You’ll likely find yourself in this conversation today, and through our own examples, but trauma resolution is more than talking about the past and deeper than cognitively deciding to move forward. Trauma lives in the here and now. It impacts our relationships to self and all of our relationships. It lives in the body and our belief systems and it affects our Present moment until we find a way to rehabilitate the system. If you want to learn more about incorporating Neuro Somatic Intelligence into your life, into your business, with practical, actionable tools that create lasting change in your client’s lives, the next cohort of Neuro Somatic Intelligence is enrolling right now, and you can go to the link in the show notes to find out more.[00:01:38] As we revisited last week with Complex Trauma is an Attachment Wound, today we’re looking and taking this idea further into that foundational concept and that conflict of complex trauma is this deep need for relationship and wanting other people to co-regulate with and have the experience of safe connection that we never got. And at the same time that need, the even idea of that sometimes, is so immensely stressful in this internal state. And that comes from trying to connect because of the level of secure attachment and safe emotional development that we experience. In our development, and I’m excited to explore this conflict with you today, Elisabeth, as well as how our own attachment styles show up and have shown up, and I think it’ll be a really different exploration, and we really hope y’all enjoy it. [00:02:41] Elisabeth: Yeah, I am excited to have this conversation again, because like you said, this isn’t our first time trying to record about attachment styles. It’s complex and it can be intense for ourselves to look at all of this and to really reframe. And looking at complex PTSD as an attachment disorder and really linking complex PTSD to disorganized attachment specifically, and that need to feel safe in relationship with other human beings. [00:02:24] And the fact that is also deeply dysregulating and threatening to our nervous system. Big picture as we look at attachment styles today, because you hear people talk about attachment styles all the time. There’s these quizzes you can take- I’m insecure, I’m disorganized, I am anxious, I’m avoidant. I wanna reframe for a second that attachment style from a Neuro Somatic Perspective is a group of neuro tags. We’ve talked about neuro tags on here as this concept that neurons that fire together wire together. We take in information and certain inputs, certain stimuli, will trigger a whole event inside of our body and inside of our brain. [00:03:56] When we’re talking about an attachment style, we’re really talking about the filtration system of information. So we have these neuro tags that get activated by different inputs that are maybe coming in from your eyes or your ears or the way that you’re interpreting another person, their vocal tone, their posture, and it creates a change in your brain and that becomes your filtration system. So the attachment style itself is your filtering system. It’s how you take in information and interpret it, and then generate an output. In NSI, we talk a lot about input, interpretation, output is how the nervous system functions. You take in information, your brain and your body interpret it, and then you generate an output. So your attachment style would really be that part in the middle, the interpretation of the information coming in.Big picture, we can either have an attachment style that thinks attachment and relationship is safe or unsafe. It can either be secure or insecure. And within insecure there’s various outputs that can show up. But everything is really through that lens. [00:05:09] Jennifer: I think it’s a pretty reasonable lens to view things from. There’s secure attachment and then there’s the neuro tags that create the other three are the insecure attachments. And really the initial neuro tags are created by the primary caretakers nervous systems and the environment that shapes us. The other nervous systems that also have interplay with our environment. In the paradigm of there’s secure and there’s insecure, there’s all these endless channels of communication between a child and their mother, or their caregivers, including emotional states that are being communicated through the nervous system. [00:05:05] These open lines of communication allow us to feel each other from the inside out- to connect or to disconnect. These emotional state transfers begin to happen very quickly, early in our development, and they directly correlate to the security at which we attach. [00:06:07] Elisabeth: Yep, absolutely. So it is definitely driven by what happens in our development with our primary caretakers because at that time when we’re young, we are entirely dependent upon our caregivers for our survival. As we’ve said many times in here, it doesn’t just mean shelter and food. It means also regulation and emotional expression. So attachment schema has really become the summation of all these thousands of experiences with our caretakers that become this reflexive prediction of the behavior of others. They become activated in our future relationships. They’re driving how we perceive the intentions and the actions of other people. They either lead us to seek proximity and closeness and connection and intimacy, or to avoid it, to pull back to it. [00:07:00] Or in the case of a more disorganized attachment style- both. You’re seeking both. You’re seeking proximity and that feels very dangerous. So it’s the filtering system of our brain that drives our outputs in our relationships, and it shows up across the board. So it’s not just in our romantic relationships. Say I’m operating at an insecure attachment schema and that also shows up with my friends and my colleagues when I’m activated into that