Unresolved trauma – Repression
When we are born our sub-conscious has all the relevant information contained in it to ensure our survival. It does many things in regards to our survival, breathing, digestion, healing cuts etc. But it also contains many response that will provide us the best possible chance of survival if we are caught up in danger. For instance if we are about to be hit by something our natural reaction will be to move/duck or raise our arms to protect ourselves. Although we come pre-equipped with a survival plan our sub-conscious will add new teachings to its list as and when we experience them. When we are in survival mode we switch on the Fight, Flight of Freeze response. This will be experienced in the body as increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, blurred visions, butterflies, needing toilet, dry mouth, wet mouth etc. The reason for this response is it puts our body into the best state possible to face the danger that is upon us and too make sure we are consciously aware that we need to act
Why it occurs?
Repression occurs when the subconscious perceives that the organism (you) is at some way at risk and does not allow normal function. In a single moment you subconscious reacts – at that moment you will likely been experiencing an intense fear, panic or shame, guilt or whatever overbearing feeling causing the subconscious to ‘hide’ the event in a capsule in the mind, so that conscious awareness is no longer aware of that moment of vulnerability. The sub-conscious may react like this because it believes the event was a one of and is no longer required to be accessed by consciousness, because it generated so much intense emotion it believes it is best that we don’t think about that moment again. But it’s best to be kept on file the event just in case it happens again so we can react accordingly.
It makes perfect sense for us to create new survival reactions as we grow, seeing as life is ever changing and new threats are likely to happen. Unfortunately out Sub-Conscious has no grey area that something may be ok or maybe not. It is either seen as a safe or not safe. The sub-conscious can easily store a survival response based on incorrect information because from its point of view it would prefer to err on the side of caution.
The sleeping worry!
This repressed memory or memories can lay dormant for months, years, even half a lifetime or in some instances for the whole of a person’s life, they are simply never triggered. But for others whilst they are busy living their life an event comes along that looks, feels, or is some other way reminiscent to the original trauma and the sub-conscious reacts instantaneously activating a set of symptoms that are designed to propel the organism (you) away from the perceived threat!
Bewilderment is something everyone is likely to experience when they feel anxious. From the conscious mind we know everything is ok but from a sub-conscious point of view, hidden away, is a valid reason to react in the way we are. Almost always, that reason will be associated with the trigger event that set the avoidance/coping programme in motion.
Unfortunately once the repression is active, it will continue to be triggered by all sorts of things. It is as if the subconscious has decided that the original event wasn’t a one off and it needs to be continually on guard.
From that original trigger that is safely hidden in a capsule in our sub-conscious are what are known as handles. Unfortunately we can pull on these handles whenever a current life event mimics any number of resemblances to that original event. It’s generally not obvious why we get triggered but it will have something to do with a similarity being overlapped, this could be, a sound, a smell, a word, a shape, it could basically be anything that has any relations to the original trigger regardless of how insignificant the connection feels from a conscious point of view.
Whenever any of these handles are ‘pulled’ you are likely to experience an attack of whatever symptoms that you personally experience, be this a panic attack, claustrophobia a migraine. Herein lies why you are left in complete bewilderment because the trigger would have been something normal that consciously has no reason to make you react in the way you are. The repression is actually split into 3 parts. The event itself – so any similar event could trigger. The physiological reaction, how your body reacted at the time i.e. shaking and the emotional response.
This is a truly brilliant device that keeps us safe throughout our life if the entries are correct and relevant but unfortunately each and every one of us will have an incorrect responses that if triggered could lead us leaving an anxious life.
An incorrect stored belief!
It is often said that the repression must be linked to a horrific event that was just so bad to bear we had to make ourselves unable to recall it. This of course could be the case but more often than not it is due to two things. Firstly, what seems traumatic to a child is often not likely to be seen as traumatic as an adult. Secondly, if we were able to recall the event consciously it would cease to work as an effective instinct, we would likely try to analyse it and in the time we spend doing this we could fall four to that it’s trying to protect us from. It is worth expanding on the first point, the child has no frame of reference like that of an adult so when something makes them feel intense fear, shame or guilt there is no reference to believe ‘actually this isn’t as bad as I thought’.
Hypnoanalysis is fantastic tool to allow this repression to surface. Once it’s been made available to conscious thought it can be rationalised and made sense of and it’s then reframed so it can no longer have a negative effect.
Hypnoanalysis takes around 4-12 sessions to complete which is a remarkably short time for what it can achieve. Once the original trigger(s) are located and released you can expect to be fully released from the connected anxiety. And hopefully from reading this you will see once they are removed – they won’t be able to return either! It is fairly rare that someone has just one issue in life and everything else is perfect, possible but not common, free association Hypnoanalysis has a tendency to ‘mop’ up other issues that might still be lingering as well as the main issue.
For those that have just a single issue or even for those that have more than one issue but only want to treat the main one ‘Regression to cause’ is used. This is faster than free association but will only deal with the presenting problem.