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Musings of an Awakening Spirit

Stories, poetry & general musings of Rebecca Haywood, a modern-day Shaman with a penchant for bringing the divine into the human experience.

Resistance of the Trauma Self: Part 2: The Freeze

Yesterday, I flipped the conversation about our resistance to healing and embracing our trauma self into an exploration of how the trauma self resists that embrace, even from You, the guardian. I introduced a new framework for identifying her resistance—the freeze, flee, or fight response. I shared that my trauma self has resisted my embrace in these three ways and cycled through them, just as she did when the trauma first occurred.

I found that each response manifested in a specific aspect—body, emotions, or mind—and in direct correlation to the trauma self’s fear of being seen or heard, felt, and believed. To be clear, each response of the trauma self is experienced through all aspects of one’s being. This discussion is about where they land, where the resistance solidifies into a manifestation. Recognizing these manifestations can help You, the guardian, to better embrace her needs—to soften her freeze, calm her flight, and bring peace to her fight. For though they may come from fear and pain, they are her messengers, her way of reaching for You.

Today, we dive into the Freeze response…

The freeze manifests in the physical aspect. The energy is stuck, unmoving and dead silent—terrified of being seen or heard. It may or may not land in the same place each time, but often it does and its location is a clue into what and how the trauma self is hiding.

This has presented in my clients as: •constipation—an undigested and unspoken emotion revealing how unsafe he felt in expressing or feeling at all, •arthritis—a frozen armor at the back of her heart and down her arm showing her mistrust of love, •stalled menses—a common one in those afraid to be a woman or in shame of her “sins”, •and even ovarian cysts—a woman unwilling to receive life or to bring it into this scary world. •For me, it was a pain in my uterus— a pain that was there in the moments of trauma and that remained for years, holding me away from sexual pleasure and reminding me how “dirty” I was.

In all of these cases, the medicine was movement and voice. We each had to give the energy a place to go, to flow, and that meant physical movement like yoga, breath work, dance or even just a pleasant walk can help. But the most transformative action was to give the energy a voice.

Much like a nightmare from which we can’t awake, letting the frozen self scream or whimper or just breathe, allows her to finally move out from under the weight of her trauma. Sometimes it requires the guardian self to coax her voice through conversation, to let her know that she is safe now, that it is okay to be seen and heard, You are here and the nightmare is over.

And always in all ways, it was important to leave the light on for her— to keep an ear turned to that place in the body and be at the ready with the guardian’s lullaby. For any physical manifestation takes time to transform completely. Though the energy may shift immediately and some or all of the symptoms can vanish with it, sustaining the transformation requires patience and continued self-care. Nurture your body, treat it as your most precious child— feed her with love, bathe her with love, and gaze upon her with eyes of love.

And remember, your trauma self may not even trust you yet. After all, for how many years have you been blind and deaf to her, or even shamed her into hiding? So, yes, she may freeze in your embrace. That’s okay. You are listening to her and seeing her now. So keep cradling her stiff body, keep breathing into her racing heart. She will eventually soften to your touch and your voice, and tell you exactly what she needs. And... she will let you give it to her.

Resistance of the Trauma Self: Part 1
Resistance of the Trauma Self: Part 3: The Flight

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