threat filter that is looking for ways in which I’m going to be hurt, abandoned, rejected, neglected. Ways in which relationships cause pain for me. I might be at a social event, at a gathering with colleagues, and somebody makes a joke. If I’m in that schema, if I’m in that filtering system, I’m starting to question, what are their intentions behind that? Is that really a dig at me? What are they really implying here? And I have trouble trusting connection with other people, and that doesn’t just have to be in romantic relationships. [00:08:07] Jennifer: What I’m hearing you say is that our attachments are very fluid. They shift and shape and change depending on the environment and the nervous systems that we are surrounded by. And our attachment style can positively or negatively impact every area of our work and of our lives. It can impact every level of our wellbeing, our cognitive function, and our emotional health. It really impacts and affects the security of social engagements. So like you’re saying, what happens when we’re in either large groups where it’s not very intimate or in really small, intimate places; the attachment affects the security of the social engagement, our ability to safely voice the inner felt sense of an experience, and it affects our emotional regulation, how we play and speak through the social synapse, the fears, anxieties and phobias that are passed down through language posture. A lot of what we talk about is about nonverbal subconscious communication, and through that nonverbal subconscious communication thoughts and beliefs can be transferred, and that greatly impacts our social judgment. [00:09:20] Elisabeth: 100% It really drives so much of our interaction with the world. And like you said, it can be fluid. I don’t always fit into one attachment style. I’m not always avoidant, I’m not always anxious. It kind of depends on the relationship, what it reminds me of and what well-worn path that drives my brain and my nervous system down. Most of the time our brain will find a more frequently used output. Like this is the one that kept me safe, this is the one I’m gonna go to more frequently. Maybe that’s to avoid closeness or connection or really being seen. Maybe it’s to really try to fight for it and compromise our self and be anxious in that attachment style. [00:10:02] There’s typically one way that our brain finds to be the most adaptive, and that’s based on our early childhood experiences. But it certainly can change over time and I think it can change based on the other types of nervous systems that we’re around, the other relationships that we have. I think it’s really important as we have this conversation, because this can get really heavy looking at the way that our relationship neuromatrix was shaped by our caregivers and how that’s played out in our lives. [00:10:35] It can be hard to look at. I think it’s really important to remember that, especially when we look at current science, our brains and our nervous systems are adaptive. They’re changing all of the time. You’re never set in stone. Even though this is a well-worn path, and it is a journey to create change in that attachment style with intentional training of the nervous system and all kinds of other healing tools too, like not just NSI, but there’s many, many ways to start to create safety inside of yourself, in relationship, and that it does not have to be one and done for the rest of your life. That’s just not the way we’re built. We’re neuroplastic beings. [00:11:19] Jennifer: Thank God, right. I mean, thank God for this body that is so brilliant in the way. What we’re talking about is survival really. We’re talking about how we survive in relation to attachment. If relationships in the environment are shaping our development and our social interactions, our social relationships, and so much of our survival is rooted in prediction of the very next moment, and our brains are always gonna choose a guaranteed short-term survival over long-term success and health. So going back to attachment and survival, you can see how a world that’s not safe isn’t gonna create a safe relationship. [00:12:08] Elisabeth: Yep. That whole thing of being primed for protection over connection. And it can be kind of sneaky. It’s not as clear as you might think it is. Sometimes it’s really obvious like I’m running away from a healthy relationship, or I’m constantly choosing people that are harmful to me in some ways. Sometimes our relationship patterns are really clear, but other times it can be more subtle. [00:12:37] For instance, I am in a relationship now that I would consider very safe. Both of us have done a lot of work on ourselves and I really trust my partner to be able to see me, show up, hold space for me- all of that. And my early childhood development left me with a very disorganized attachment style where I associate both pain, betrayal and abandonment with intimacy and connection at a very deep level. The safer this relationship becomes and the more there’s capacity for really true connection, I have found that there’s still these internal feelings of distrust and expecting pain. [00:13:25] Then I start to look for it. I start to become really hypervigilant and looking for the ways that I’m going to be hurt at these very deep and also subtle levels. Sometimes it really changes the way I actually see things, the information that’s coming in from my eyes, definitely the way I interpret vocal tones and mannerisms and all these things. I have enough training that I can view it all with altitude and see what’s happening inside of myself, but I can really watch my system skew reality under this protective filter because something that is safe also feels very threatening just by the nature of connection. [00:14:13] Jennifer: I experienced that in the healing of my patterns and stories as it relates to the connection of my primaries and