We all are made up of our experiences throughout our lives. The way we do a certain thing, the way we react, act, talk, reject, disappear or show up, or the way we parent our own kids, get triggered etc. is all a collection of our experiences as a child. Many times, we do not understand why a certain emotion came up or why we behaved in a certain way. For example, your child is continuously colouring and it feels very messy as you look at them. The logical part of your brain knows that it is okay, but somewhere you are heavily triggered and irritated and you ask the kid to stop. It makes you uncomfortable. Now, when I ask you more, and about your childhood, I find out you were not allowed to paint or colour, you had to do certain things in a certain way. The child in you is getting irritated to see your little child paint. When I work with you, and you realize the stored pent-up emotions you had, you heal and integrate that lost part of you who loved colouring and having fun. You are no more triggered while looking at your kid's paint!
The reason behind such a reaction is because of our traumatized, stuck, embarrassed or difficult emotions buried deep down in all of us. *Inner child healing* is when you go back in time, that is regress to your childhood and save your inner child. It is when you age regress and find those traumatized parts in you, heal them, resolve and integrate those parts with complete consciousness.
If you have been carrying too much for a while then the inner child healing session would lead you to being as light as a feather and if you have been pushing certain emotions always to the back trying to find and be positive then it may bring up all those things out on the surface. Also, in all this, we would like to believe that by time we all forget everything but that is not what exactly happens. It is like a crucial part of you stuck in time energy space capsule. So, you intentionally have to go back to retrieve that part of self.
Is it possible that such trauma is determined by genes? What you can change, what you can’t.
Genes and epigenetics play a very important role in Trauma. So, when your mother was in your grandmother’s womb, she already had eggs from which you were born later in life. So, everything that your grandmother went through was also experienced by your mother which later you would have absorbed as well. For example, holocaust survivors have high stress hormones in their body because their ancestors went through something un imaginable which was absorbed by them too.
Let me explain what happens to your brain when you go through trauma. First, trauma is not only about death or accident or very severe cases of abuse. Anything that overwhelms your brain at a certain point that leaves you in shock would be traumatic for you. A mother rushing through her day and angrily shaking her baby because the baby is not finishing the meal on time could be very well traumatic for the baby. As a child, our neocortex, which is the front side of the brain, is not developed which is responsible for making sense of the situation in front. Anything traumatic happening is going to send a signal to your amygdala, the part of the brain that tells us it's a threat to the body. When there is threat, the hind brain comes into action whose responsibility is survival. It is the oldest part of the brain which is responsible for your survival. Hence, in order to survive you either freeze or get into fright mode.
A mother going through constant stress in her environment, has more levels of stress hormone cortisol in her body, and everything that the mother has in her space gets transferred to the baby. So, when someone tells me I don’t know why I keep looking for stress in situations. When everything is going fine, I kind of create a mess and get into it. This pattern could also be tracked back to the child in the mother's womb who was in a stressful situation. It is used to having cortisol around and that’s the most comfortable and safe space for him! Regular and constant stress changes the part of your brain you don’t even know of!
Going back to the question, if you are already used to the trauma which was there in your ancestor’s space, you will react differently to situations. That is how different people react differently to the traumas they face; it doesn’t mean that one’s trauma is bigger than the other!
What do I do in therapy?
By now we know that the constant and repeated childhood trauma damages few parts of the brain. When someone comes with their issue, I focus on their childhood. Brain is ever changing, if it can be affected by trauma it can also be healed through regulation. Bessel van der Volk has spoken about working with trauma in three different ways.
First through talk therapy making the person feel safe while talking, second through medications where the stress response is reduced and the third is the bottom up approach where we allow the body to feel and go through the experience. .
My process of working with childhood trauma is to find the root cause, make the client go through the situation for one last time and make them breathe with the inner shattered part of themselves. Once when the client sees their issue coming up because of a coping mechanism from some childhood situation they are able to understand that it was in the past, and they are adults now. They connect with the lost part of them, heal and release or remove the limiting belief that they created at some point.
Finally, integrating the lost part!
For more you can follow me at @healingwithhimadri