Resolving Traumatic Memories

Mandy Jane Lynch

Your Therapy Godmother - Counsellor / Coach / Hypnotherapist




Resolving Traumatic Memories

Traumatic memories you have live in the brain and are stored differently in the way that your usual memories are. Your usual memories can be filed neatly into your timeline of life stories; they all have a suitable place, time, and context to them, and they remain the same size and can be remembered with a positive emotion, feeling, thought or sense attached to them. For traumatic memories however they will stand out more and will not be as filed as neatly away on your timeline of life stories. This is because they have a negative emotion, feeling, thought or sense attached to them which can be triggered by your conscious.

For example: You have created a photo album of memories since your birth and all of them photos have been kept in date order and they have positive memories attached to them. However, you notice some photos are bigger, these are the traumatic memories you have and they have negative emotions attached to them. The negative experiences you endured at the time of the trauma have created these traumatic photos which are bigger. They may also be blurry or covered up in order to protect you from seeing their content. This is normally how your subconscious will protect your conscious from seeing them so that you are not hurt by them.

These traumatic memories/photos become lessons, decisions/core beliefs that we have now created. Our traumatic experiences only become trauma when our fight or flight senses try to protect us from a dangerous and frightening event, and it fails. For example: when a police officer sees a friend die and they can’t save them; when we want to run away but we are trapped; when someone holds you down and you cannot free yourself from underneath them; when a ceiling comes down over you and you are stuck. Your fight or flight survival instinct has failed, it jams and freezes at that time with all the emotions, feelings and senses within it and it becomes a traumatic memory in your photo album.

This means that nothing can be trusted in the same way. You now see most things as a threat. If you are traumatised, you become ‘hyper-vigilant and are now in constant watch for danger. This trauma will now live within your unconscious and your conscious brain will find it difficult to dig deep enough to touch or access it. You will not be able to stop the triggers from starting because they are emotionally charged from the subconscious and traumatised memory and unfortunately your conscious and logical brain cannot reach that far.

If you live with the trauma you will only be able to have a fraction of control of your symptoms (such as irritableness, anxiety, insomnia, high tension, etc.) and learn some techniques such as distractions, coping as a way of managing them. For example, You start breathing through a panic attack because someone has looked at you although you are unable to actually stop the panic attack from happening in the first place. Because you are constantly on high alert and looking out for danger it can be very exhausting as it doesn’t allow you time to rest. It can then start to affect your mind and body and you become constantly at its mercy. Therefore traumatic memory can be seen as a thick branch stuck in a stream of our life stories. These life stories can no longer flow forward as they did before the trauma.

To help your life stories (stream) to flow it is important to break down, resolve and remove the emotion attached to the traumatic memory (branches) that are stuck. I have a variety of different techniques that can assist you in breaking down, resolving, and removing the emotion from these branches such as: