• Patricia A. DeYoung Quote

    Attachment trauma teaches us to feel profound shame.

    This shame may hide under a thin veneer of what we know on a cognitive, rational level.

    That does not mean that our bodies, our hearts, or our nervous systms have gotten the memo. That is why when we are triggered or having strong emotions we respond with what our nervous system believes, which is that we are shameful.

    Perfectionism is one strategy to try to cope with feelings of shame. It is the hope that a young child has that if they just finally do everything perfectly then they will be loved, or seen, or not hurt, or their parents won’t fight or that everything will be okay.

    This perfectionism can often itself lead to procrastination due to the very real realization that perfection is probably not achievable. Sometimes it’s not even a fear of not doing it perfectly, but simply a conviction it won’t be good enough, because that is what we learned in childhood. That nothing we did was ever good enough to be seen for who we really were, to be loved the way we needed, to not be hurt or violated or shamed.

    People pleasing is another such strategy. The thinking being that if we can just please people in the right way, if we can anticipate their every need, if we can keep things calm, then we will be loved, or taken care of, or accepted or served in the same way.

    And because this shame is held in the nervous system, and we sometimes know that we are not shameful, that traditional talk therapy does not work. Most of us can rationalize our way through to insight, but that does nothing to change the way our nervous system is wired.

    That’s why I am such a big believer in EMDR therapy and other therapies that get beyond simply talking things through and get to dealing with the body and how it’s stored our traumas.

    I believe that EMDR therapy can help people let go of the pain of their past, live more fully in the present and develop hope for the future. To learn more about EMDR therapy, or my practice, click the link in my bio.