I’ve done a lot of emotional work and had a lot of breakthroughs but I feel like my issues just keep coming back. Will I ever just be done?
Yes you will and no you won’t. How’s that sound? One of the side effects of being human is that we all endure a certain amount of trauma when we’re young. Even if you think you had the worlds kindest parents, you were still subjected to things that felt quite stressful to you; treatment that you didn’t understand because your undeveloped brain lacked context and the ability to be objective. Some people suffer terribly in their childhoods while others seem to fare better from an outside perspective (this just means that their experience of trauma is more subtle). As we move into adulthood, we find that when emotional issues that crop up, they are usually reflections of any childhood trauma we endured, and the situations that trigger them will repeat themselves until we are in a place to do the work around the original wounding.
It’s really disheartening to keep landing in the same old pile of crap over and over again isn’t it?
So we essentially get to work the same issues repeatedly throughout our lives, just from different angles. When we experience major breakthroughs on certain issues, we feel great for awhile, assured that we’ve discovered what we needed to shift old belief patterning and are free to move on… until we get triggered and find ourselves back in a strikingly similar situation, working on the same trauma. Yay!
It’s really disheartening to keep landing in the same old pile of crap over and over again isn’t it? It feels especially terrible when we feel that we’re back peddling and losing hard won ground. Our Superegos (inner critics) just love to get their hands on us and punish us for screwing up and falling prey to the same old thing again. This puts us in a situation of having to rework something we’ve already “conquered” while at the same time, getting beaten up in the process by our self talk around it. “I should know better. I can’t believe I did this again” etc.
Here’s the thing- there may never be an obvious end to the situations that trigger our trauma. We may not go into remission ever, and that’s okay. The goal here isn’t to end pain completely. The goal is to work with it layer by layer. Every time you successfully work through a layer, the pain lessens and the duration of time it takes us to work the piece when it reoccurs gets smaller and smaller. Ideally, we want to get to a point where we have enough awareness and understanding of the things that trigger us that we catch them as they occur, preventing a full blown relapse. I use the word relapse because when our old trauma gets activated and we’re operating from a place of shadow, we will automatically reach for coping mechanisms in order to feel better. For some this is alcohol, shopping or food, others it’s drama, busy-ness and victimhood. It doesn’t matter what our drug of choice is, if we’re triggered and unconscious about it, we will fall back into our old patterning no matter how much work we’ve done on it already (and it’ll be harder to pull ourselves out of the hole).
So what are your triggers? What are the themes that seem to reoccur in your life? Do you feel like you have a handle on them or do you wish you had more clarity? If you want to get to the point where the lessons become easier and more fulfilling even if you have to keep reprocessing them; becoming aware of the answers to the above questions is the first step. Awareness, awareness, awareness!
If you feel the pull to work with someone around your emotional triggers, sign up for a clarity call with me, it’s free and it’ll give us an opportunity to see if we’re a good fit for each other.
If you have a question you’d like me to answer here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will remain anonymous.