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It's Not Your Fault You're Stuck: How to Break Free from Trauma Responses & Heal Trauma
Hello! I'm SO glad you're here! Take 10 minutes to watch the video below if you're feeling stuck in realtionships, a pattern of thinking or behavior, and are healing trauma or childhood trauma and to learn how to break free from trauma responses like self sabatoge or self abandonment! You have always been doing the best you can with what resources, information, support, and history that you have. . . and you can empower yourself to change and experience trauma healing! If you'd like to connect with me more, I send a few emails out a month sharing inspiring stories, tips, resources, exclusive content, and early/discounts on my offers in my newsletter. When you CLICK HERE to sign up, you'll also get my free guide on "TRUSTING YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA." Struggling with self trust, connecting with your own intuition, and self confidence are so common when we've experienced past trauma. These are also some of the most common concerns people who come to work with me share-that's why I created this free guide to support you. I'd love to hear what you think of the guide, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at: email@example.com With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW PS:Not sure if you want to jump on the email list yet? CLICK HERE to watch more of my youtube videos, or CLICK HERE to listen to season #1 of my podcast: The Change Coven.
Honoring Changing Seasons
You may not know, but I use tarot in my own daily spiritual and self care practice. I find the tarot supportive, particularly the cards known as the "Major Arcana" which take us on a journey of change. The cards take us on a journey which includes cycles of change. There is a wisdom in the cards that life works in a cyclical or spiralic way vs. a linear way. This helps anchor me in my unlearning from oppressive systems programming I (and I think if you grew up in a Western society, you likely have too) which includes the belief that life is supposed to be a linear journey ; whether it be financial, marriage, career, or personal development. The story of the major arcana in tarot says "nope! You're going to take a journey, learn lessons, and once you get to "the end" you begin again." Two cards which I find so much comfort in are the "Hanged One" and the "Death" card. I know this sounds strange if you're not familiar, but "hang" with me a minute! (ok, lame mom joke) These two cards can be symbolized by late autumn & winter (a metaphor used by my tarot teacher, Lindsay Mack). The "hanged one" is like a leaf barely hanging on the tree-already dying but not quite dead. It's the time when we sense relationships, jobs, living situations are coming to an end but it's not "the" end yet. This can be a time marked by the stages of grief (denial, depression, anger, sadness, bargaining, acceptance) as some part of us intuitively knows the end is coming, but may not feel ready to surrender. This card brings me comfort in dark times when I feel I'm just hanging on, that a situation or a job is coming to an end, and I want to beat up on myself for it or label it a "failure." And it's because I know what the "death" card or stage is REALLY about that I have hope. The death card is the leaves on the ground, cracking apart, fungi breaking them down, and composting. We can think of it as a necessary "winter season" in an area of our lives or relationships. What nature teaches us is that this process of death and decay is not only inevitable, it's also necessary to continue life . The compost of the last season's leaves become fertile soil for the next season's spring blooms. There's also examples in religions that have been taken literally or metaphorically to illustrate this important lesson. The physical death of Jesus, the spiritual "death to Self" that lead to Buddha's spiritual awakening. Both represent dying to our old selves, and coming alive anew. All these examples remind us that to grow we must let the old go-as scary, uncomfortable, and painful as it may be. Our nervous systems DEFINETELY don't like to let go of old "survival patterns" like overworking, people pleasing, controlling, settling, etc. that helped us survive our childhoods but are now no longer serving us. You may have a pattern or behavior that you can see is stubbornly hanging on-like that last leaf on a tree in November. While there is no way to make it less painful, there is a path forward in change. It starts with acceptance of what is, and a heaping dose of self compassion and appreciation for all the ways that this old pattern or behavior may have served you, kept you safe, loved, and protected in your past. Then the goal is to create safety in ourselves through nervous system regulation; and in our lives through boundaries and clear communication. The more safe our nervous system feels, the more likely it will become open to change. Wherever you are on your change journey, I'm sending you so much love and hope you can hold yourself with lots of self compassion vs judgement, tenderness vs shame, and curiosity vs fear. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW
Struggling in Relationships is an Outcome of Trauma
I specialize in helping folks that have a past history of trauma, emotional abuse or neglect, and that come from dysfunctional families date intentionally, learn and implement healthy relationship skills . I chose this focus because I believe that one of the worst things about having a tough childhood or having inherited trauma, because your parents/caregivers are survivors of some kind of trauma, is that our nervous systems and our attachment styles are negatively impacted. When we experience nervous system and attachment wounding, we often end up in relationships that are not aligned.
