Quotes from this episode
Being immobile is going to be a really big challenge for someone who has that freeze energy, especially if it’s triggered.
Being still requires that we’re immobile but we’re okay with it. We feel safety.
Physical intimacy kinda has elements of play and of stillness, right? And you can’t play and you can’t be still unless you have your safety pathways active.
No matter how we got to a traumatized state, we have to identify safety. We have to identify what brings us to safety, what safety feels like and to increase our capacity to stay in a safety state.
Confronting [traumas] head on can be helpful, but it also could easily be too much and be retraumatizing. I don’t recommend that, personally.
Regulation - it’s not a one-time thing… it’s an ongoing process. It’s not just for crises.
Don’t wait until the crisis to do some regulation. You need to do these things beforehand.
Work on your self-regulation before - before the crisis.
Hi Justin, I’ve been listening to your podcast for a long time now and am just coming into the realisation that I think I experienced csa (childhood sexual abuse). I think I’m in perpetual shutdown and hyper vigilance somehow. It feels like intimacy is sometimes impossible and other times I feel like a different person.. I wonder if you had any thoughts on how to regulate when a lot of what I’m remembering and putting together still makes me numb and unfeeling? I hope this isn’t too much to ask (I’m aware you can’t give in depth advice etc and I am seeing a psychotherapist at the moment). Thank you for all your work! Best wishes xx
Perpetual shutdown and hypervigilance
hypervigilance is a sx of freeze imo - flight/fight and freeze
Maybe a bit of coming out of shutdown
Panic element, possibly a rage
The pause in fear of a danger
Being stuck in this
The perpetual triggering of one’s rage
Perpetual shutdown makes sense due to the energy being frozen into the system
Common from sexual trauma
Immobilized while in flight/fight
One could also fluctuate between shutdown and freeze, depending on the context of who and where
Intimacy could be challenging
Due to immobilization as part of sexual intimacy potentially - if hypervigilant or panicky or rageful, we need movement, not immobilization
Sex can obviously be mobile, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cue of safety
Stillness requires safety to be stillness
Play requires safety to be play
Sex has elements of play and stillness
Sex might be unsafe due to familiarity of sexual abuse
The familiarity takes one out of their safety state, then vagal brake comes off
Memories make you feel numb and unfeeling
Definitely a shutdown flavor in numbness and lack of feeling
Not necessarily freeze
Common shutdown experience
Once these become reintegrated in some way, then the way we approach ____ will change
Holidays change after processing your grief for someone like a parent
Intimacy will be approached differently as well
Instead of being fearful, it might be more connected and shared and vulnerable
How to regulate through dysregulation?
BSA can be helpful in this
Identifying what brings you to safety
Confronting things head on can be helpful, but could also be too much and be retraumatizing
Just thinking about things and feeling them can be retraumatizing
Just sharing the story can be retraumatizing
So engaging in an act that is similar enough can be as well
Need to build safety first
Then address our past stuff, maybe that’s head on
Where I want to take this - We all want to have a sex life or a healthy sex life
I would encourage people to not sacrifice their well-being and their feelings of safety in an attempt to achieve that goal
The goal can still happen, but you might not be ready
A traumatized soldier may want to go to a shooting range, but the sounds might be too much and they are retraumatized
You need to find safety first
Regulation is not a one-time thing
Not something that you do as crisis arise
It’s a slow process of building your safety state
BSA can be helpful
Doing this a bit at a time is helpful
Gradual exposure, then work your way to your goal
My fear of heights
Gradual exposure to heights when I can
Recent experience of driving on cliffs and being okay
Ask yourself what is tolerable
Notice the feelings of that, then build