“Around that original trauma there seems to have developed a kaleidoscope of reactive feelings…”

A few months ago Leslie wrote:

I seem to be going down a dead end street in some of my Focusing. I’ll get triggered around something in the present, I sit with it and it jumps back to when I’m a baby when I feel like no one will come back for me – I sit with that feeling of abandonment, with tears and emotions till it clears up, or lifts. The problem is that this pattern repeats I can’t count the number of times! I feel I’m in a never ending loop.

I responded (see Tip #524) and then I also heard from Lali…

Lali responds to Leslie:

I am familiar with this loop – feelings of abandonment and not being seen coming up again and again when something triggers them in the present, and they don’t seem to change… so that I was asking myself whether there can be change at all with early traumas or whether one just has to be present with them, again and again.

As you said, Ann, the difference is really letting that part know that I am there. And what makes this possible – at least in my case – is a Focusing partner.

I was/am quite proud of my ability to do self Focusing, but with this kind of issue I have had to acknowledge that it’s not possible without a partner who acknowledges the deep despair by mirroring it, brings the part alive as it were, and at the same time supports my presence to give space to that part/feeling.

The Focusing partner is also crucial because of another mechanism: around that original trauma there seems to have developed a kaleidoscope of reactive feelings which – without a partner – are mixed into an amorphous agitated sea which doesn’t respond to welcoming it.

An attentive partner will acknowledge the single feelings one by one, allowing me to step back and again step back from all the subtle identification which otherwise happens: and suddenly there is then the shift, the relief, the ONE right move or wave lifting me out of the overwhelming ocean.

Beautiful, Lali! I agree completely! No matter how good we are at Focusing alone, when we are up against those tough issues connected to past trauma, a Focusing partner makes all the difference. For me, too!

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