Shelley* is seeing Dan (again). She has been with Dan for most of the last seventeen years; in fact, Shelley has been married to Dan twice in that time, and both times, it was a disaster. Both times, she got out, and yet Shelley continues to return to Dan, even though she knows what a mistake it is. It’s almost as if she can’t help it; Shelley says that she feels as if she is a bird mesmerized by her reflection in the glass, and she continues being drawn back to him even though she knows disaster is looming ahead, and even though she hates it.
What is going on? Why can't Shelley get over Dan?
The Sticky, Seductive Trap of Trauma-drama
Shelley is caught in a vortex in her relationship with Dan. It’s almost as if they have a mutually reinforcing compulsion; an addiction really, that draws Shelley back into the relationship, almost as if she has no choice. A vortex like this can show up in countless ways in relationships. Whatever the details, when you are caught in one, it can feel as mesmerizing and powerful as a whirlpool; you can see it from afar, but you still get drawn into it.
This vortex is what I call the Trap of Trauma-drama, and it is seductive. Trauma-drama is one of the most compelling, seductive negative forces in relationships, and one of the single most powerful, underlying reasons that can keep you stuck in your patterns of relationship pain, unable to get over and really end your last painful relationship, and move on with your life.
Why is Trauma-drama so Powerfully Seductive?
Like addictions, there is frequently a bio-chemical link; your body’s chemistry draws you into it. This can be in your brain chemistry and neurotransmitters, and it can also be through actual addiction to powerful negative emotions, such as anger, rage, conflict, depression, guilt, shame, etc. When you have these bio-chemical connections active in your Energy Signature and mind-body, you emit a powerful attractor field, which draws to you those who will participate with you in creating the experiences you “need” to fulfill your craving for those powerful negative emotions.[i]
All of this is often unconscious at first; Shelley didn’t know this in the beginning, before she started her Happily Ever After program.
Second, trauma-drama is powerfully seductive because of unfinished trauma in your past. Whenever you have trapped, unhealed painful experiences buried within you, you have a potential walking time bomb inside yourself. It can go off any moment it is triggered, and that is exactly what happens. Trauma can become trapped inside of you any time you have an experience that feels threatening to your basic safety and/or survival. Rather than processing and releasing that experience through your natural, inborn mechanisms, (such as your REM sleep), the experience becomes frozen deep within your memory and your body. Anytime you have an experience that you feel and perceive to be at all similar, this trauma memory is triggered, and you react from that felt-space of past trauma. This is important to understand: in the moment of experiencing the trigger, you go back to that earlier time-space-emotional state, to feeling as that person you were when the painful, traumatic event happened, and you react from the past.
Unfinished trapped trauma caught inside of you also creates a powerful attractor field, which you also emit through your Energy Signature. This attractor field also draws to you people and situations that will evoke it again. Trapped trauma-drama continues to function this way, until it is released, finished and healed from your body-mind and your Energy Signature.
This is the gift and the higher purpose of trapped trauma. Re-experiencing it provides the vehicle for blessed healing and release, renewal and new beginnings. To heal, we have to feel it. Re-experiencing the emotions we felt when the trauma first happened, is our invitation and opening to do the Inner Work of healing.
Third, trapped trauma-drama can be handed down to you by your past generations. No kidding. This happens in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, including:
The family emotional-social culture you were raised in. Everyone can identify elements of their family culture from when they were growing up. It shows up in daily experiences, such as the way you butter your bread, the beliefs and values you hold about yourself, life, and the way the world works for you. Our beliefs about women, men, gender, who does what in a family, safety, money, etc, are also strongly influenced by family culture.
