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Pattern recognition

5 min read

I am beginning to understand how my trauma responses are mind-body patterns that get activated when triggered. It’s like pushing a time-machine button. All of a sudden, I feel all that I was feeling at the moment the wound was created. Becoming aware of all these mind-body patterns helps me to recognize them and see them for what they are.

Recently, I’ve been moving through the wound that instilled in me a sense of worthlessness. It’s a particularly ugly and complicated wound, and I’ve been tending to it with the utmost love and care. Being able to understand how my child self perceived the things that happened to her, and how she coped the best she could, allows me to respect her view on the world and love her without abandon no matter how she is reacting to the events in my life now. 

For me, the pattern of worthlessness = the feeling that I’m invisible, that I’m not worth being seen and heard, that my needs are not worth being met + a nauseating churning in my stomach area + unreasonable hunger + an overwhelming sadness that needs to be suppressed, because no one can know; it makes me want to hide.

It is only the mind-body pattern that changes never the practice. The formula for healing emotional wounds has been the same since I first was guided to it. We heal by feeling the pain while not identifying with it, by understanding that the feeling is the same as it was when the wound was created, but we are not. We are here now, and that is where we are choosing to remain anchored. I know this, I’ve done this over and over, yet interestingly, I have to rediscover it for every emotional wound I uncover.

The patterns are wired into our brains and bodies. And they only lose their grip on how we operate in the world when we learn to recognize how these patterns manifest in our lives. Because  when we become aware of how they feel and what they look like in our day to day life, we can choose to practice a different response. Instead of fighting, fleeing, fawning or freezing, we can choose to become a witness to the stress response, we can choose to breathe into the tightening of our bodies, create space around it, and eventually become the space in which the stress response is happening.

It is not about getting rid of the pattern. The pattern is a representation of a hurting past part of you. You would not want to erase a younger version of yourself, would you? I feel nothing but love for the Hermien that internalized worthlessness. Ideally, I don’t tell her to stop whining, I don’t force her when she is not ready. I don’t try to prove her wrong, I don’t get mad at her because the pattern is painful or very impractical. I simply love her, I know she is worthy of everything she needs and desires, and I know that she will make different choices once she feels unconditionally loved and safe.

Do I trip up? Yes, all the time. Do I get mad at myself? Sometimes. Do I forgive myself? Every single time. I know that I am doing the best I can. I may not be where I want to be, and that’s okay. It’s good to have an ideal to move toward. And for the first time in my life, I’m proud of myself. I’m really proud of the person I’ve become, and I am proud too of the person I’m becoming.

I know there will be a day when this pattern will have lost its power over me, and I will look back on it with benign indifference. I know that once it is healed, it no longer feels like my story. It’s a story I know like the back of my hand, but it could very easily be someone else’s story that I’ve heard a gazillion times. I am looking forward to the day that self-worth no longer is an issue to me, anticipating it with delight, but until that day has arrived, recognizing and being present to this pattern is how show myself that I am worthy.

If this resonated with you, then consider sharing it with someone who will love it too or could use it in their lives right now. And while you’re in the flow, you may want to subscribe to my newsletter as well. Biweekly, I will send you a letter, called three.word.wednesday. My intention, to inspire and inform. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you. Scout’s honor.

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