• Working with Minimisation

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Working with Minimisation

7 February 2022

One trait that I witness consistently when working with trauma sufferers is Minimisation.

Minimisation is a maladaptive response that is often deployed subconsciously. It’s the brains way of not letting us feel the enormity of past traumatic events.

When trauma sufferers are asked about their life history, they will often reel off a list of terrible events, one after another, without showing any emotion or connection to the story they are telling.

It’s as if it didn’t really happen or there is only a vague and foggy connection to the memory. The system has cleverly adapted this way in order to “hide” the truth and prevent us from fully feeling the enormity of the situation for what it was.

Whilst this enables us to keep the trauma side-lined for a while, it’s all still there, dysregulating the nervous system and affecting the body at a cellular level. Humans often do a brilliant job of holding this all in, but of course, over time, this becomes too much; we start to get physical symptoms and the body starts to scream for our attention.

Working to a) bring awareness to the reality of what actually happened, and the effect this had on you, and b) understanding how to feel and allow the emotions that come with these realisations in a safe and titrated way is the first step in moving from a disconnected, dorsal vagal state to a more connected, regulated ventral vagal state.

This is a process that requires patience and compassion and is something I’ve lived through myself.

By becoming alive to the truth in our bodies, we can reconnect to the deeper, authentic self. This takes courage, but deep and lasting healing requires us to experience temporary discomfort.

When you recount your life stories to yourself or to others, watch out for this minimisation.

Awareness is the first step and if you need someone to hold your hand through this process, please reach out.

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