particularly my mom. The safer that relationship gets and the more I try to show up self-expressed and show up as I am now, that can be really hard for me to do because there’s an expectation of how I show up. A lot of that expectation, I hate to say this, but there was a lack of attunement in my early childhood and that led me to learning how to regulate the environment. Whether that mostly worked in my favor to learn, to regulate the environment. But for someone who has a heavily repressed anger response and a Fight trauma response, that cultivated a lot of mistrust in the nervous system of my parents to my nervous system. And that’s part of what I really work to re-pattern right now is that I’m a safe environment of the nervous system. I’m not volatile anymore. You don’t have to worry about me reacting. [00:15:28] Back to the misattunement, my nervous system wasn’t in a position before- it didn’t have the experience, the wisdom, or the knowledge to be able to regulate itself when I was younger. All of it just got into this really repressed Fight and then led me to engage in some very dysregulating behaviors. If it wasn’t through that co-regulation of another person, it was through substances or objects, or numbing out in some way through food. A lot through food. Having the safe nervous systems and containers now, it’s a big deal. And it’s a big, it’s a lot. Like you said earlier, the protective threat wirings. What we’re wired for is threat and our protective mechanisms, they show up regardless of whether you are safe or under threat. [00:16:19] So having the right tools is the key to being able to move forward with this. You talked about earlier that little test that we take. And having cognitive awareness of the way that you’re moving through the world. That is just a foundational step. That conscious awareness should be the catalyst for the next movement of action towards change. To make that action safe and lasting, we need to have tools to work with the nervous system, in my opinion, after all of the modalities I’ve done, which is Rewire Trial, that’s such a valuable offering for our community is for you to explore these tools that we use and talk about every week. We’re not hiding anything. These are the tools. [00:17:02] Elisabeth: Yeah, this is really how I’ve been able to come to this place where I’m capable of secure attachment some of the time. And also to really be able to even have the altitude to see my patterns, not just be swept away into them and operating in that default protective behavior is through daily training of the nervous system. One of the most important things, I’d like to talk a little bit more about is where these neuro tags live in our brain, and we can get into the specific attachment styles. In general, big picture, if you train your nervous system daily to be more resilient, it will give you the ability to stay in your higher order thinking systems and not be so driven into a threat response with relational interaction so that I can take a step in a new direction. I can have the feeling inside of my body that something is threatening and I can also know that might be coming from an old filter, a protective filter, and I can do some stuff to re-regulate or I can just take contrary action in that moment. [00:18:21] Then little by little, that trust in myself is earned trust with other people. The way that my body and nervous system responds, becomes different over time. Like you said, it’s way beyond what’s cognitive and we have to go to that nervous system level as well as having the cognitive understanding so that there can be a new reaction. [00:18:47] Jennifer: Let’s dive into the neuro tags and how that gets created and then we can explore how the nervous system that creates the attachment style, and then how that attachment style lives in the nervous system and how we might express that. [00:19:04] Elisabeth: Perfect. When we’re talking about these neuro tags, there’s really three main areas of the brain that are responsible for these filters that are created. There’s your anterior cingulate cortex, which is really the area of our brain that holds all our beliefs about our self, about how we’re behaving, about how we’re communicating. This is at the very front most part of your cingulate cortex, part of your higher order thinking systems. It is important for cognitive function, but also for empathy and impulse control. And experiencing emotions and decision making. So there’s a huge component of how that area of the brain is functioning. [00:19:47] Then there’s your insular cortex, which I feel like we’ve talked about in every single episode this season because it’s so important to relational healing and also to interception and to Presence. Our insular cortex receives and interprets emotional intent from others, both their verbal and their nonverbal intent. That’s really where we’re deciding: what does it mean that they said this? What are their emotions behind this? We’re determining meaning to the information coming in. Our insular cortex is very important for reading the signals from inside of our own body and deciding what those mean- safe or unsafe; what’s going on? It has to do with our pain pathways, also our vestibular functioning. It’s really a core part of the brain that interprets our felt sense, and that is very important for how we are perceiving the world. [00:20:42] Then there’s our ventral medial prefrontal cortex. So again, this is part of our frontal lobe. It has various interconnected regions, but all of them integrate information from our sensory inputs. It integrates it, including social cues, and then it does sort of a risk versus reward. It weighs the pros and cons and makes a decision on how to act. This is a really important part in driving our behavior and in how we respond to social connection. Then also where our sense of self lives, our beliefs, live in this area.
