We are subconsciously drawn to what is familiar. Our early environment has a big impact on our relational blueprint which stays with us into adulthood. Like it or not, we will be drawn to what is familiar.
No family is perfect and it is impossible to be a human on the planet without experiencing some level of trauma (even being born is traumatic). Sometimes the word trauma throws people off because they think of trauma with a big “T” (life threatening events: car accidents, wars, severe abuse) but there is also trauma with a little “t” (emotional needs not being met, rejection, being bullied, being the black sheep/scapegoat of the family).
Trauma is not always what happened on the outside, but our experience that happened on the inside as a result. The way our brains, bodies, and nervous systems respond to distress creates a lasting impact on the way we experience the world day to day. If we did not receive the attunement we needed as children, this has an impact on our ability to handle life’s inevitable stresses.
When we experience trauma our brain imprints certain beliefs about the world and we view the world through the lens of that belief system. We may have tried fruitlessly to get our needs met and decided there must be something inherently wrong with us. We may have been put in the role of a supporter to a parent and decided that we cannot have our own needs. We may have been physically or emotionally abandoned and decided that we will always be alone. Whatever we believe will become true for us and we will subconsciously recreate a similar dynamic in other relationships.
This is known as repetition compulsion where we repeat the same dynamic and hope that we will finally have healing and resolution. This IS possible if both people are willing to do their inner work around what is coming up for them and learn a new way. However if that is not the case what ends up happening is that we get re-traumatized all over again and our beliefs are proved right – like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How do we finally shift this? It must be healed from the inside out.
- Awareness of the beliefs and patterns that show up are the first step. Otherwise they will continue operating unconsciously and impacting us every day.
- Rewiring the brain and nervous system with the experiences of being seen, heard, and safe are also vital – this can happen with a trusted coach/therapist, friends, family – others who understand the journey you are on (many of them will have had similar experiences and they are able to hold space for you).
- Daily practices that calm the mind, get us into our bodies, and help us to self-regulate are also huge (prayer, meditation, movement/exercise)
- 12-step programs are very helpful in doing a deep dive into our own patterns and programs and learning how to rewire and liberate ourselves. I recommend SLAA, Al-Anon, and CODA for relationship challenges. They provide support, tools and a sense of community that is very helpful.
- Love, compassion, gentleness and patience with yourself and others knowing we are all doing the very best we can in each moment.
If you need support I have personally walked this journey and continue to walk it at the deepest level and would be honored to support you in healing and creating a new way of relating to yourself and others.
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