These relationships can include romantic, friendship, relationships with our careers, collages, even food and money. You didn't ask for a tough childhood or to inherit intergenerational trauma. And I think it really sucks that all of our relationships are often negatively impacted because of things out of our control as children. But alas, here we are-struggling in relationships because of our unhealed wounds, dysregulated nervous systems, insecure attachment styles, unhealthy relationship skills and patterns, and despite knowing that we want to change-finding it challenging to break free of old cycles keeping us stuck. Having a dysregulated nervous system (being in fight, flight, freeze, fawn, shut down) literally impairs how our BRAINS THINK. Dysregulation impacts our PERCEPTION, THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, and subsequently our actions. I have had many clients who realized they were "people pleasers" (the fawning trauma response) most of their adult lives and ended up with friends who took them for granted and in one-sided relationships. Having insecure attachment (anxious, avoidant, or disorganized attachment style) impacts what we look for in relationships, how we engage in relationships, how we handle conflict, and SO MUCH MORE. We can all grow towards SECURE attachment no matter how old we are! First by starting to create secure attachment within ourselves, then taking that into our relationships (to learn more attachment styles, download my free attachment styles guide HERE.) Many of us did not see healthy relationship skills like communication, boundaries, conflict management, difficult convos around parenting and finances, etc. growing up. It's almost impossible to learn these skills without education, modeling, and practice. This is where mentorship, a healing community, working with a coach or therapist is crucial. We need to surround ourselves with regulated, safe people who we can learn from! Without having this vital socialization growing up, we often don't "click" with people with healthy relationship skills and feel people who mirror our dysfunctional childhood "resonate" with us more. You deserve healthy, conscious, aligned, fulfilling, life-giving relationships. It's possible for you to heal and learn to create them! I'm here if you're ready for support, I'm accepting 2 new 1:1 clients to start in August. CLICK HERE for deets! With Compassion,
Cassandra Solano, MSW
Signs You May be Suffering From Untreated Emotional Wounds
Many of us don't think we had had a "tough childhood:" poverty, overt abuse, or other images of "childhood abuse" but we are still struggling with problematic behaviors and patterns, anxiety, depression, or other symptoms of CPTSD (chronic PTSD). Perhaps your your parents experienced trauma, or your parents are survivors of some kind of trauma, we end up carrying in us often what's called trauma responses, or what we might think of as character flaws or quirks or our own character challenges. Signs you may have "emotional wounds" from emotional abuse/neglect that are causing difficulty in your life might look like: being controlling, being rigid, being emotionally unavailable ourselves/others, or self sabotaging. But despite reading self help books, or even maybe knowing how to set boundaries, or speak up for yourself, it feels very, very challenging to implement the new pattern or the new behavior or to choose a different kind of partner. That is a really good clue that that the pattern is actually an ingrained trauma response. Something that your nervous system has adapted to in your brain has actually created connections called neuro pathways, that when you get stressed, automatically kick in, shove aside what you know you're supposed to do. I know some providers think we are overusing the word trauma, I feel like we under use it. A lot of us have experienced emotional trauma that haven't really realized it was emotional abuse or neglect. And are and or are carrying intergenerational trauma responses inside of us. And there's a lot of research to support this out there. It's worth re-examining our childhood experiences and our family's histories (if we can find out) and identify if any of the following behaviors were present in how we were raised (trigger warning): blatant gaslighting (you didn't see/hear/feel that), dismissing, minimizing, shaming, ignoring, teasing, manulipating, disapproving, withdrawing, withholding, scaring, intimidating, threatening, yelling, isolating, disappearing, abandoning, shifting blame, projecting, too ridged or not enough boundaries, parentification, exposure to age inappropriate info, age inappropriate expectations. What makes all of this more challenging is that we are brought up in families and society's that minimize emotional pain, ignore emotional trauma exists, and as I mentioned, gaslights our personal experience. IF YOU FEEL SOMETHING WAS TRAUMATIC, IT WAS FOR YOU. No one is in your body, living your experience, and there are so many variables as to what makes someone more susceptible to experiencing something as a traumatic experience. If you are wondering if you've gone through emotional abuse and neglect, CLICK HERE to watch a 20 minute video I did on this topic on IG this week. And to learn more about how childhood wounds are impacting your adult relationships, watch THIS VIDEO on YouTube (and subscribe while you're there!) I'll be blogging more regularly again-see you all soon!
