It takes some of your energy to hold on or freeze your negative experiences, and that energy gets stuck in place and isn’t available for you to use to handle whatever is in front of you right now. So, paradoxically, something you did to protect yourself in the past causes a problem in your present life.
Sometimes we don’t have those resources simply because we are powerless children in a world of grownups. Sometimes it’s because the adults who should have been able to protect us are not immediately available for a variety of benign or traumatic reasons.
One toddler wandered a few feet away from his watching mother and encountered a stress that was toxic for him that other children usually did not find stressful at all. He simply saw a clown who was there to entertain children. The toddler was terrified and inconsolable and set his autopilot to protect him from these dangerous creatures. That protection lasted for years and the autopilot was very difficult to reset.
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