March 3, 2003
The War Against Your Body
When situations of neglect and abuse become overwhelming to children, the painful feelings (trauma) must be repressed to maintain the integrity of the system. The more this happens, the more feelings get repressed and forced into hiding. With all the trauma many of us hold, it takes a continuous effort to keep these feelings from rising into consciousness and throwing our systems into crisis.
The problem facing this natural defense system is that feelings resonate with other feelings. Any new feeling sensation is capable of resonating with, or "waking up," any repressed feelings that are similar. This means that feelings, originally meant to guide us, become dangerous to our childhood repressive protection. Feelings become the enemy, because they can crack the dam and release a destructive flood of hurt, sadness, anger, and fear. Our body becomes the enemy, because it is the channel and the vessel of our feelings.
Our body becomes the enemy.
Adults don't like what our child body does. They don't like that it jumps so high, plays so wildly, laughs so loudly, eats so messily, drinks so sloppily, pisses so much, shits so often, farts so noisily, cries so loudly, stands so close, hugs so much, picks its nose, wakes up early, or rubs its crotch. Our body gets us into trouble; therefore, out of fear, we do our best to shut it down. We struggle against the force of life itself to stop or diminish our body functions - moving, eating, drinking, digesting, urinating, eliminating, sleeping, crying, having sexual feelings, and even breathing.
Anything that feels good, strong, or exciting has to be denied and hidden. The laws of physics demand, however, that anything compressed will eventually expand with equal force. The things we suppress become the things we obsess about. We become ashamedly overinvolved and even addicted to our suppressed body functions, from eating to sex. We have become a society of adults who sneak around feeling bad about doing things that feel good.
Suppression of feelings in the aid of trauma management has to, by nature, impinge upon natural body functions and the feelings that emanate from them. Therefore, every neurotic symptom will have a bodily component in the form of an exaggeration or a denial. Overeating is an exaggeration, for instance, and anorexia is a denial. If you look at your own behaviours and the behaviours of others, you will see how consistently this occurs.
When every single body system is liable to be suppressed or interfered with by trauma, it is clear that physical dysfunction and illness will be the result - the symptom - of the trauma. It is also equally clear that treating these symptomatic ailments as purely physical problems will not result in lasting health.
The diagnostic manuals of medicine and psychiatry list hundreds of "unique" disorders, and yet, for the most part, these disorders are but the many facets of one illness - the repression of feelings.
Make peace with your body. Feel.