Ch. 8 & 9: Ego Stories + Trauma Bonds

…”The damn dishes!”

Have you ever been triggered by something like a pile of dirty dishes? I certainly have. Periodically when I walk through our garage my nervous system responds to the clutter and mess by sending me into FIGHT….like literally I want to fight someone or just throw everything out on the driveway with a sign that says “FREE”. Sam calls me “Slash-And-Burn-Chrissy” when I get in these moods. Truth be told I often project the chaotic feeling inside me onto my family when triggered by the mess in the garage…. while reading chapter 8, I connected many dots… sometimes I feel like my husband doesn’t listen to me because he doesn’t value being “organized” like me. This of course isn’t true, Sam values organization he just has different priorities and isn’t intentionally tying to ignore me. Add social media competition to this trigger and you have an all out fight ladies and gentlemen! The Pinterest claws come out fueled by competition and comparison and my ego is screaming “If we only have a She Shed  we would be happy!” I know it sounds so dumb when I write it out ha ha, but inside when my egoic cycle is activated it feels like life or death.Ch. 8 & 9: Ego Stories + Trauma Bonds

Did you meet your ego in this chapter too?

The ego loves to compare and tell stories of how we aren’t measuring ; it does this in order to keep us safe… it’s such an oxymoron or a mind F@#$ too put it in other words. But the ego is just doing its job; the ego’s job is to protect the inner child by keeping us stuck in familiar narratives because they are predictable.

The ego does not like the unknown.

The unknown asks us to be flexible with what comes our way and the ego can’t be flexible and protect the inner child at the same time so it builds up an inflexible protector. The inner child is soft and defenseless because the inner child is looking to feel accepted or known. We enter into an egoic state for many different reason, one being when our opinions are challenged or when the core self is threatened.

Anxiety and the ego:

On page 144 Dr. LePera writes about the ego in its reactive state. Many of her examples reminded me of the cycle of anxiety. I had to ask myself while reading, ‘is it my anxiety that triggers my ego or my ego that triggers my anxiety?” Needless to say anxiety can be cyclical and when the ego gets involved it creates a homeostasis in our brains to stay activated.

The Ultimate Goal:

Doing the work to not kill my ego but witness it without judgment has been a huge healing moment in my life. When I witness my ego I’m able to see my inner child. I can connect with her and soothe her by witnessing when my ego is triggered. When my ego “Katie” comes out I know she is trying to protect “little Chrissy” because something feels out of control or triggers feelings of un-worth. Doing the work allows us to show up for our inner child and give them what they need without needing to be right or wrong. We can simple be.

Ch. 8 Journal Questions:

  1. What is one “ego story” you tell yourself?
  2. What “ego beliefs” do you hold and what lived experiences are connected to these?
  3. How does your ego protect your inner child? For example my inner child loves to be seen and heard because I often felt overshadowed by my brother growing up. Anytime I feel like someone thinks I’m vain or attention-seeking my ego steps up with boxing gloves on ready to protect my inner child from feeling bad for wanting to be seen. 
  4. Do you notice any anxiety cycles in your own psyche that could be linked to your egoic state? For example, I’ve noticed my ego loves extreme competition and at times when I feel threatened by another’s success my anxiety is triggered and I go into hyperdrive striving mode. 
  5. Has anyone invalidated your reality in order to maintain their power or control?
  6. How will you stay committed to witnessing your ego?
  7. What are some new narratives you can tell your ego when it’s activated?
  8. What did you name your ego and why? I named mine Katie after a childhood frenemie that constantly activated my ego ha ha. Katie was my friend in 5th grade who matured a lot faster than me. I often felt like I was not good enough around her. I stopped playing with dolls, got interested in bras and boys because Katie told me that’s what were were supposed to do in 5th grade. This tells me far more about myself than about Kate. 😉 I was looking to belong and my ego gravitated towards anyone who would tell me how to fit in. 

 

Ch. 9 Trauma Bonds

Anyone else ride the “cortisol coaster”?! I have ridden this ride several times? In fact I can now see it so clearly how I’ve created conflict in my marriage in order to “feel” or be “seen”. We do this at times because we are used to these types of bonds that remind us consciously or unconsciously of childhood. However since I’ve started doing this work with my partner we both notice when we stir things up in order to feel or when our inner child is screaming for attention. This has helped us exit the cortisol coaster faster and instead of bonding over our trauma we our individual needs first then meet each other’s needs and attach in a healthy way.

Ch. 9 Journal Questions:

  1. Have you ever doubted your reality so much that you believed someone else’s in order to feel safe?
  2. What does your cortisol coaster look like?
  3. What was your attachment like with your primary caregivers?
  4. How does your authentic self view your relationship dynamics today?
  5. Who have you trauma-bonded with?
  6. How have you ever betrayed yourself in order to preserve a relationship?
  7. Have you ever been addicted to an emotional feeling good or bad? If so name the emotion and the cycle it creates in your life.
  8. Trauma bonding is a process that has to be “unlearned”… how will you unlearn from your trauma?
  9. What trauma bond archetype resonated with you most: Having a parent who denies your reality, having a parent who does not see or hear you, having a parent who vicariously lives through you or molds and shapes you, having a parent who does not model boundaries, having a parent who is over focused on appearance, or having a parent who cannot regulate their emotions?
  10. How does your body feel around the people that activate you ego or trauma? Pay attention to this and read chapter 10 to learn how to put up boundaries.
  11. What are some ways you numb out?
  12. When do you most feel emotionally abandoned?
  13. Trauma bonds are lessons to be learned or teachers that allow us to see what we authentically want in life. How can you learn from your trauma bonds and become more authentically YOU?

 

With hope and healing,

Chrissy

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