Freud called it repetition compulsion.
Psychotherapists call it 'trauma retention'.
It's a tendency we have as humans to 're-enact' a situation from our past - something that is unresolved within us, like a puzzle.
We re-enact it in order to try to 'solve it' this time. We recruit new actors on our stage to help us with it. We'll often recruit/attract people who have features that resemble those from our past in order to play out scenarios again and again, trying to figure out how to do it in a way where we find resolution.
This is why we can have such strong patterns in our relationships. You may have heard this before: we are not having different relationships throughout our life - we are having the same relationship over and over but with different people.
We have within us, a 'relationship with the external world' that reflects three different layers:
We use the outermost shell to paint over the mud of the second layer. And in doing so, we disconnect with the deepest layer.
But when we allow the deepest part of us to connect with and acknowledge the deepest part of another, we experience a felt sense of intimacy and healing - a heightened sense of psychological safety.
In order to let that happen, we need to reverse engineer the process
- we need to let get of the façade
- we need to acknowledge our own pain and the pain that was experienced by our parents, our ancestors and previous generations
- we need to get back in touch with the part of us that can acknowledge our own pain and others' pain as 'signals' and symptoms that need our attention and sophisticated intelligence to create more understanding
In the upcoming episodes of the podcast, and the accompanying articles - I want to be a guide to these innermost layers.
I have done this work personally for myself and have guided many people to connect these dots. Each time they do, they express to me a sense of clarity, certainty and 'lightness' that they have never experienced before. It's like they are able to see the missing pieces to the puzzle they have been trying to solve since they were little.
When we connect the dots of how our personal and collective histories affect us, there is a release that happens. The brain-body system finally has CONTEXT. It is able to recognize that our 're-actions' (to act again and again) have roots to it. There is a 'logic' behind them.
That context and connecting of dots not only applies to us as individuals but to all our relationships and with humanity as a whole.
As our mind-brain-body widens and deepens its awareness to be more than just about the event happening now, it can begin to see that, for example - our parents were children. And as children they had experiences that may have wounded them psychologically, physically or both. They were sons and daughters of their parents, who lived in a time with events happening around them. Those ancestors were also the children of parents who experienced events happening around them.
Many of our systems and structures today have been built upon traumatizing and fear-based mechanisms of keeping people obedient and compliant in order to maintain hierarchies that were imposed upon them. We are all affected by this.
As we acknowledge this, we start to see how much the human species has experienced pain, wounding and trauma.
Individually and collectively. History that is filled with horrific pain, violence, danger.
We are now beginning to have new understandings about human trauma - that it can be passed on from generation to generation. This is fairly simple to understand when you know the mechanics of experience-dependent brains and our dependence on socio-biological signals from others.
My hope, through this content I share with you, is to help you have context and to realize that so much of the anxiety, hopelessness, and heaviness you may experience is not 'abnormal' and is not something defective about you. It is a type of kinetic energy that is held within us as our body's attempt to adaptively respond to the socio-biological signals it is exposed to, and within the context of a dark history of human interaction.
By doing this, we create a collective CONTEXT.
And in so doing, we begin to acknowledge that deepest layer within us. We can start recognizing -within us and within the human collective - the never-ending capacity to keep hoping for something better, to keep getting up, to keep finding another way to love even in the midst of pain and wounding.