Why It's Difficult for Trauma Survivors to Feel Good
As we are on our healing journey and recognize rest and slowing down, ease, serenity, and safety as possible for us and likely part of the goals we're growing towards, vs. overwhelm, feeling stuck and in survival mode. We start moving towards a more regulated, ventral, centered experience of life through regulating and resourcing our nervous system, through tending to our inner child, releasing wounds somatically, setting boundaries with ourselves and others so we can enjoy more ease, peace, spaciousness. And our nervous system can have a strong counter response to this progress. Because of the influences of systems that reinforce "hustle and grind" culture and even necessitate living in survival mode, coupled with our own individual and generational trauma histories, ease, flow, prioritizing ourselves, and setting boundaries have likely NOT served us until this point in our lives. In fact, people pleasing, hustling, never stopping to question what we want, what feels good for us, what is in alignment for us may have helped us receive love, attention, or even helped us survive systems from our families of origin to certain work environments. Healing means we become willing to release those formerly helpful patterns that are now keeping us stuck, stressed out and in overwhelm. . . and ultimately keeping us in mis-aligned relationships and in an inauthentic life. I'm not being dramatic friends. . . this is literally life changing to understand and heal. Even when we’re aware of our past traumas and how harmful “hustle and grind” culture is, we can have a hard time letting go of that programming and regulating & resourcing our nervous systems to live in a more restful, peaceful, easeful way. As I work with my clients to deprogram, support their nervous systems, and set boundaries to decrease overwhelm and toxic situationships, they create more space, flow, and calm in their lives. They feel more in control of themselves and their lives. They feel more intentional in their choices. They smile and cry and say they’ve never felt so happy, relaxed, and aware. I have clients who leave soul sucking jobs, set boundaries with or leave toxic relationships, who learn to put their self care as a priority and step into their worthiness. . . and after all this hard work they sometimes feel worse not better for a short time. This is because their protector parts come pushing back harder with messages like “this won’t last” “you SHOULD be doing more!” “How dare you put yourself first/say no to your MOTHER,” etc. It makes sense that we can be uneasy in ease. So if you're just becoming aware that hustle and grind, overachieving, being the "busiest" and doing "the most" isn't serving you, I celebrate you!! If you are trying to slow down and embrace more rest, play, delight, softness, and presence and finding it difficult- it's just your brain doing it's #1 job: to keep you ALIVE with it's motto "this (pattern/behavior/etc) has kept you alive this long, why stop?!" Your body is doing what it thinks it needs to do to survive by that internal impulse to keep moving-to people please-to never stop. . . And part of healing is learning to tune in. To discern. To honor our protective parts and show them it’s safe to rest. To notice when that impulse of reactivity arises and temper it with somatic tools. Remember healing is two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back (repeat forever lol!) As trauma survivors we're really good at handing crisis. Now as we need to build our capacity to rest. Rest is our birthright and for so many of (women & femmes, BIPOC) it hasn't been safe to, or we haven't been allowed to or had access to, rest. So let's start by moving a little slower, relaxing our muscles in our body as we're able to, prioritizing ourselves in some small way, saying no/setting an accessible boundary that's "low risk" (like saying NO to the waiter who tries to refill your coffee after you've already said you're done) to start to show our nervous system that stillness, self care, and slowing down is safe. Or as an old Buddhist teaching says, just be present with washing one dish (or whatever is right in front of you to do). I used to practice mindful walking when I would walk down one hallway in my home by noticing my feet on the floor, checking in with my body, and giving myself permission to take 3 more seconds to walk that hallway slowly. Can you even take up 3 more seconds of space in your life? Notice how that question lands in your body. You deserve all the pleasure, joy, relaxation, and ease that's available to anybody else. If you're a trauma survivor I say you ESPECIALLY deserve to access these experiences that lead to you calling in conscious relationships and creating an intentional life. With Compassion,
Cassandra Solano, MSW PS: If you're ready for a highly supportive intimate and transformational experience to do the deep healing so you can craft the life you desire, I invite you to work with me as a 1:1 client in my 6 month program, RELATIONSHIP ALCHEMY . Click the link to learn more, fill out an interest for and let's get together for a 45 minute complimentary discovery call. And make sure to follow @thenapministry on instagram to support your hustle and grind deconditioning journey
what is the "process" of change?
