Yep. That’s right. I just made a reference to tape recorders.
Our bodies keep the score in literally every capacity. This isn’t new age, hippie-dippie “our body and mind are one” shit…..it’s simply the neuroscience of trauma and attachment. Im speaking mostly about the autonomic nervous system (responsible for our fight/flight/freeze response, as well as many other things), and our postural and movement tendencies (which develop in relation to our early attachment experiences). Our bodies are a much more accurate representation of where we’re really at than our rational, reason-based brain (called the pre-frontal cortex).
Even though we may rationally want to heal and work through our difficulties, the part of our physiology that is responsible for our basic survival may not be on board. This is one of many reasons why a simple “mindset” shift doesn’t get at the root of what may be keeping us stuck.
Especially for those of us who have experienced traumatic events or attachment trauma, our experience goes so much deeper than our reason-based brain. It is why we can do years of personal growth work, even deeply experiential and emotionally-focused work, and still at the end of the day not feel safe, have trauma-related flashbacks, panic attacks, dissociate from reality……the works. The bottom line is this: in order to heal in a whole, real and sustainable way, we cannot work any faster than the most dysregulated part of ourselves.
What does “dysregulated” mean? It means that our nervous system is “not regulated” as a result of living in our survival physiology…..so instead of experiencing a nice, healthy range of emotions and sensations, we may ramp way up into panic/rage/terror at the littlest trigger, or crash into a state of shutdown or dissociation. And we can’t “rationalize” our way out of it……we have to work with the body in the present moment in order for us to feel safe on a biological level. The good news is that this isn’t a life sentence…..it is an injury. And like any injury, when we decide to do the work, it can be healed.