Retracing the fault line is a terminology I use to describe a conscious process of tracing a psychological and/or karmic wound back to its origin. Tracking a psychological/karmic ‘fault line’ enables us to trace a trauma to its core. It is, however, possible to go straight to the actual site of an original wound (located at the origin of a fault line) when one’s psychological awareness is developed to such an extent to support that.
We recreate our history in order to do now what we could not do back then. ‘Back then’ could refer to an early experience (womb, infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, teenage years) from this lifetime, or, quite likely, an experience or series of experiences originating prior to this lifetime.
We recreate our history (story) in order to heal and integrate and so free ourselves from dysfunctional behaviour, patterns and mindsets which are signs and symptoms of a deeper malaise, this being unhealed repressed trauma.
Specific challenges in our lives tend to indicate the presence of a fault line and associated core trauma. Consciousness, awareness, courage, an open heart and an open mind support us in the retracing of a fault line in order to heal and integrate a core trauma.
Retracing a ‘fault line’ is to journey to the original site of a core trauma. We can experience many traumatic events of a similar nature, often over a period of years, decades or even lifetimes. And so it is we can find ourselves retracing several related fault lines which may ultimately converge in what we might term a ‘fault zone’.
I personally believe that the level of healing which enables full and final closure becomes possible only when we have had a sufficient and tangible felt-sense experience of empathic connection.
Empathic connection facilitates the deepest connection to body, feelings and mind and our felt-sense, emotions, heart and soul. It literally takes us out of our minds and into our hearts.
Our deepest wounds are formed in relationship and our deepest wounds are healed in relationship. Our core wounds so often occur in relationship. A disconnection occurs when the result of energy becomes frozen and stuck and so it is that the energy previously held as a ‘story’, that continues to be re-enacted, can begin to flow once again when we are centred in ‘right relationship’.
To experience empathic connection is to feel seen, heard and held by another (or oneself in empathic self-connection) in a way that has no agenda other than to create a safe and caring space for the experience (not the story).
Carl Rogers, who is considered the father of humanistic psychology, stated: “When I have been listened to and when I have been heard (without judgment), I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.”
Empathic disconnection is a key factor in terms of what lies at the root of emotional, mental and psychological trauma. We disconnect from ourselves (and others) when we experience trauma at an emotional, mental and psychological level in the absence of an immediate (or close to immediate) empathic response in the subsequent aftermath of a trauma event. A lack of empathic connection escalates trauma to the level of ‘catastrophic trauma’.
Unhealed trauma is not the necessary end result of an earlier traumatic experience. Trauma can be healed through deeply experienced empathic connection. This transformational and healing process can offer the most profound healing of all.
What establishes the shutting down of parts of ourselves at a physical, emotional, mental, psychological, conscious, psychic, energetic and spiritual level is the ‘catastrophic trauma’ that results from an absence of empathic connection. It is a vital and necessary healing response for the clearing, resolving and integration of trauma either at the time, or subsequently much later.
Fundamentally, the quality of response to trauma determines the degree to which it imprints within an individual. An empathic response, or the absence of such, determines the degree to which trauma will hijack the physical, emotional, mental and energetic bodies and embed in the psyche.
Empathic connection is almost always absent in the immediate moments following an actual experience of trauma. At the point of traumatic experience, the individual goes into survival mode, (fight/flight/freeze), where surviving is more important than relationship in that moment.
Empathic connection is a crucial re-connector, bringing us out of survival brain mode (that is only useful in the moments of actual danger) and back into higher brain function, which connects to the heart and present reality. Empathic connection supports us to appropriately and safely heal and integrate both recent and ancient trauma.
Disconnection from Self
The experience of empathic disconnection disassociates one from Self (Self with a capital ‘S’ and so the authentic and true Self). However, even if an empathic response is unavailable immediately after a trauma, it still remains the primary healing remedy for traumatic experiences days, weeks, months, years, decades or even lifetimes later.
Empathic disconnection raises an actual trauma experience to the level of ‘catastrophic shock’. This registers throughout the entire human system. We are relational beings and when trauma remains in the system, it manifests as a sense of a break in the relational web of life. These are dead spots in how we care for other aspects of life. Without the healing process of empathic connection, trauma devolves into a malevolent shadow energy active deep within the unconscious, thus creating inner chaos, dysfunction and a sense of our lives feeling out of balance.
However, catastrophic shock is a clever survival strategy too, by way of its distribution throughout our cells, organs, nervous system, bones and cellular memory, as well as psyche, unconscious and DNA. This crucial strategy is a vital safety mechanism, for it diverts the full and devastating impact of high level shock away from the heart which would otherwise be the primary ‘fault zone’. Such an intelligent survival strategy continues, in the absence of empathic connection, to repeat over and over, from conception through to the final stages of adulthood. Its ultimate long-term impact on our health ranges from subtle to the most devastating.
The Here and Now in Relation to Healing Trauma
Retracing a fault line invites us to become more fully present to ourselves. At the same time, we are also in need of the healing presence of one who is able to empathically connect with us when we are engaged in the process of consciously retracing a fault line to a recent or ancient core trauma. Only then are we able to fully acknowledge, validate and develop our own capacity for empathic connection with ourselves and with others.