Do you have a boss, friend, partner or parent who is super controlling? Do they try to micro manage each situation, predict outcomes and control what you do?
This could be a sign they have survived a traumatic experience and are still processing that trauma.
One of the main predictors of a traumatic response to a situation is loss of agency. Whether it’s an accident, natural disaster, systemic events, racial injuries, or any other incident, they all have in common that the individual they are acted upon loses choice for themselves and their body. Finally in the most traumatic of incidents immobilization takes place and there is commonly a period of disassociation where the person experiences being out of or sometimes hidden deep in their body often watching the traumatic event as if it is happening to someone else.
That loss of control is devastating to the mind/body system especially in childhood trauma. It often seeks to compensate for it by taking control after the traumatic event of every possible thing it can. This comes from a common trauma response belief system that if everything is controlled and organized in detail by the survivor, they can avoid all upcoming traumatic events and remain in the future safe and free from harm.
Of course we know, that is impossible, but it can take a long time for the trauma survivor to feel that they can be safe without that habit.
This is where we can show up in grace.
The next time you’re confronted with a boss, friend, family member, or partner who seems super controlling, have some compassion, patience and sensitivity towards them. They may just be a trauma survivor.
Softening the controlling perfectionistic response can happen for them through our understanding and acceptance of their need to get things right. We can ask how it feels for them when things seem out of their control and what we might do in those times to help them work past that feeling and feel safe again without compromising our own level of safety and choice.
To learn more about the habits of trauma survivors, join the next trauma informed yoga teacher training at Three and a Half Acres Yoga or take a listen to the Beyond Trauma podcast on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Episode 4 with Samantha Lucas is all about this topic.
We all carry trauma. Check out Healing Trauma with Nature and join me on my upcoming Women’s Realignment Retreat to work on repatterning and healing from the impacts of traumatic events.
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