So as we are developing these parts of our brain get certain pathways that are more dominant so that I am either operating from a place in these areas of my brain that is looking at the world through a lens of threat and distrust, or through seeing other people as positive, as safe, as something that I want and how I interpret the way other people sound, look, think about me, my own sense of self that all lives in my brain and in my nervous system.
[00:22:04] Research shows that the holidays come with an increase in maladaptive behaviors, addiction patterns, social isolation, depression, and burnout. And all of you coaches, healers, therapists out here listening, you’re on the front lines helping your clients to navigate family dynamics, financial stress, emotional flashbacks, anxiety. This takes a toll on your nervous system. The secret to navigating the holiday season with Presence and connection to better serve your clients and avoid burnout really to enter into the new year with the energy you need to grow your business is nervous system health. So we’re offering a free live Neuro Somatic Intelligence workshop to create a self care practice for your own nervous system that will change your holiday experience. Matt Bush, Melanie Weller and myself, we’re leaders in the field of applied neurology and vagus nerve health. And we’ve created a simple framework and practical tools that will increase your capacity to handle stress. and create resilience from the level of your nervous system. We’d love for you to join us. The link is in the show notes to register for the workshop on December 15th. You’ll learn practical tools and a framework for your own self care so that you can enter into 2024 resilient and ready to expand your business and show up fully for those you serve. We’d love to see you live, but a recording will also be sent out to anyone who can’t make the live workshop.And again, the link is in the show notes to register for the December 15th NSI workshop.
[00:23:27] Jennifer: Nutritional supplements don’t have to be complicated. And that’s why I love AG1. I drink it every day and sometimes twice. I find it so refreshing. And my favorite time to drink it is after I’ve had my morning walk. It’s part of my daily ritual along with my morning drills. AG1 aligns with Trauma Rewired because it’s science driven and AG1 delivers comprehensive support to your gut, brain and immune system through a formulation of vitamins, probiotics, and whole food sourced nutrients. Whether it’s the only supplement you take or the foundation of a personalized stack, AG1 is a great place to start for anyone looking to invest in nutritional health. Immediately when I drink it, I feel energized. And I know that I’m supporting my mental clarity and focus throughout the day. Go to drinkag1.com/rewired for a special code and to get a one-year free supply of vitamin D3 K2, which also supports a variation of neural processes. You’ll also receive 5 free AG1 travel packets, which are perfect if you’re on the road or on the go. DrinkAG1.com/rewired. And the link will be in the show notes.
