Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I feel better

To the best of my ability, I am following the basic principles outlined by Peter Levine in treating trauma.  I contact primal emotions, but then pull back; I move in, then move out.  This is pendulation (which is ideally from the pain to a safe space you create in your mind, based on a real memory, and/or an imagined place; I cannot ever remember truly feeling safe, so I wasn't able to do this very well, so my version is just pulling my attention back, and playing Tetris or something).

  And he talks about titration as well, which is bringing in bits at a time, but in a slightly more steady stream.  That in any event is how I take him.

The difference I think is that in pendulation you are still dissociated more or less fully.  Those feelings exist in a subterranean space that is of course always functionally present, but rarely consciously present.  It might manifest as dread, or paranoia, an underlying sadness, something missing which you can't quite place.  Contacting it at all is a revelation, and not a very fun one.

In my own case, it seems to be the case that somewhere around age 5 I submitted fully to the idea that I would never be loved and that life was hopeless, completely.  I did not do this consciously, and of course children are resilient, and for long periods of time life itself can keep such feelings at bay.  But I entered this energy the other day.  I entered the feeling of being completely dependent, fully helpless, in the care of someone I feared was going to kill me, and who only rarely made me feel wanted.

If I am honest, I cannot ever remember truly feeling that my mother--or anyone else--loved me.  To this moment, I am not sure I really know what the feeling of love is, although I do think I felt it for my children.  They certainly feel it for me.  I did my job well where they were concerned, even if my issues prevented me from being as effective as I might otherwise have been.  Given what I was otherwise feelings, I think I performed a miracle, to be honest.

Titration is, I think, a more advanced practice, where you maintain, as well as possible, both your old awareness, the one that allowed you to survive, but keep as a companion an awareness that around you somewhere is this other energy that you need to dip into from time to time, and that the process, while sometimes unpleasant, is in the end extremely healthy, and the path to emotional freedom and healing.

Titration can easily lead sometimes to pendulation.  You just have to get out of that place, and return somewhere safer.  But it is the path forward.

I have to laugh--and I do have a gallows humor sometimes--that all my work has been to get to the point where I can now begin the REAL work, which is discharging that energy.

But I have had moments of peace in the past few days, moments where all those old feelings cease briefly, and I feel, I think, like most non-traumatized people feel most of the time.  Progress continues.  My commitment is absolute, even if I do have to take breaks sometimes.

As always, I confess these things, to whom I know not, in the hope of sharing my human journey.  In the end, all is always revealed, and practicing transparency and openness here on Earth is, I feel, useful.  Certainly for me, but perhaps for you too.  Be brave.

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