A good actor can change his physiology to reflect the character he is playing, old man, child, superhero, monster, adapting the body shape, posture, gait, and face to fit what he wants to project.
In a similar but more subtle way people who have suffered developmental trauma, or have a domineering, overbearing, narcissistic parent will unconsciously change their physiology usually through the stress burden to become the projected image from that parent. These changes can be so ingrained, so deep and so early in development that to let go of this conditioning, to release the false-self and become the True-Self will feel like it is suicidal the mind made persona, ego, self, has such a grip on the reality of the body for it to NOT be in complete control will means it’s death.
The past year or so I’ve had a number of somatic memory events where an external influence has triggered my muscles to shake, tremble almost spasm and not in a good way. I had little idea why and I needed to find out – it was part of my hero’s journey.
After the first major set of tremors!? I felt my body posture returning and adapting muscularly to how I had been years before – like the heavy stress monkeys on my back had returned. Reading, research and inner work on the adoption trauma and narcissistic parenting (see the previous blogs) pretty much released them.
But I had another bout similar, not as intense in the body but took over my breathing very short and shallow in breath, like a panic attack. This time it prolonged into a body posture with contraction of certain muscles and I regressed into the survival pseudo-self of years gone by. Like before the universe provided an answer and presented me with a couple of podcasts that gave me some, maybe all the answers I needed at the time.
I didn’t realise how much the stress contraction affected me, in my mind (idealized pseudo-self) I was doing just fine, day to day living was OK, I was exercising, meditating, writing my journal, but not nearly as much as before I had developed the “stress body.” It was subtly sabotaging my True-Self from developing, unfolding, incarnating. A internal struggle like Harry Halle in Steppenwolf. It was like the stressed out pseudo-self set of muscles were twisted counter-clockwise, but when allowed to relax and be natural they would be twisted clockwise, my breathing muscles were pushing the breath out rather than just relaxed out breath from the diaphragm.
There were two significant things that showed me I was holding to much stress, it gave danger, warning, not safe signals to the True-Self so it would not, could not incarnate into the “stress body.” First was meditation, I could only get so far with my daily practice of visualizing clouds or flames filling my body as I breathed in and emptying with the toxins as I breathed out. It was the hypnosis type relaxation guided meditation apps that got me to a level deeper and got the subtle tension in my muscles to let go. The second was weed, cannabis, ganga, I hadn’t smoked any in a couple of years and after just a little, Wham! the muscles let go of the cortisol bath it was etched into, my digestion relaxed the food moved, muscles that were rock hard in my legs from exercise became soft and supple, and my emotional body of feelings and emotions returned to be in my body rather than the detached, dissociated external sense i had been with for too long. I was inside looking out rather than outside looking in.
But I also needed the Why’s and How’s to heal or I’d be picking at the scab like the self destructive saboteur my pseudo-self was, and the universe provide, again. I came across the video below from the Unslaved series, it gave answers. (the video has been put behind a pay wall now)
I pulled the subtitles from YouTube, highlighted the pertinent points for me, and bullet pointed them into this blog. Copy of the transcript highlights are at the end
“The underlying cause of psychological disturbance is our fear of self-knowledge “ M. Tsarion.
- The bio-energy of life and it’s flow in and through the body at both a conscious and unconscious level, can be over ridden, supplanted, by the super-ego’s projected self image. – Your pseudo-self, but the idealised you – projected by your family and society.
- The super-ego filters the energy of thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions, suppressing, redirecting and bottling up all the ones that do not fit it’s self-image.
- The method used by the super-ego is musculature. Muscles affected will be chronically contracted and hidden from conscious awareness. Preventing impulses from flowing from core to body surface, removing the muscles from conscious control and perception.
- This “armoring” of the muscles is when a muscular system across the whole body is tense in a “always on” fight or flight type response. Like a boxer ready to take a punch, that tenseness will sink all the way down to ligaments and core muscles.
- The armoring can also effect basic bodily functions such as digestion, breathing, libidinal, eye focus. As well as distorting the levels of cortisol, serotonin and inflammatory chemicals which can lead to chronic debilitating diseases as the unconscious system such as endocrine and digestive are working significantly below normal range.
- The chronic stress and underdevelopment will cause physiological/ biological problems, chemical in-balances, which in adult life leads to alcohol and drug use as a self-soothing mechanism to cope with the internal conflict.
- The Idealized self if nurtured through love and compassion in a “normal” parent-child upbringing can be positive “go-getter – can do” type outlook. But will become a negative “not allowed – Can’t do” pseudo-self if the child has emotional or physical trauma, even prolonged negative signals and messaging. The deeper and more prolonged the trauma the more prominent & dominant is the pseudo self.
- Trauma/stress can start in the womb, if the mother is stressed, alcoholic, even thinking about termination – the baby begins armoring and muscular stress.
