In my observation with people, when there is unprocessed shock and grief, their close relationships tend to take on particular roles. The emotional access to a wider spectrum is shaky. Energetically speaking, I see the shock bubbles encapsulated in their human energetic system. On a biological sense, the psoas gets affected, the voice has a certain bandwidth available in specific situations, the diaphragm and access to breath modulated to attune to safety from previous survival knowing. You can notice in the tight, high pitched expression of sound, the knot in the stomach, or the jaws clenched. When we follow these sensations in a safe place, there is a possibility to release ourselves into greater ease and wellness.
Compensations results after repeated patterns of strengths and weaknesses play out between people. The historical jigsaw puzzles of psychological maneuvering to get one’s needs met roll with the moss around around it over time. It is more difficult and challenging to retain individual emotional authenticity when the culture one resides in espouses the opposite.
How do we dodge the violence in ourselves?
What denials do we go into to preserve our self respect?
Can we accept the possibility that we confabulate, not just tell the truth due to our vulnerabilities?
We all have triumphs and defeats in life. Often, we don’t get validated for doing our best, but instead get locked in a cycle of what we did wrong.
Family relations are complex because there is a history of emotional pitfalls that we tend to trip into over and over again even with age. Early patterns of behavior with each other continue even when we know cognitively they don’t work. We sometimes are like old record players stuck in the same tune or the same movement in dance with different music. We can know enough to tell the story verbally, but somatically, our bodies still do the same movement/behavior. Often when I come across this in working with clients, I find that there are bubbles of unexamined and unreleased shock. Some maybe preverbal and out of this water, “fixed” roles emerge.
What do we do when our expectation of the other don’t meet our old roles? We get angry, disappointed, helpless, confused, frustrated, and let down. Circular arguments blow up beyond the situation because the reacting really stems from a long history buried deep inside. We can call it a trigger. We as humans have a hard time with change especially when someone we love behaves out of the “normal” range of our expectations. We experience grief, but do not know how to grieve. Loss can show up many different ways. It can show up because someone we love has a major injury that changed his life, another might enter what might be considered a psychotic break, or an elder entering dementia. It could show up as depression or anxiety. We may get overwhelmed by the responsibility that tethers into a burden. And in the midst of all this, we question our love, our devotion, our self knowing that is flooded in the storms of emotional, financial, physical realities of shifting needs. In a family situation, the value of who matters most and the hierarchy of sacrifices play out in painful ways. Sometimes this replicates early family of origin scenarios.
There is grief. We must face the loss of the person we once know, and that includes the loss of the person we knew ourselves to be.
Hurt must be validated after healthy anger has been expressed and acknowledged. Repression and suppression of energy in the forms of emotions causes other problems. It is not enough to continually redirect with skillful means as in seen in the chronic diabetes we find in many Tibetan Buddhist lamas. How many times do we redirect our children out of their rage to watching a cartoon or other activities? What do we teach each other when we ignore our emotions? We have social contracts within our cultural frameworks that can’t be separated from individual authentic expressions of self.
It is said in some circles that our psyches want to heal and resolve, even if that means having dementia at the very end of our iives. But why wait until then. Why not make the commitment now not only to allow our feelings to be expressed, but to restore our sense of self respect. The longing buried can lead, as the Sufis believe, to the Beloved or God.
We are emotional beings, not just logical ones. Our bodies lead the way truthfully even if our minds spin stories.