How We Become Fragmented: The Rise of Our ECHOs

Every human on the planet has a deep yearning for love, connection and safety. When we’re faced with abuse or neglect as children, especially from those that we love, the need to escape arises. We need to psychologically distance ourselves to avoid becoming overwhelmed by our experiences. Desperately trying to maintain some attachment to our family, aspects of our self-esteem, we disconnect from that experience and we disown that part of our self. We strive instead to be “good”, to be acceptable and loveable. We yearn for safety and acknowledgement that we’re ok. Fisher (2017) puts it well when she states, “abused children capitalize on the human brain’s innate capacity to split or compartmentalize.” As good children we display sweet, mature and perfectionistic tendencies that become our gateway to acceptance. The rejected, disowned part of us however is kept locked up out of sight. Whilst it remains denied, disconnected and quite often beneath conscious awareness, on some level it lives on. The trauma is still very much alive. And when these parts can no longer remain hidden, they manifest in different forms. We manage to survive the neglect and abuse, but at the cost of disowning the most vulnerable part of our self.

 

A Part of Us Develops Normally Whilst Another Part Hides Away

 

Perhaps the most confusing aspect for many of us  is that the “good” part within us develops somewhat “normally,” learning skills, going to schools, engaging in activities that we enjoy; and yet on some level, we have parts within us that hold the traumas that we have experienced. This can quite often be confusing for people because they can’t understand how part of them functions normally, and yet there are parts of them with which they struggle.

 

These Fragmented Parts are Called ECHOs

 

In matrix Re-imprinting, we call these fragmented parts of ourselves “ECHOs” (Energetic Conscious Holograms). The ECHO is the part of us that holds and replays the trauma within our subconscious. It holds all the information about what happened to us in the moment the trauma occurred; for example, a change in our breathing, what we were wearing, eating, and what was happening in our environment. Each of the factors recorded become our triggers, and each time we encounter them in the present moment, our body responds in a way to protect us, which can quite often be a fight, flight or a freeze response.

 

The key to healing our fragmented parts – our ECHOs, is to no longer deny or disconnect from them, but rather to gently nurture these parts of us and to work the trauma through to resolution. Every part of us is yearning to be heard, to be loved to be secure and to be connected, and Matrix Re-imprinting holds the key to resolution.


The Trauma Definition Cheat Sheet

 

One of the things that I was quite confused about earlier on in my journey as a therapist were the different terms to describe trauma. So, I have put together a quick cheat sheet outlining the key trauma definitions which you may find useful!

Definition of Trauma

SAMHSA (2014), defines trauma as events or circumstances that are experienced as harmful or life threatening and that have lasting impact on mental, physical, emotional and or social wellbeing. Trauma can be experienced as both a single or multiple events.

Trauma can be further categorised into the following definitions:

Acute Trauma: A single overwhelming event or experience (a car accident, natural disaster, single event of abuse or assault, sudden loss or witnessing violence).

Big-T Trauma: is the result of major traumatic events. Examples include war, rape, concentrations camps.

Chronic Trauma: the result of repeated or prolonged exposure to trauma, for example, ongoing domestic violence, neglect, human trafficking or receiving regular treatment for an illness.

Complex Trauma: the result of multiple, prolonged overwhelming traumatic events and experiences. The key difference between chronic and complex trauma is that it happens within the context of an interpersonal relationship, in which the individual has little or no chance of escape. Examples include severe child abuse, domestic violence or multiple military deployments into dangerous locations.

Developmental Trauma: the result of early onset or exposure to ongoing or repetitive trauma, for example, neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, physical abuse or assault, emotional abuse or assault. This often occurs within the child’s caregiving system and interferes with development and healthy attachment.  Developmental traumas are also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). 

Complex Developmental Trauma is a term used to describe chronic abuse or neglect in a child’s important early developmental period, which occurs within the context of the child’s caregiving system.

 Organisational Trauma/Organisational Stress: Organisational trauma is a collective experience that overwhelms an organisation’s defensive and protective structures and leaves the entity temporarily vulnerable and helpless or permanently damaged.

 Insidious Trauma/Micro-Trauma: the result of tiny, barely noticeable traumatic occurrences that build up over time.

Historical/Intergenerational Trauma: Psychological and emotional trauma that can affect communities, cultural groups or generations. Examples include slavery, racism and genocide. Patterns of coping can be passed down through generations.

Small-t Trauma: is the result of overwhelming experiences that may not necessarily be regarded as traumatic. These can be overlooked at times by the person experiencing the trauma, and often have an accumulated effect, which means that they build up over time, causing a significant distress. Examples include divorce, legal trouble, financial worries.

Vicarious Trauma: is also known as indirect trauma, compassionate fatigue or secondary trauma is the result of caring for others through empathetic engagement. For example, therapists working with trauma survivors may experience this as they hear trauma stories and witness the client’s pain, fear and terror.