When people used to say "trust the process" or it's "about the journey not the destination" I would literally CRINGE. First of all, I'm an Aries and I like to get things DONE. Secondly, in our Western Culture we don't celebrate the process, only the outcomes. The stories of struggles, starts and stops, and long roads to success are hardly normalized and an occasional inspirational story in our social media feeds. So when I learned about Motivational Interviewing and the "Stages of Change" model in college, it rocked my world. I finally began to understand what the process of change is, that change happens LONG before any external, visible, or measurable outcome, and that it's not a linear process. Initially developed for substance abuse treatment, these stages can be applied to any kind of change you're trying to make in life. Please note these are not linear, that we can be at different stages in different areas of our lives, and that there are things we can do to intentionally progress ourselves through change. The stages are: precontemplative, contemplative, preparation, action, maintenance, recycle. Precontemplative "What's the Problem?" In this stage a person is "problem unaware." There may or may not be measurable consequences, a visible pattern of less than optimal functioning, people in their lives trying to point out the problem. . . but a person does not perceive the pattern or behavior as problematic. Contemplative "This may need to change" In this stage a something has happened externally and/or internally to lead a person to become aware that there is a problem with their behaviors, patterns, approaches, lifestyle choices, etc. The person is aware the current way of being is not serving them but unsure what to do. Preparation "What Can I Do About It?"
In this stage a person is actively researching what to do about the issue. They may be googling the problem, getting on reddit, IG, Tik Tok, reading self help books, etc. of experts or other people who have overcome the problem to gain more understanding and make a plan. Action Doing the thing In this stage a person is starting therapy, seeing their doctor, enrolling in college, setting boundaries, going to a self help group, (for example) and has initiated the actual steps & implementation it ACTUALLY takes to change. The person may be starting to envision themselves as someone who lives without the problem and has hope. Maintenance Keep on Growing In this stage a person is continuing to take action in maintaining the change. They may have changed external situations, routines, lifestyle, support systems, etc. to assist the change. They have internalized a new identity as a survivor, healing, a warrior; or more specifically a college student, someone in healthy relationships, a vegan, etc. What's needed for maintenance evolves over time. Recycle/Relapse/Spiralic Healing New Lessons Most of us will "relapse" when making change and will do so many times; whether it be people pleasing, getting out of unhealthy relationships, letting go of food substances that we're not in a healthy relationship with, etc. We may cycle back to any of the prior stages. This does not mean we've failed. In a spiralic healing mentality these moments become lessons to grow from, integrate, and deepen our healing journey. I help clients who have been in preparation for awhile and are ready to step into action; or may have been in action (going to therapy, reading self help books, etc) for YEARS but haven't been able to make the changes in their relationships & lives they're hoping for. If you're ready for a deep level of support-reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org And if you want more on the stages of change, check out this full workshop HERE! Thanks for checking out my blog today. Sending you lots of love and compassion for wherever you are in your healing journey! Warmly,
Cassandra Solano, MSW
Our Culture Harms Us
Watch this video to understand more deeply how systems of oppression and harm such as the patriarchy, capitalism, racism and more profoundly impact the lives of women and femmes (especially of color) from our relationship to ourselves, others, what we accept and believe we are worthy of, our mental health, and more. (video originally recorded for a workshop in my now on hold online membership). Want to watch part two with more info, actionable steps and more reflection questions? Fill out your info below to get instant access to the rest of this workshop!
