I’ve been through some traumatic experiences in my childhood, as too many of us have, and one of the survival strategies for me was to freeze, to mentally escape from a painful situation. However, even though it was a life savior back then, it has created some problems in my adulthood.
Why am I telling you this?
Because this week an unexpected, yet supposedly positive, event triggered me into this freeze state again.
My former client, now a friend, raved about how marvelous I am as a coach in her insta stories, of which I should be grateful for. And I am. Don’t get me wrong.
But it also triggered me into a state of freeze, because being visible and seen meant danger in some situations in my childhood. And this one came completely out of the blue.
Usually, I suppose, this would be something you gladly and proudly share with others, yet in my freeze state I had hard time holding the phone in my hands. I just felt this intense need to mentally escape into reading a book or watching a movie or something that would take me away from experiencing the anxiousness.
It took a while for me to share them in my own stories, because I, also, felt ashamed and lame doing so, thinking what other people would think of me.
Again, you might ask why I’m sharing all this with you.
Because I want as many people as possible, especially entrepreneurs, who struggle with the survival strategies of freeze and fawn, to know that it’s ok!
That you can still succeed, and on your own terms, regardless of it!
The path may be very different compared to some others, but it’s nevertheless going to be just as successful, if not even more!
We all have created different kinds of survival strategies in our childhood. Some that still work for us and some that actually work against us now in the adulthood.
If life feels like a constant struggle, I suggest you get curious and educate yourself about your own survival strategies. This helps you to become aware of how they may affect your life. That’s how I got started in my path of healing.
One of the eye openers to me was Pete Walker’s book Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving and John Bradshaw’s book Healing the Shame that Binds You. Right now I’m listening to the newly published, Oprah Winfrey’s and Bruce D. Perry’s book What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing.
None of these may not be the easiest ones, but well worth it.
Cause one thing I’ve learned, above all, on this path is that it’s not possible to numb the bad feelings without numbing the good ones, too.
By numbing, I mean the everyday actions you take to avoid the feelings of fear, shame, uncertainty and anxiety.
Numbing the above mentioned feelings used to be my second nature and I did it by massively pulling back from life’s adventures.
Not going forward with my plans. Not keeping my promises to myself (to others, yes!! So much so that I’d forget about the promises I made to myself). I avoided the pain by any means possible, mostly with eloquent excuses made to myself (which of course were super handy, but not the whole truth).
The side effects of this kind of numbing were severe.
I was not able to feel the sense of belonging or connection. Neither to self, others or the higher power. Not trusting myself, or the world, to provide me what I needed. Not daring to dream, or even want something. Not being able to feel joy. Not feeling worthy.
I isolated myself from life and from others, just to avoid experiencing vulnerability and pain. I felt lost, frustrated and not enough. I was sure I needed to be a completely different person to have a good life, let alone thrive!
In other words, I was living in constant fear, feeling ashamed, uncertain and anxious. Just what I wanted to avoid in the first place!
I don’t want you to make the same mistakes.
If you recognize yourself in pulling back from life’s adventures that you’d actually like to experience, then I recommend, in addition to the books I mentioned above, the online mini-course I created for you to be able to see life from different viewpoints, gently facing your fears and the pain in order to strengthen your confidence muscles. It’s called The Confident Mindset and you can check it out by clicking here.
And do not hesitate to seek professional help and surround yourself with safe people you can have constructive conversations with.
You can do this!