When we have enough inner strength and outer support in our present life, something begins to happen. And it can be very confusing.
When conditions are supportive and the time is right, our bodies and minds will bring old feelings up, even if there isn’t all that much happening in our present world to ‘trigger’ it.
Because these old unconscious memories that have been isolated inside need to open to be healed. And we can tell they are open because we feel the feelings now.
And they don’t feel like the past.
We feel it now – vivid and raw.
And usually it feels like we have fallen back into an old place of fear or depression or anxiety that we have worked so hard to stay out of… it feels like going backwards in our healing… like backsliding.
But it isn’t. It is necessary for our healing and integration.
We can’t integrate these isolated neural nets of old trauma unless they open up. So just talking about it or analyzing it or coming up with better ways to cope is not enough to actually heal us.
We need to feel to heal.
These strong implicit feelings arise for two reasons.
Sometimes they arise because something in the present moment is similar enough to the original trauma that they get woken up. A smell (like a hospital for me) can be enough… A certain phrase or tone of voice… Anything that feels implicitly similar can open it up. Often people call this being ‘triggered’. And we try to avoid it.
But every time these feelings arise, it is a precious opportunity to integrate. Remember that integration can not happen unless it opens up.
Without enough support, an experience like this can be re-traumatizing – so we try to avoid this for a very good reason.
But if enough support and safety is present – this is how we can heal. It’s the only time we can heal.
And so sometimes these old implicit feelings arise because we have enough support and safety present. Because our systems recognize this as the opportunity we’ve been waiting for and working toward and conditions are just right for healing.
And it is confusing because we feel we are backsliding, moving backwards, losing control…
If you find yourself feeling this way – lean into your support people. Lean into anyone – including animals and nature – that gives you a feeling of support or accompaniment.
We have to feel to heal. You are not doing it wrong.