We Connect to What We Know: Healing Attachment Wounds
Attachment Wounds are often under recognized because they can come from emotional trauma. And our culture continues to minimize or deny the reality and impact of trauma. Just look at the GOP representatives attacked at the capital who turned around and denied any impact on themselves and even mocked other colleagues for sharing they felt emotionally impacted by the attack. Research in neuroscience over the last decade has shown over and over that emotional traumas impact our nervous system & brain development much like physical traumas. If you're a believer in science like me, you'll be relieved to hear that there is evidence proving you aren't "broken" or "messed up" or "crazy" if you're struggling because of past emotional wounds. And these past wounds impact our relationships in profound ways. If you've been following me for awhile, you know that your past wounds are impacting your relationships. If you're new around these parts, welcome. And FYI: your past wounds including childhood emotional neglect are impacting your relationships. We call emotional injuries impacting our ability to have healthy relationships attachment wounds. It is ok to say simply "this is how I was raised impacted my brain and nervous system development, this is how what I saw about relationships growing up and how I was treated shaped my ideas about relationships and the skill level I came into adulthood with" you are stating facts. I'm not into the let's "blame mom and dad" game. That keeps us from moving forward. But we have to recognize the impact the quality (or lack of) caregiving we received had on us. What the attachment research also shows us is that if we didn't have healthy relationships, attunement (feeling seen, felt, and heard), and nurturing as a child (or didn't get it consistently or often enough) as adults we: wont recognize it, won't resonate with it, and can have difficulty "taking it in." To put it another way: if you didn't experience secure attachment as a kid, it's easy to miss or reject the opportunity for a securely attached relationship as an adult. This can explain why we're attracted to the "wrong" type of person for us, it's what we connect with on some level. The neuroscience research says what wasn't "mirrored and contained" for you can't stick . For example, if you fell and were hurt, crying in pain, and your adult caregiver told you to "stop crying/suck it up/I'll give you something to cry about/etc" instead of "you're really hurt/you have an owie/I would cry too/I see your cut let's get you a band aid but first lets give you a hug to calm down" as an adult, someone reflecting your experience, holding space for you, showing empathy and responsiveness, may feel uncomfortable. It may be so uncomfortable you dismiss them or push the help or the person away. This can lead to us unconsciously "filtering out" healthy relationships and hanging onto ones that in some way reflect the wounding left by our caregivers. And the difficulty is, we often don't know what's missing until we start on this journey of self reflection. We can learn to identify how our attachment wounds impacted us. We can identify parts of ourselves and reclaim our wholeness. Often in finding these missing parts of ourselves we begin to live more authentic lives, find and ACCEPT healthier relationships into our lives. To help you in your journey, I've created a free guide for you to help you get clearer on your attachment wounds & to start living from a more whole, authentic place. CLICK HERE to get the guide "Reclaiming Ourselves" This guide is for you regardless of your attachment style! Don't forget to grab the guide here! With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW
What is a Secure Base and How Having One Can Change Your Life
Attachment is how we connect and relate to other people. It is influenced by how we were raised, and the quality of the caregiving that we received by our parents or caregivers growing up. It shapes our brains, our nervous systems, it also influences our the relational patterns that we see. These experiences influence who we choose to be in relationship with when we grow up, how we show up in our relationships, and even the pattern of relationships we find ourselves in. Attachment is not just something that we think about with romantic relationships, but also with friendships, with our relationships with our career, business, money, etc. It's important to share attachment styles are not a diagnosis and they're not fixed. They can also change over the course of life and look different in different types of relationships. For example, I tend to lean more anxiously attached in my romantic relationships, and more avoidant attached in my friendships or in my relationship with money. It took me a long time to start checking my bank account in my adult life on a more regular basis. The good news is that we can all heal and grow towards the healthy attachment style, which is secure. What shapes our attachment is the quality of attunement that we received growing up. So attunement is how we were seen, felt and heard growing up. A ttunement is also how responsive our caregivers were to us, (did they come when we cried? did they give us a band aid for our boo-boos? did they feed us when we were hungry?), the