Prenatally. No kidding. There is amazing evidence that shows that unborn children learn and respond much more than previously thought. Even in the earliest stages of pregnancy, babies learn and respond to their parents, and other significant people in their families. Unborn babies also respond to stress and pain their mothers experience during pregnancy. Their growth and development is impacted and can become skewed. This happens not just physically, as in the case of children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FES), but also in the case of emotional stress. In fact, chronic emotional stress and distress is the most difficult for the unborn, and frequently has a very significant impact. [ii]
Unfinished trapped trauma experienced by others in your previous generations can be passed on to you. This is especially so in the age in which we live. You may have heard the phrase, “the wounded child of wounded parents”. This includes more than physical wounds, this also includes emotional, mental, spiritual and relationship wounds as well. What’s more, it doesn’t matter if you ever knew these people or not. I have worked with hundreds of people with generational patterns, the origin of which goes back 10, 20 or more generations.
For example, the most crucial work for adoptees in healing often involves healing patterns they inherited from their biological family lines – in many cases, people they never knew, whose names they don’t know.
Truly, what we don’t finish, we do pass on.
There often is also a strong element of denial with trauma-drama. This is related to the addictive qualities and functioning. Women trapped in trauma-drama often believe the issues aren’t as bad as they sometimes look, or that they can handle them on their own, or that they just occurred on a fluke. This is classic addiction thinking.
With repetitions going around the trauma-drama trap, the bio-chemical, mind-body connections become reinforced, which reinforces it in your Energy Signature. When this happens, it is as if you have a super-highway within yourself, and just like when you get on a super highway, it can be difficult to get off. This is because the more you go through the trap of trauma-drama, the stronger the neuro-connections become, and the less you are able to make other choices. Your ability to choose differently becomes impaired. This is also how addiction works.
Perhaps most disturbing of all, even if you DO manage to move on from your ex, WITHOUT healing your underlying trauma, you will be VERY prone to attract someone else into your life for your next relationship who also evokes the trapped trauma-drama. The details may be different, but they will also feel horribly familiar. That is because the same trauma-drama is being evoked through your subsequent relationship! This is perhaps the most awful variation of all of the Relationship Roller Coaster, which I have written about previously.
"Sounds awful! Is there any hope for me?"
YES! THERE IS HOPE!
The gift in the trap of trauma-drama is in getting your attention. The Universe is set up such that you will keep repeating the same fundamental experience, over and over, to get your attention, and to give you opportunities to do something different - to begin to make new choices, even small ones, step by step. Step by step, you can begin to break free.
"How do I Break Free?"
You can begin with the following:
Listening to your family and friends when they express concern for you. Consider that they love you and have genuine concern for your welfare and happiness. Receive their love and concern, and give place for it to grow within you and help you open to seeing your trauma-drama cycle through their eyes.
Journaling the experiences you have in your relationship. Write down what happens; the emotions you feel, and what you do about it. For example, If, like Shelley, you go through cycles of breaking up and making up, look for the elements of the pattern. Begin looking for the patterns in your thoughts and feelings, especially noticing your strong emotional reactions.
Get specialized help to release and heal the trapped trauma at the root of your relationship problem. This is ultimately the solution that will set you free from the trap of trauma-drama, so you can move on with your life, and find a new, healthy love, that will make your heart sing with joy!
Trauma-drama may be preventing you from getting over your painful marriage, and getting on with your life.
Trauma-drama is seductive and addictive
Trauma-drama is serious and anchored in your bio-chemistry, trapped personal trauma, and generational patterns of trapped trauma
You can be freed from the Trap of Trauma-Drama
Most women need specialized help to break free.
Want to know what to do next?
If your Inner Knowing rings the bell of recognition for you, and you are ready to break free of the trap of trauma-drama, contact me about Happily Ever After. Through my specialized divorced women’s program, we specifically and powerfully find and resolve the trapped trauma-drama that keep women stuck, and unable to get over their ex. You can be freed from all those painful experiences and memories, and the repeating patterns of emotional and relationship pain. You can finally be able to attract a healthy partner and relationship, and co-create the marriage that will make your heart sing with joy, in the real world.
* Name and other identifying details have been changed to protect this client's privacy and confidentiality.