Breakthrough Process To Heal From Painful Emotional Triggers
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Breakthrough Process To Heal From Painful Emotional TriggersThis 18 Step Process Will Help You Heal From Childhood Trauma
Today I would like to delve deeper into how the human mind works with regard to the processing of memories, emotions, and trauma. This is why this work is so important and why it works for everyone whether or not you have been affected by what is commonly considered a traumatic event such as soldiers on the front line, or child abuse, or domestic violence survivors.
WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO “COMPLETE”?
Life is unpredictable. You may experience phases where you feel as if you finally have it all together, only to have it all turned upside down. You may suddenly feel like a train that has been run off its track or that you are heading up the creek without a paddle. When you are heading for a train wreck or find yourself floating along in utter chaos, it can be a sign that you need to seek reintegration. All of these experiences are valid and necessary; they are part of our development, so learning about them can be fascinating and very beneficial.
What Is A Trigger?
Once you learn to pay attention to the triggers of your memories and take time to deal with the core issue, then you can finally heal. A trigger is anything that helps you recall or bring to the surface a traumatic memory from your past. It can be a word, a tone of voice, a smell, a sensation, a face, a place, or any situation or thing that causes you to feel unsettled or fearful. You might not even know what is causing you to suddenly feel sick, hurt, anxious, or uneasy, but your subconscious mind knows.
The Completion Process is a practical and powerful way to use triggers to re-integrate the fractured aspects of yourself and become whole again.
Everyone on earth, regardless of how good his or her childhood may have been, has experienced trauma; therefore, everyone experiences post-traumatic stress to some degree. The people who know for sure that they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the ones experiencing post-traumatic stress to such a degree that it interferes with their ability to function; thus they have been given an actual diagnosis. But as humans, we all have it to some degree. Understanding how this happens starts with understanding the human mind.
The subconscious mind takes control of anything that is learned, so a person can focus on other important things in his or her life. If you think a thought enough times, the subconscious mind takes it over and it becomes automatic.
The subconscious mind is the reason we don’t have to think about jumping out of the way of an oncoming train when it’s barreling toward us.
But there are other times when the subconscious mind takes over things for the sake of survival, and this mechanism that benefits us in the short term can harm us immensely in the long term. One example of this is our belief system. If your parents got a divorce when you were young, you might decide that it’s dangerous to love anyone because you’ll lose them.
If the pain you felt about this matter interfered with your life enough, the subconscious mind might own that belief. You would then have no conscious awareness of your original thought or belief. You would simply observe that the minute you get too close or intimate with someone, you pull away and end the relationship.
We are born whole, but that wholeness is short-lived because we are relationally dependent. Being born relationally dependent into families that socialize us into a society that is not fully evolved can be problematic. This is because we learn that some aspects of ourselves are acceptable and others are not. What is acceptable or unacceptable depends on the perspective of the family you’re born into.
The aspects of us that are seen as unacceptable are rejected by our family members, and the aspects that are seen as acceptable are welcomed. So, because we are relationally dependent, we will do anything in the name of survival to reject (and therefore suppress) those aspects of ourselves that are disapproved of while exaggerating those that are approved of.
For example, consider a child who’s born into a family where anger isn’t an acceptable emotion to express. When the child gets angry, he is shamed, so he suppresses and denies his anger for the sake of survival within the household. Over time, the anger becomes subconscious.
As an adult, that same person most likely will not have any awareness that he has anger within himself. He will not and cannot see himself clearly because he has rejected that aspect of himself. So when people tell him that he seems angry, he won’t relate at all. He will probably think of himself only as easygoing.
Regardless of how far we have progressed as a society, the goal of parenting is still to have a compliant and obedient child, not to raise our children to become healthy adults. The goal is to raise a child who is “good.”
Most parents today make one or more crucial mistakes. First, they disapprove of their children’s emotions. Second, they dismiss their children’s emotions. Third, they offer no practical guidance to the child.
For example, imagine that young Joey doesn’t want to go to school and begins to cry when his parent tries to drop him off. The disapproving parent might scold Joey for his refusal to cooperate, or resort to calling him a brat, or punish him with a time-out or with a spanking.
The dismissive parent may brush off Joey’s emotions by saying, “That’s silly. There’s no reason to be sad about going to school; now turn that frown upside down.” The dismissive parent may even distract Joey from his emotions by giving him a cookie or pointing out a horse in a field on their way to school.
Some parents are empathetic, but offer no guidance. The empathetic parent may tell Joey that it’s OK to feel sad or scared, but that same parent wouldn’t continue to help Joey decide what to do with his uncomfortable feelings. More than likely, this parent would instead leave him with the belief and feeling that his emotions are an all-consuming force that he is powerless to do anything about.
Children who are raised in unhealthy emotional environments aren’t able to soothe themselves. Very often, they fail to emotionally connect with their family. If they don’t develop intimacy at home, they feel desperately isolated and alone, which may also lead to health problems.
These children grow into adults who aren’t capable of managing their emotions and who struggle to make relationships work. They develop powerless, codependent relationships, and while they may have a deep need for other people, they might simultaneously suffer with an extreme fear of intimacy.
In my opinion, the number one cause of sociopathic and psychopathic behavior in adults is the result of unhealthy emotional environments in childhood. Keep in mind that it’s more difficult to recognize emotional dysfunction than it is to recognize overt abuse.
Many of the serial killers and school shooters who came from reportedly “healthy homes” didn’t in fact come from healthy homes at all. They may have come from physically healthy homes—where they were fed, clothed, and given many advantages—but underneath that lovely looking exterior was extreme emotional dysfunction so damaging that it kept them from connecting with other people.
Emotional dismissal and emotional disapproval are forms of emotional abuse. When a parent disapproves of their child’s emotion or dismisses it, the child begins to accept the parent’s estimation of the event and learns to doubt his or her own judgment. As a result, the child loses self-confidence.
When emotional dysfunction rules the relationship, the child learns that it’s wrong to feel the way that they feel.
Each and every one of us, regardless of how loving or unloving our upbringing was, holds within ourselves the essence of the children we once were. One part of us grew up, but the other part stayed a child. This inner child is the symbol of our emotional selves. The adult part of you grew up, despite not getting what it needed as a child. It’s your adult self who holds the key to healing.
We will always be emotional orphans if we wait for someone else to lovingly parent the underdeveloped parts of ourselves. We will always be powerless if we wait for someone else to rescue the part of us that needs to be rescued. And we will always be unhealed if we wait for someone else to take care of the parts of us that need to be cared for.
The best way to begin facilitating your own healing is to consciously take care of the child self that is present within you. You need to provide for yourself today whatever you didn’t receive in the past from others.
At the core of The Completion Process is validation of our emotions.
When we commence healing with the Completion Process, we move forward, guided by the tenet that the only way out is in.
The Completion Process is not an exercise where you can do a few steps today and then finish the rest next week. Each step builds on the previous one, and the entire process is designed to be completed in one sitting so that the emotional process is opened and closed properly and predictably. Full details of each of the 18 steps can be found in my book.