Listening is required for connection. An effect of trauma is disconnection from ourselves.
In this class we are supported in turning toward instead of away, listening instead of reacting or withdrawing, getting to know ourselves instead of “leaving the scene”. Deep listening will bring up fear and unconscious resistance. It will also open up authenticity and unconditional love.
To the extent that we’re shut down, numb or lashing out, we are not emotionally available to get to know and love ourselves or to feel safe enough to be vulnerable with other people.
When we’ve been hurt by people, it is natural to have defenses. Many people with unhealed trauma have trouble with social groups and in developing and maintaining strong personal relationships. We experience heightened vigilance and fight/ flight/ freeze reactions.
People who freeze or numb may use some of these strategies to treat their symptoms: experiencing emotions safely through tv, books or movies; and addiction to food, alcohol or other drugs.
People who tend toward fight reactions may use similar strategies but have more disruption in relationships due to lashing out with hurtful words or actions when they are emotionally flooded.
As children, we need to learn emotional self-regulation through co-regulation with emotionally mature and attuned adults. When our caregivers were stressed, traumatized, addicted or otherwise not capable of healthy parenting, our brain and nervous system experience a survival level threat.
As we grow up, we are susceptible to being manipulated in relationships and might be co-dependent. We have trouble with co-workers. Some people lash out at work or home when they feel triggered or hurt. We get fired or divorced. We’re cut off from or barely tolerated by our adult children. People who tend toward freeze live an unfulfilling half-life of missing the boat. We don’t allow people to know us and care about us and we are isolated and alone.
“Safety IS the treatment.” Dr Stephen Porges
To “fix” this, we need to experience that it is safe to be empathetically attuned to ourselves AND to gradually reach out to other safe people. As we heal and reconnect within, our window of tolerance naturally widens and we become more interested in and emotionally available to others.
There are many helpful tools and methods of learning how to connect effectively with people. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) “begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. Each of our actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.”
Deep listening and sharing from our heart are key. As we look through a trauma lens, we can understand the process of disconnection and the pathway to connection – first with ourselves and then with others. We must experience in our body and nervous system being empathetically attuned with ourselves and other people. We allow others to come close enough to “see” us and for us to “see” them. We become interested in our own inner world and kindness and trust begin to grow. From this we naturally reach out to other people.
Join me in this class and satisfy your longing for connection through the practice of deep listening.
We begin Sunday January 6th at 11AM Eastern and go through to the end of February. Cost is $79US. As always, the class is free for regulars in daily practice.