Although emotions need to flow and to be expressed during moments when it is appropriate; they are often inhibited and denied the chance to be expressed. Now, there will always be times in ones life when it is not appropriate to express them and yet when one is in a different environment, it will be important that they are released and the emotional flow can return.
However, while the above is the ideal, it doesn’t always take place. And as a result of this, emotions will start to build up in one’s body. One may not feel that it is safe to express their emotions as an adult and this could have been an outlook that they had since they were a child.
And so as they have never been allowed to be expressed and released, they had nowhere else to go. One could now have a body that is completely filled with emotions.
As an adult there are all kinds of emotionally charged and traumatic situations that one could have been through. This could relate to the loss of a: family member, friend, lover or a pet for instance. Or perhaps it was another kind of loss that related to: a job, business project or the ending of a relationship.
And while any of these can create extreme pain and suffering, it doesn’t mean that this pain and suffering will be dealt with in a healthy way. One could have avoided the emotional experience that they had and the body then had to pay the price.
When this happens, one can forget how they felt, that’s if they even knew, and completely lose touch with their emotions. So the mind can then come to conclude that they no longer exist and naively believe that that’s the end of it.
So even though ones adult years do play a big part in whether or not emotions become trapped in one’s body, there is also another time that can be even more important. And these are the childhood years and this is a time when one is more dependent on others.
This means that the type of caregivers one had and the other people that were around during this time will typically define whether one felt safe to express their emotions or not.
Type Of Care
How aware ones caregivers were will often define the type of care that they received. If one was brought up by a caregiver who was primarily empathic, emotionally available and in tune; then there would have been less of a need to deny or hide how one felt as a child.
But if one was brought up by caregivers who were unempathic, emotionally unavailable and out of tune; then there is a higher chance that one would have had to hide and deny what was going on emotionally.
And in some cases, this could have been due to one being verbally, sexually, emotionally or physically abused as a child. In each of these cases, one would have had to detach from how they felt (their body) and these feelings and emotions would have ended up staying in their body.
However, while moments of extreme abuse can be a factor here, it could also have been a consequence of situations that were fairly subtle and pain free. Here, one may have just had situation after situation that was mildly frustrating and disempowering.
And at the time, they didn’t cause too much pain, but as these experiences accumulated they became a problem. So at first they could be overlooked and forgotten about, but after a while they completely took.
As A Baby
While remembering what happened as a child can be tough and sometimes even impossible to do, it can be even hard to get a sense of how one felt as a baby. But even though one may not be able to remember what happened during these very early years, it doesn’t mean that they are not important.
As one was so undeveloped at this time, if one was brought up by a caregiver that was emotionally unavailable and out on of tune, then ones emotions would have had nowhere to go. The body would then have to absorb these motions and carry the emotional weight.
So above are a few examples of what can lead to trapped emotions. One thing is certain here, and that is that the body is going to feel tight, tense and weighed down. The emotions and feelings that can become trapped in the body include: hopelessness, powerlessness, shame, guilt, anger, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, despair, grief, rage, resentment, fear, anxiety, loss and panic.
Suicidal feelings can also be trapped in the body; as if no one is around to regulate a Childs emotions, it can feel like the end of the world. This is because a child hasn’t got the ability to regulate their emotions and so they are overwhelming. And wanting to die is then a normal response to being emotionally abandoned.
And when these emotions and feelings have become trapped in the body, it can lead to all kinds of consequences arising. Ones behaviour can be defined by them and the people that one attracts and is attracted to can all be the result of what’s going on in the body. Feeling empowered and having self control can be more or less impossible.
Reactive, violent and abusive behaviour is inevitable if one has got a lot of trapped emotions in their body. So is the feeling that one has become emotionally stuck and has not grown up. Having no energy and feeling depressed, addicted and obsessed can be consequences. Health problems can also arise.
Intimacy And Boundaries
If one has a lot of trapped emotions in their body it can make it extremely difficult to experience intimacy. And this is because emotions such as rejection, loss and abandonment can build up in the chest; as well as the fear of getting to close to another in the stomach area.
Having strong and functional boundaries is not going to be possible if one has all these emotions built up. Being enmeshed or dependent on another can seem normal and one can feel that they have no control over their body.
This is one reason why positive thinking and changing the minds thoughts or beliefs doesn’t always work. For if one has all these emotions trapped in their body, changing what’s going on in the mind is going to do very little. All it may do is create more frustration, anger and a sense that one has no control over their reality.
It would be like one changing the icing on a cake and expecting the cake itself to change. If the cake is a fruit cake, changing the icing won’t make it a sponge cake.
These emotions that have become trapped in the body will need to be released. And this can be done with the assistance of a therapist or a healer. Here they will allow one to get in touch with their feelings and release them. How long it will take can depend on how much of an emotional build up one has.
When this starts to happen one will be able to experience self control and perhaps this will be something that has never been experienced before. The need to control others will start to diminish as a result.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.