- Once born the baby is on high alert for what it perceives as danger, like a certain tone of voice or “look” of disapproval from the caregivers.
- Narcissistic parenting is a form of emotional trauma for the child. the child is likely to emulate the narcissistic behaviors as part of the pseudo-self.
- Narcissists (pseudo self) not only show a lack of concern for others but also for their own true-Self often with self destructive behavior, born out of this internal conflict.
The pseudo-self submits to and is controlled by the subtle disapproval messages given by dysfunctional parents and a society of conformity to an idealized self image. This creates an internal conflict feedback loop where obeying the pseudo causes more stress and further contraction of the unconscious musculature system binding them into a continual struggle.
All Narcissistic behaviors stem from dysfunctional parenting, often with an unhealthy special relationship with one parent. – Mother uses the child’s love-affect to replace the missing love-affect from a distant husband, for example
To a dominate Super-ego the narcissistic pseudo-self image is more important than the True-Self. Appearance is more important than honoring the feelings of the True-Self. Like Narcissus they identify with and love the pseudo-self image of the super-ego over their suppressed True-Self, true feelings, true emotions and dreams.
And that’s where the podcast ends – but what can be done?
Firstly I am hoping that by publishing this it becomes a cathartic healing feedback loop and a fire wall to stop my empathic mind from picking up the negative super-ego projections of strangers around me, from others in my life and even those of my distant narcissistic mother, I recall one email at Xmas last that said – “are you sure your enjoying life in Thailand?” – hmm… critical of my life path, she knows better, shame, projection of her idealized “son.” she is lonely and wants me to return, :- is what I read between the lines.
As an empath I have to ensure anything that causes alarm to my nervous system doesn’t progress into a prolonged chronic resistance, it’s at that stage the body posture slowly & subtly adapts to the stress-body posture which brings with it the somatic responses to further alarms, Basically – chill the fuck out and allow the True-Self in, and stop the usurping pseudo- self to dominate. easier said than done!?
This video series is excellent
Highlighted quotes from the Unslaved Podast.
-Shadow work is a form of self healing.
– all living processes can be reduced to the manifestations of bioenergy (Reich) this energy is directed by the will
– There are unconscious impulses and equally unconscious resistances
– the super-ego suppresses somatic intelligence, body intelligence (gut feeling)
– The super-ego exerts a censoring function upon thoughts and actions which is distinct from and opposed to the reality function of the ego. the super-ego is warping reality, it’s making reality, the super-ego then is part of the ego which has become unconscious.
-the super-ego is a psychic process which can prevent an activity from becoming conscious that is from reaching the surface of the body.
-the unconscious is a kind of energy coming from the core of your being that needs to reach the surface.
-discharge of the bioenergy is not occurring because the energy is not being able to flow to the surface where it gets discharged so it’s being bottled up
-the mechanism by which the super-ego exercises its control over actions is musculature. The muscles which are subject to the inhibitions of the super-ego are chronically tensed chronically contracted and removed from perception so that the individual is unaware that this part of his muscular system is non functioning in certain ways.
-the super-ego prevents certain thoughts from reaching consciousness so on the biological level spastic chronically contracted muscles prevent certain impulses from reaching the surface these muscles are thus removed from conscious control and their function is repressed. (Breathing, digestion, swallowing, libidinal.)
– the pseudo self which stands in Contra-distinction to the Imperial self means appearance is more important than the real self. Appearance is more important than how you feel
– the super-ego creates and projects a self-image, the super-ego is overriding the conscience.
-the super ego is the installed program of control. You submit to the vision of yourself, the image of yourself transmitted by parents and I’m talking unloving parents and society.
-the ancient myth of narcissus, one does love but only an image, a chiamira, one is in love with the false
-narcissists do show a lack of concern for others but they are equally insensitive to their own true needs, the Imperial Self has been crushed often their behaviour is self-destructive – narcissists love their super-ego self-image, not their real self – they become dissociated from their feelings.
– all narcissism is stemming from some disturbance in the parent-child relationship.
-the narcissistic individual is a product of an unhappy family situation in which the child is seduced into a special relationship with one parent, the child is exposed to and overstimulated by adult feelings and out of sexuality, so basically the toxic environment created by the family dynamic.
– a study of psychotics reveals trauma in the womb from the mother’s thinking and even from her own hormonal balance, especially in the third trimester. If she was anxious if she was drinking if she was thinking say of stopping the pregnancy and rejecting the child.
– lack of intimacy and relationships that the narcissist of course is famous for that but as these experts are telling you it’s lack of intimacy first with in with their own bodies they don’t relate empathically to you because they don’t relate emphatically to themselves
– It is armoring or ego defenses that keeps them from awakening on the somatic level since they lack the ability right to discern the difference between image and reality.