appropriateness of their responsiveness (did they scream at us or silence us or hold space for our feelings) and the consistency or lack thereof, of responding to our needs. The quality of attunement shapes our brains, it shapes our nervous systems, and how we look at behavioral and relationship patterns. The research shows that a parent only needs to respond to a child's bid for attention or for connection, about 30% of the time for that child to grow up with secure attachment. So you didn't need to have perfect parents or you don't need to be a perfect parent or caregiver yourself. However, the research also shows that only about 20 to 30% of people entering adulthood have a secure attachment. So we have a lot of work to do as a society and supporting our parents and caregivers more in raising children. A core tenet of attachment theory is this idea of a secure base , that when you have an adult or a caregiver who is attuned to you it provided you a safe place to explore the world from and come back and be nourished and resourced from. To illustrate: Imagine you're walking out the park and you go by a playground, and you see three sets of adults and children come to play. In the first set, the caregiver arrives, and the child clings, is crying and grabbing on their caregiver and doesn't want to let go. In the second pair, the caregiver and child arrive, and the child takes off like a jet, running all over the place, even running far away. Finally in the third pair, the child may be hesitant to go out and explore the playground, but eventually is able to go out with the parent a few times. But then the child gains confidence and can explore on their own (I'm using a kiddo about 5 years old in this example who does not need constant adult supervision at a playground). The child might explore the little Playhouse close by and then run back to the parent and get a hug. And then the child might go and explore at the little jungle gym, and then run back to the parent get a hug. And then the child might go to the slide and shout, "hey look at me look at me, and go down the slide." There are three different scenarios here. The first scenario is an example of a anxious attachment, where the child doesn't feel safe to let go of the adult, because maybe they aren't sure that they're going to be there when they come back from the playground. The second example is a is an example of an avoidant attachment, where the child just runs off without the caregiver because they don't feel that the caregiver is that secure base is paying attention to them, is maybe checked out or on their phone. And then the third example is actually an example of secure attachment, where we may feel a little scared. But then we also feel safe to go out and explore and to take risks. And the child will like keep bringing back to the parent for like the hug, or to check in and kind of get their batteries charged back up. So they can emerge back into the world or back onto the playground, and explore, take risks and try new things. In our adult relationships this can look like having secure attachments that nourish and fuel us so we can take risks, try new things, expand our horizons, and feel free to develop into our most authentic selves. You may be realizing you haven't had a secure base. I often suggest and work with clients to help them first establishing that secure base between their adult self and their inner child. We can also identify places, people, and communities that can also serve as a secure base. What does your inner child need from your adult self to feel seen, felt and heard? What's even one small action you can take to show your inner child that you are here to nurture them, pay attention to them, provide safety for them? Ideas can include: boundary setting (with ourselves and others), cultivating a mindfulness practice so we can get more in touch with our bodies and care for ourselves better, journaling to and then from your inner child, engaging in positive self talk, and more. If you'd like to dive deeper into healing attachment wounds grab a free guide I created. CLICK HERE to grab it! Until next time take care, Cassandra Solano, LCSW
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Should I stay or should I go... It's a question that so many people ask themselves at some point in their relationships. Has too much happened? Is healing still possible? Your childhood experiences shaped who you are today, and your past traumas affect why you enter into certain relationships, so determining the answer always involves getting more clarity around yourself. You need a clear understanding of what is going on with your partner and yourself outside of your relationship, and then you'll need to look at the relationship as a whole. But this can only be done once you've done the work to process your emotions and heal. CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Once you're able to view the relationship with clarity, then you can make an informed decision. I would love to help you heal and get that clarity. In the Head and Heart Community , a safe, trauma-informed space for those ready to heal, there is a new workshop every month, along with monthly Q&A sessions to help you get the support you need on your healing journey. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!
