Saturday, November 27, 2010
A Committed intimate relationship with self: An opportunity to evolve with trauma?
We sacrifice our lives for them (literally or figuratively). We spend huge amounts of money as individuals and as a society. We do ‘crazy’ things. Our committed relationships (self, partner, children, siblings, parents, close friends) can touch us to the core. It is in these relationships that we have been seen as sick, furious, out of control, looking and sometimes behaving at our best and at our very worst. They become the mirror for us and we often simultaneously feel love and hate. There is intensity and energy there - or a deadness and disconnection that can only come from losing hope and meaning when dreams of the highest order are shattered. Many of these relationships that are initially born of love, joy and trust, can result in a sense of utter devastation.
Many of us grow up with very little effective psychological parenting. Our own parents may not have received such psychological parenting and they simply did not have it to give it to us. We may not have received consistent and developmentally appropriate love, emotional tracking and firm limits. We continue to seek to have these needs met through our intimate relationships with other people- often almost exclusively. However, these other people will most frequently have many of their own unmet needs. As part of the process of not internalising a healthy, wise boundaried psychological parent to meet our own needs, we look to each other. We are inevitably disappointed!
Truly facing ourselves- wherever we are- and taking real responsibility for our own bodies, feelings, thoughts, behaviours, relationships, finances and living circumstances can be very painful, frightening, challenging, exciting and liberating. If we learn to treat ourselves in the way we would ideally like the people in our intimate relationships to treat us then we cannot go too far wrong. These bodies we live in are precious, fragile and mortal. They need safety, love, compassion and integrated exercise, nutrition, water, soothing and maintenance. They enjoy safe touch, warmth, laughter, and time in nature, fun and excitement. When respected and kept safe and healthy, they love touch, sensuous and living food and personally tailored movement. Learn what your body loves and be generous, gentle and firm with this inherently beautiful and unique home - most especially when it is neglected, battered, terrified, despised, bruised, flabby, starving, sore, painful, poisoned or sick. Such a choice does not have to cost you any money. Be creative!
Our feelings are embodied. Learn to read this language of your body. Listen carefully. Identify and constructively express your feelings, rather than indiscriminately dumping them on other people or internalising them and unwittingly contributing to the precipitation, maintenance and severity of your own physical and psychological health challenges. You might: write in a private journal in an unedited way and then respond from your wise adult, check in with yourself several times a day about your feelings, needs and wants and as soon as possible meet these needs constructively, and regularly say a few encouraging statements a day to you- just for being, rather than doing.
The foundation of evolving with trauma lies in your committed intimate relationship with your body and your feelings. Consider being present, safe, loving, gentle and firm with you.