And I also had all of the health effects that come with that, right? I had eczema. I was in and out of the hospital because I would start throwing up and get a fever and they could never figure out what was wrong with me. So my body was showing that dysregulation too. That went on until I found substance and truly substance was what saved me for a while, because I needed something to help me regulate my nervous system. Binge eating and alcoholism saved me at certain points in my life because my nervous system was stuck in such a high state of stress and dysregulation all the time without it. Then eventually it didn’t help, but for a while it did.[00:51:57] Jennifer: And for people who don’t go into substances, or both/and, could also find themselves attracted to people who are unavailable, dangerous, abusive because that’s parental behavior that you are accustomed to growing up. Back to the brain going to choose what it knows to survive. It will repeat the patterns until you change them. And in romantic relationships this can show up with a lot of fighting or abuse. It can be very unhealthy relationship patterns, very tumultuous romantic places. That need for closeness, yet the pushing away out of the pure fear of relationships. [00:52:43] Elisabeth: Yeah. One of the biggest reasons that I have really immersed myself in a healing life and really pursued the path of healing and nervous system regulation is because of my relational patterns. After I got sober, there was the binge eating that continued and that was pretty painful. There was the workaholism, the overwork and the exhaustion. And bigger than that, there were real dangerous relationship patterns that I got to some point where I knew if I don’t do something about this, this is gonna take me out. It’ll either take me out through disease because the stress load is so high, or I’m gonna be in a relationship that is so dangerous, it’s gonna kill me. [00:53:23] Jennifer: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing that. As it goes on the spectrum, that is very relatable. I was not choosing good partners and partners that also had substance issues and were emotionally unavailable and not showing up as the divine masculine at all, not a space holder in any way. Not a safe space holder. I think we’re both fortunate because it was going to take us out one way or another. I mean, autoimmune, cancer. We’ve experienced quite a bit that now we do get to understand that we have swam in these narratives in our body.
And these narratives are charged with emotional energy that wants to move, but gets stuck. Then if we don’t do something, and now we have conscious awareness, now we’ve done so much work that our awareness has changed. Or maybe some people have conscious awareness already but can’t find themselves moving out of the pattern or to change the way and house that we are living, how our brain is functioning, how we’re operating. It really does lead to detrimental effects on the body as we are uncovering truths and gaining more knowledge as to the whys. When we have the tools to make it safe, to be Present with all of those feelings and emotions, to have tools that support altitude from any experience and give yourself grace and compassion for being in the stories, for your accountability in the stories the ways that you have behaved and shown up in life. It’s beginning to solve a problem and getting really curious. And it’s like being an Explorer of your nervous system.[00:55:20] I think part of healing is letting these stories go and grieving who we were and knowing that, as I change the emotional charge to these stories and integrate that younger version of me, I grieve the moving on of that. We talk about this in the Parts conversation, but it all leads to a deeper understanding of why I’m behaving the way that I am. Which I love. [00:55:59] Elisabeth: Yes. Now I can do something about it, and it’s really important to me to not just.. A lot of my traumas weren’t uncovered until much later in my life, but it’s important for me not to know those stories just so that I can overly attach to them. They’re important to me so that I have understanding of my behavior. It was really like, oh, okay when I learned this is why, this explains so much about my life. And now I can see how my nervous system has been shaped, how it’s been driving my behavior, because I have the education that I have and the understanding of the nervous system that I do, I also know that it’s possible to create change. [00:56:44] And I really knew that for me, this next layer of healing had to be relational. It had to be in the way that I was able to connect to other people. And so over the past maybe two, three years there’s been a big focus for me on creating safety and connection using my neuro tools to give my nervous system capacity to create safety and connection in my romantic partnership. But across the board in my life. [00:57:11] Jennifer: Yeah. Like we’re saying before, it affects all areas of our wellbeing and the way that we move in and through the world. [00:57:20] Elisabeth: If you’re a coach, a therapist or a practitioner, and you know that you need a framework and tools to help your clients be able to be embodied and present in the work that you are doing, just like all the things that Jennifer and I are talking about today, then consider joining us for the next cohort of Neurosomatic Intelligence Training. It is a certification that is ICF accredited and will give you a practical actionable framework to bring the body and the brain into your practice. Join us at neurosomaticintelligence.com. The link is in the show notes. [00:57:55] Jennifer: Thank you all so much for joining us today. We’ll see you all next week. Thank you. [00:58:02] Elisabeth: Bye everybody.
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