Why is Healing Childhood Wounds So Important?
How we were cared for shapes our nervous system and the subconscious part of our minds. It is in this way that our childhood wounds are still able to influence our lives today. If we were not cared for enough as children, we may look for someone today who is able to provide for us, even if, for example, they are unfaithful. So why is that? Because the unmet need is more important. Healing those wounds is so important to move forward. CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
But there is hope. In identifying and healing these past wounds, you can unlock healthy relationships in your life today. I'd love to invite you to check out the Head and Heart Community , a safe, trauma-informed space for those ready to heal. There is a new workshop every month, along with monthly Q&A sessions to help you get the support you need on your healing journey. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!
3 Common Blocks to Intimacy
Hi There! Whether you're single or in a relationship, emotional intimacy can be a challenge. You may be in a relationship and feeling disconnected. Or you may be single and having a hard time imagining yourself having a relationship where you feel emotional intimacy; or finding someone who can provide that for you. What is emotional intimacy? It's feeling safe, seen, and connected with our partners. In this safety we can bring our secrets, we can trust, we can give feedback and disagree. When we're seen we feel empathy from our partners, we feel understood, not judged, and have our thoughts and experiences mirrored back to us. When we feel connected with our partners we are holding space for each other, we are present, and even if we or they are upset, we know that connection is still there. Emotional intimacy comes from having what attachment theory calls "secure attachment." This means you know that your partner will be there for you (reliability & consistency), there's mutual vulnerability, fun and play, and reciprocity (give and take). There's many reasons why we can feel emotionally blocked with our loved ones. Attachment wounds, emotional neglect, not having the nurturing and attention we needed, past relationships gone badly are just a few examples of what's keeping us blocked. I'm going to break down a few of these for you today. (keep reading for 3 blocks to intimacy) #1: We aren't feeling safe. When we aren't feeling safe, we first need to distinguish between actual threat and danger vs. our own past wounds that could have led to feeling not safe, regardless of actual lack of danger. This is also known as having a "hypervigilant" response and is a symptom of PTSD. Action step: write down what actually may have led to feeling unsafe or distrusting. There may be legitimate reasons you don't feel safe in a relationship or that you can let your guard down. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, this is called "reality testing." If after you write down your list you're finding no actual reason to feel unsafe in a situation, it may be past wounding that needs to heal. #2: We aren't asking for what we want and need There's a saying I like that "expectations are premeditated resentments." There's nothing wrong with having expectations or standards, but when we aren't verbalizing them, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and disconnection. To be frank, we can't be irritated or feeling let down by someone and want to be intimate. Action step: Write out your expectations of your partner/future partner in a relationship. Have you clearly articulated these in a kind and direct way? Most of my clients are not communicating clearly (or at all) about their wants, needs, and desires in relationships. #3: We have difficulty receiving Emotional intimacy means there's reciprocity, or give and take. Not just who does the dishes, but an emotional, caretaking give and take. If you were parentified, had to grow up too soon, or had some other experience where parent-child boundaries weren't upheld, you may have difficulty allowing yourself to let people in. Action step: Be curious about your relationship with receiving. Do you feel safe to allow others in? To let others help you? To even let a date buy dinner? What comes up for you when you think about letting yourself receive more? Identify one area of your life where you can let yourself receive more: connection, support, money, help, etc. and take one small step towards healing your relationship with receiving. I hope if you identify with any of these common blocks that you find the tips I've included here useful!
And if you're ready to go deeper in healing your past wounds keeping you stuck in love, reach out to me! I currently have one opening for a new 1:1 client in my deep dive 1:1 Four month program, "Thrive in Love" details HERE. Sending you so much love, Cassandra Solano, LCSW