Pain Triggers Our Survival Response: Enlightenment Or Trauma Response? Part Two

Hello Friends and welcome back!

If you have not done so yet, please read part one of this post here!

Now let's carry on!

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When we are in pain, we are MEANT to be able to figure out WHY we are in pain, so that we can then get out of that pain.

That is what our consciousness awareness is all about. When we are children and we are not rescued from our pain, we are in the most vulnerable and victim state that we could ever be in. We have no power over our circumstances, no power over our caregivers, no way of understanding or communicating our needs - and thus when we have pain and that pain is projected back onto us, invalidated, ignored or we are otherwise not helped because our caregivers CAN’T help us - we are not only being faced with a realization that is usually far beyond our capacity to understand and safely transition into - that our parents are not GOD and capable of anything and everything - AND we are being traumatized by being stuck in pain.

This Triggers Our Survival Impulses:

BOTH of these things deeply trigger our survival based nervous system responses. This is deep physical trauma that can and will last a lifetime if not addressed and evolved.

Also remember that being LOVED and ACCEPTED by our caregivers is also DEEPLY WIRED into our nervous systems as being ‘safe,’ whereas being rejected by them or abandoned by them is wired into our nervous system as a total threat to survival - this is because they are our source for everything. We can't meet our own needs, and thus their aggression, their abandonment, their rejection, their shaming of us goes to our CORE - any behaviour we exhibit that gets us rejected by our caregivers is programmed into our nervous systems as a deep threat to survival - and if our reactions to pain or our pain itself causes a rejection reaction/causes us to feel that we are harming our caregivers - this is a DOUBLE WHAMMY on our nervous systems that then go into a deep state of fight, flight, fawn or freeze.

Thus most of us live in a world of perpetual pain - we aren’t free to be ourselves, to learn and interact with reality and the pain and pleasure that comes with that (which would bring joy) because these things are wired into our nervous systems as threats to our survival. But the more we go AGAINST our true nature in order to fit into the consensus reality we were indoctrinated into, the more life hurts because it’s at odds with TRUTH - and thus it hurts.

We are caught in loops of never being able to SEE our conditioning for what it is or where it is - because to us it is our NORMAL. It's just OBVIOUS that this is how life is, how we have to be/can’t be and so on. We don’t ever mature to see that we can BE OURSELVES, make mistakes, interact with reality itself, be rejected and so on and STILL SURVIVE as adults who no longer need caregivers to understand us, validate us and change things for us.

We stay stuck in the child perspective of not being aware of ourselves, not being aware of how reality works and not having the capacity to figure out our own pain - because there are too many shame/blame/I can’t do anything about this stories attached to it. Thus, we suffer. Immensely. We get trapped in lives that have nothing to do with our true nature, we never discover our true nature because it is buried away so as to protect us from the threat of rejection, we never learn from mistakes because we believe that they make us ‘bad’ and so on.

Stuck In Loops Of Pain: Enter Depression

As adults, we are STILL looking to the OUTSIDE WORLD to understand, validate and remedy our pain. We, generally speaking, never learned how to actually be independent adults who can view pain through a clear lens - a cause and effect reaction telling us that we are doing something out of alignment with reality, that we can then learn from to help us align MORE with how reality functions, thus finding pleasure. Instead, we learned that pain = shame/I am bad/doing something wrong OR Pain = someone out there needs to come to my rescue and if they don’t THEY are the REASON I am suffering OR Pain = An inevitable consequence of being alive that can’t be remedied. So we stay in our loops of pain, in our loops of traumatizing life experiences NEVER learning from them, never becoming empowered by them, never REALLY SEEING why we are in pain and thus EVOLVING OUR WAY OF BEING so as to get out of pain.

Instead, we dive deeper and deeper into pain, and we start developing coping mechanisms. Drinking. Drugging. Over working/giving. Numbing. Running. Suppressing. Blaming. Getting into the same relationships over and over. Looking for a savior that never comes. Constantly trying to 'fix and change' ourselves, our personalities, our emotional reactions - believing WE are broken, rather than the systems of LIFE we are trying to live within being what is faulty and causing us pain. We project that the world around us has it figured out and is either just reflecting back to us our inferiority or it's withholding nature when we have pain.

Thus we stay trapped in this very deeply rooted SURVIVAL FEAR. We go about trying to be what is expected of us - and THIS HURTS on a soul level. This causes deep dark depression, that sense of having no purpose or meaning in life, that sense of emptiness we feel when we are alone - because we are not living a life that actually FULFILLS us. We are living a life that gets us consensus approval at best (which only feels good momentarily, but the moment we are rejected, ignored or alone, all those feelings of ‘not enough’ come rushing to the surface) or we are living lives that don’t necessarily get us approved of, but that STOP us from ever expressing what we know would get us rejected. Meaning we have habits and behaviors like addictions and other coping mechanisms that are seen as ‘bad’ - and we are doing them in an attempt to suppress parts of ourselves that got rejected in childhood. To us it's better to be rejected for being an alcoholic than to be rejected for this CORE ROOT part of ourselves. It's safer to be an abusive spouse than it would be to express these core aspects of self that you are currently wired to believe will KILL YOU or GET YOU KILLED if you were to express them.

We have these parts of self that NEED TO EXPRESS - that have needs and wants that need to be met that are not being allowed to get what they need because they have been shadowed. They are struggling and in pain, and they are using our coping mechanisms and self sabotage in order to meet their needs in the only ways they know how. They are parts of self that are immature and never got to grow and express because they were shadowed so early in our lives. They are in pain, and they cause us pain. They have needs they are only partially getting met through addictive and coping behaviors. We are struggling SO HARD to 'do the right thing' - to fit into society or to rebel in a way that will serve us - again and again thinking that WE are broken if we can't be normal, successful or otherwise happy. These true parts of self are feared by us so deeply, on a subconscious nervous system fear level, while also being the only way to freedom that exists. Our nervous systems are CONSTANTLY being triggered - either through the threat of these parts surfacing and getting us rejected and thus killed, or from us living out of alignment with our truth, thus never being able to get our true needs met, and thus being in TRUE PAIN.

