It’s pretty amazing. There is something that happens in the brain (amygdala shut down long enough) to permit emotion to come up and out. It’s only scary if you have not had experience with crying or intense emotion. It’s not uncommon either to go numb, shut off or completely avoid emotion after years of complicated trauma or an experience which was too much to process.
The scariest thing about trauma therapy is really our thoughts about our feelings getting really intense and then staying stuck there. Some people believe if they start crying, they won’t stop. This of course, is not true. Feelings are like waves in an ocean. They crash into the shore and eventually get smaller and smaller until they dissipate.
As we work through an old memory with a negative cognition such as ‘I am not worth it’, and then turning it into a positive one after you have released old stuff, is more than empowering. It’s amazing and freeing. Thinking back to a traumatic time and no longer feeling any ‘charge’, to it is kind of like a miracle, especially if we have been hiding it like a dirty secret for years and years. Those years of shame stuck in the body, in the cells, in the heart and the soul.
Following the finger, or hand, moving my eyes back and forth, is a way for me to stay in the present as well as frees up a space for this crap to come out. Bring your heroes in if it’s scary. I like to bring Wonder Woman along. I imagine her attacking the Villan (perpetrator). She gets them good and then takes me away from the madness of that memory. She gets revenge and my little girl is protected. Then the grief of the tragedy comes, I have a good cry, and its gone. Then I check in with the positive cognition ‘I am worth it’. I imagine a movie of me standing there walking tall like I really believe I am worth it.
I think about all the times I acted like I wasn’t worth it and I imagine years of a pattern repeating itself with people places and things. I feel sad. I feel glad. I feel brave because I know that I am worth it.