Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in anywhere? You could maybe be part of a group feeling totally fine and then all of a sudden, it’s as if there is a disconnect that happens inside. It could be a little bit of dissociation in your mind. Or, maybe it feels like you’ve just become a little bit invisible and there is no sense of a connection between you and anyone else in the group. It’s like there is a space between you and others that before you hadn’t felt at all.
Then, you notice the other people and you wonder, how are they connected? How are they doing that? I want to acknowledge there can be this experience where it feels like there is something missing. There is some kind of missing linkage.
I was working with a client the other day and they were having a very similar experience to this. They had been part of a group for quite awhile and what happened was when someone checked in with another person and started to engage with them and place their attention on them, they felt themselves disconnect inside.
What that’s like is a sense of being mute, recognizing something has just happened but I can’t talk about it. If attention comes to me, I avoid checking in or having any communication. There is an immobilization that happens. This is really painful to experience from the inside out.
This is something that can happen when we experience neglect in our lives, and we may not even realize we experienced neglect in our lives. That’s part of how pervasive neglect can even be. Yet, I want to acknowledge that it is possible to lay down new neural pathways.
It may not be re-learning how to welcome warmth, it may be learning how to allow warmth in. Maybe warmth was not something that your body and your nervous system is accustomed to receiving, so it may not feel welcome at all, and that is perfectly normal for this situation. I have a lot of compassion for this.
I remember one point in my life, quite young, when I would be with a group of children and I would feel like I was on the outside looking in. I would wonder what was different about me. Why was I unable to engage with others with the ease that it seemed others engaged with? I didn’t have answers to that, I just believed there was something wrong with me.
I want to acknowledge that it’s possible to learn how to engage. It’s possible to learn how to open your window of welcome for warmth to begin to come through to you. It may not feel comfortable; it may be very foreign and not familiar at all.
Yet, when there is a container where there is no pressure and you’re not made wrong, rather you are welcomed as you are, you can allow your window to be as small as it is. When that is okay, it will naturally begin to expand a little bit. It may go back and forth and that’s okay too.
Because we want to be able to allow your nervous system and your body to reconsolidate; to readjust its settings and discover through the experience that it’s safe to be seen, and soothed and feel secure from the inside out.