We get to a place where living our conditioning is incredibly painful - even if it gets us approval, it also drives us to cope, numb and stimulate because it HURTS. It hurts to live our conditioning even though to our nervous systems it is the only safe way to live. Then on the flip side it feels SO SCARY to our nervous systems to express our TRUTH that even when we DO do things that align with our true nature, that feels awful too. That feels like death. Like depression. There is a deep subconscious reaction that happens when we act as our true selves because in ur programmed perception this means death, isolation, being alone, being rejected, misery.

We feel awful when we follow our conditioning and even worse when we follow our truth.

This is depression.

We feel more and more exhausted. More and more alone. More and more confused as everything we do makes us feel worse and worse.

We have to recognize here that again, our conditioning is founded in survival. Our nervous systems evolved such that ALL THREAT in perceived by the BODY as a PHYSICAL THREAT. One the body thinks you are facing right now - that death is the next step. Thus when we are children and we are being rejected/denied/neglected by our caregivers, our little brains and bodies FEEL that as an existential threat. We then come up with all sorts of stories of shame and guilt to stop us from doing anything that got us rejected, and to spur us to do anything that gets us accepted/STOPS US from doing what got us rejected.

Meaning we were going along doing what was natural to us, expressing ourselves and going on our learning path, and when that expression or that process of learning got us rejected - we spilled water and rather than mom teaching us why that happened and how to clean it up she instead yelled at us - we internalized that number one as a survival threat 'I am about to die as this caregiver who is my source of all things is rejecting me' and we came up with stories about us being bad/wrong/shameful in whatever we were doing (that felt GOOD to US as it was NATURAL). These shame stories were the tools we used to keep ourselves in line and thus surviving. Then moving forward, any time we felt the urge to do that thing that got us rejected, we would feel that pang of FEAR that would then cycle into SHAME and we would then use some other behavior to stop us doing what we naturally WANTED to do, or we would do some sort of generally pleasing behaviour, that which got us accepted, in order to avoid doing the behaviour that got us rejected.

This Is Why We Sabotage And Cope:

This is where our self sabotage, coping and scapegoat behaviors come from. They are how we learned to CONTORT ourselves. To feel the desire to explore, have the nervous system freak out because it associated this with being rejected by our source of nourishment, that then immediately gets turned into a compulsion to eat, numb out, yell at someone, lash out or turn in - as these behaviors STOPPED US from doing what was natural but that got us rejected.

Every time we feel the desire to be our true selves, our nervous systems perceive that as a survival threat. Then as we do our coping/self sabotage/learned behaviour (when we shame ourselves and look to people please, when we go into self help and fixing, when we project, when we blame others, when we numb/stimulate/distract) and SURVIVE - this gets wired into our nervous system as being THE THING THAT JUST SAVED OUR LIVES.

So the more we are triggered and then act on our conditioning, the more we reinforce in our nervous systems that this conditioned response WORKED. This is why the older we get, the harder it is to change our habits. The more we practice shutting ourselves down in specific ways the more our bodies and brains wire this in as life saving and critical to our survival. The more we then try to contradict that behaviour - the more we feel like we are on the brink of death/go into a massive stress response, because to the brain and body NOT doing our behaviour will mean rejection and rejection = death.

Our nervous systems are so deeply programmed, that then to act on our truth feels like death itself. It actually feels BETTER to go along with our conditioning - to binge, to drink, to people please, to keep the job you were expected to have, to stay in the marriage you know isn't right for you - than it does to follow your truth, because following your truth locks your body down.

It all FEELS so real to us. Our stories make perfect sense to us and we seemingly have all this evidence to support our stories. We really DID and DO get rejected when we are ourselves. It really feels like the world crashes down around us if we don't act how we are 'supposed' to act. When we imagine following what we want or just letting go of what we don't want, all that comes up are horror stories that again, seem totally real and logical to us. We are trapped in cycles of trauma and stress that we think are real reality, because to us, it IS real reality. We don't see the difference between the stories we are telling ourselves, what was true in childhood that isn't true anymore, and what is going on in real reality.

It’s a constant cycle of pain and trauma. Of being re-traumatized by ourselves. Then on top of that, existing in a space where we feel like helpless children in the face of all this pain - we are looking to be good, to manipulate or to be rescued in some way, because we never learned to understand our own pain, how to understand reality or how to get our own needs met. We only learned the codependency of childhood that says I can’t feel good/get out of pain without someone outside of myself fixing things for me, approving of me, understanding me and solving my issue.

We are working SO HARD to suppress what is true to us that got rejected, we are dealing with the nervous system survival fear that comes up every time a part of our true self wants to come to the surface - which is happening all the time - we are being triggered into our coping and self sabotage behaviors constantly as they are the only way we know to meet our needs/remedy our pain - but they don’t do the job fully and they in themselves get us rejected and fill us with shame.

Thus, is it any wonder that most of us live in a constant state of coping, self sabotage, numbing, running and looking to the outside world for rescuing and approval?

Is it any wonder that we come to spiritual practices because we are so exhausted, in pain, lost and confused we literally have no other idea what to do?

It’s through all this trauma, it seems that we have developed a lot of what we think of as ‘spirituality’. I want to explore how some of what we are calling spirituality may actually be a nervous system response to trauma rather than the transcendence we are thinking it is.

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See you next week for Part Three!