this pain deep into your unconscious and try to forget it. You may not even realize that you are out of touch with your emotions.
Do you have stuck emotions?
Even though your mind forgets, your body always remembers.
Stuck emotions can manifest in all sorts of ways. Maybe you have pain or an illness that your doctor can’t explain. Maybe you can’t have that special relationship. Or you are not living up to your potential. Maybe you feel unworthy, not good enough, or unlovable.
When you stuff painful emotions, you can also lose touch with your positive emotions. Are you enjoying your life? Do you ever feel peaceful? Are your emotions supportive and loving?
Take a look at your life. Do you have stuck emotions from the past?
What can you do?
First of all you don’t want to get in touch with that backlog of pain all at once. Releasing emotions from the past needs to be done with care. There was a good reason you stuffed these emotions and you want to honor that. The best way to get started is to reclaim a positive emotion from your past.
Here is an exercise to help you get in touch with a positive emotion.
1. Select a positive emotion. Pick a specific time when you felt that emotion. Some examples might include: feeling happy when listening to your favorite music, laughing at a funny video, or in awe when you see a beautiful sunset. You get the idea.
2. Now remember that good time like it was happening all over again. Try to include as many of your senses as you can. What were you seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and especially feeling.
3. Scan your body and notice what you are feeling inside. Look for something pleasant. Is your heart warm or filled with light? Do you feel tingly all over? Do you have a deep sense of well being? Find the sensation even if it is really small.
4. Describe the physical sensations in your body as a metaphor or an emotional poem. For example: my heart is warm, my body is filled with tingly bubbles, I feel light, or I am glowing inside.
5. Anytime you want to feel this good feeling, remember your emotional poem.
If your positive emotions were stuffed deep, you may need to go through this exercise more than once before you find a truly positive poem. You can do this exercise as many times as you like.
Once you know that you do have positive emotions, you are ready to release painful emotions from the past. Start by learning the poetry of emotion process. Click here to read more. Keep your positive emotional poem handy. You won’t need to relive any traumatic memories, but in case you feel even a small discomfort, call on you new poem.
What are some positive emotional poems you discovered?
(Image: Culto Cuanavale @ Flickr)