By Dr. Cathleen King, DPT
Do you know that experience of feeling trapped in an intense emotional rollercoaster ride that you cannot seem to get off?
Are you taken over by a part of you that sabotages what you really want through addiction, distraction, or overwhelm?
Do you hear yourself saying “I promised I wouldn’t let myself act this way again!” But here you are, once again being taken over by the vicious, addictive, wounded child self that is actually part of your “pain-body”.
What is the pain-body? I learned this idea from Eckart Tolle. I used to refer to it as my inner “saboteur”. It feels like a possession when it’s active. And it can be very hard to get separation from it once you are identified with it as you. Eckart Tolle describes the pain body has a kind of life form within you that is an energy that feeds off from emotional pain. It consists of past emotional pain that has not been fully accepted and released. This pain-body feeds off these emotional charges within for its survival. The negative behavior- negative emotional states is a type of self sustaining feeding loop to keep your pain body alive.
I want to offer some guidance on how I have learned to deal with the pain-body take-over cycle. First, I have learned to gain awareness of who I am, or my True Self, versus the thoughts and feelings of the pain-body within me. This process of awareness can be a source of great liberation, but often it’s found through the experience of tremendous suffering by being identified with who and what you are not.
I will describe how I have experienced the take-over of the pain body. The quick sequence looks like this:
A memory or trauma pathway is activated (someone or something triggered a memory structure from my past)
Pain-body “awakens” to hijack my conscious awareness. I become “it”= misidentification.
My mental focus predominates on emotions and thoughts generated through the lens of the pain-body identity. This is always from a lower vibrational consciousness and a perspective based from fear or protection.
I begin to produce strong emotions to match the original memory/trauma pathway, and ruminate on more painful thoughts/feelings that the pain-body neuropathway can “feed off”.
Pain-body gets stronger as I further identify with the emotions/experience and start to speak, behave, or believe this inner memory based experience as a true perspective of my current reality.
To summarize the pain body cycle:
1- Identity confusion because of memory activation
2- Generate emotions and perspectives based on the past and pain body identity
3- Pain body neuropathway gets “fed” off emotions and therefore stays alive and waits to be “fed” again at a later time to continue to stay alive. Looks for triggers and opportunities that match its associated trauma memory structure.
Why do we fall for this “take-over?” Usually this pain-body is activated when we have been triggered in a way that has a memory link to something painful in our past. So for example I’ll use a situation in a relationship where you perceive a threat of some form of abandonment by someone close to me. What happens is that threat has a similar emotional experience linked to a childhood trauma pattern where you may have had the real experience of a type of separation or abandonment. This current trigger becomes linked to the past and causes a limbic system (emotional-survival center) activation that is associated patterning of that childhood experience. Many people use the term that the “inner child” may have gotten activated. I see the inner child as an archetype but also a very real neuropathway in the brain and body. So the “inner child” is awake, but so is the pain-body association. Becoming aware of the difference between these two aspects of our psyche (the inner child part vs the pain-body memory structure) is key in order to break free from this “take over” cycle.
How do we differentiate which part of our emotional experience is our True Self versus the pain-body, which is not us and not representing our current reality? First let me describe what the True You is NOT.
The True Self is NOT the part of you that seeks emotional reprieve from
Conflict or dramatic outbursts
All of these above behaviors are provoked by the pain-body activation. They are not the ways our True Self responds when painful memories are provoked. Now I want to be clear about something- there is nothing wrong with being in pain or having needs or intense emotions. It’s how we relate to our pain and the ways we metabolize our emotions and how we are meeting our deeper emotional and spiritual needs that matters. These are not things we can solve with our thinking. But, with our hearts. Our True Self is the part of us aligned with our Higher Self and knows that what is needed is a new perspective on the past to unwire negative associations. This results in an opening of our own heart to the fragmented, cast out, wounded “inner parts” of us, without feeding the pain-body cycle.
The irony of this journey of True Self awareness is that you come to a point where you see there is nothing to fix. There is nothing wrong with YOU. There is only resistance and sabotage patterns based on cross wired memory structures from the past. It’s just a negative feedback loop created by the pain-body to keep you stuck in fragmentation and self rejection.
Once you find a sense of your True Self, or “main personality”, I have found that gaining awareness of what your True needs are is the next step. The pain-body is often hijacking an inner child state that has core unmet needs. These needs get confused by the identity/needs of the pain-body. So for example, there might be a need for a personal boundary that is healthy but it gets spoken and acted out by the pain-body in a very dysfunctional way by either lashing out or in reverse suppressing the boundary needs. The question to ask when getting taken over is “What are my True Inner Child needs right now vs the needs of an ego driven pain-body?” Gaining discernment of True Needs will bring tremendous inner freedom.
The good news is that it is possible to resolve this cycle inner conflict on a deep subconscious level. That is what I teach and what I do with my neuroplasticity based coaching work. I combine brain rewiring practices with communicating directly to your Higher Superconscious Self to “talk” to these fragmented parts and reorganize past memory structures. There is no need for years of trauma therapy, shadow work, and trauma processing to heal. I personally took that complex treatment road and got a lot of awareness but also dug a deeper emotional ditch. I’ve found that my personalized method of brain rewiring “attunements” to recode memory structure neuropathways is a much more efficient way to regain proper self identity and heal the energetic pain-body attachment wound.
Do you want to experience healing of your fragmented identity? Check out my latest course here where I use brain rewiring attunements to repair these divided mind states, or contact me here for coaching options.