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Defense mechanisms and trauma

How horses can heal us

In daily life, in relationships, with emotions, experiences and thoughts, defense mechanisms are constantly playing, usually unconsciously. These mechanisms ward off "dangerous impressions" and ensure that your psyche remains stable and balanced in everyday life.

Defense mechanisms protect us from traumatic experiences.

However today 'traumatic' is a very subtle threat of negative and painful feelings - and no longer the regular dealings with flight, fight or death. That makes these mechanisms “overwork” and fend off things that can actually be constructive and beneficial.

Feelings are there to be felt - whether positive or negative.

They shape us, our opinion, our moral compass, our empathy and our resilience.

When feelings suddenly appear and start to influence our inner being (e-motions), the outside world and how we experience it can become threatening.

Instead of listening to someone else, we then only hear personal criticism or we take on the responsibility for everyone's failures on our own shoulders. And before we become aware of that and can feel the negative feelings that go with it, our mechanisms kick in and we “fight off the other” through harsh words or withdrawal.

Everyone knows these mechanisms.

And in everyone they are personally linked to previous painful experiences that could never really be processed.

Sometimes it is only a small nuance in the communication with the partner or the mother. But sometimes the prolonged shedding and avoidance of experiences can lead to a trauma of its own.

Trauma is not (only) a major traumatic event

Even without a drastic event, a part of the ego that has never been felt can split off and freeze. This separation is also called trauma and is caused, for example, by emotional neglect and unmet needs.

That part that split off there in childhood is further avoided, hidden and preferably forgotten by further convictions of "not showing weakness" or "not being so sensitive".

In practice, we all know that avoidance only works to some extent and sooner or later the painful face of trauma shines through again.

Avoidance is a strong mechanism that we are all familiar with. Sometimes it also manifests itself in distraction, such as being “busy” or addiction in various forms. "Information" can also be an addiction, because that constant gibberish in the news and on social media is a strong distraction from everything that happens around and inside us.

Recognizing defense and trauma

The only way to expose the mechanisms is through awarenes, honesty and gentleness with oneself. The split off part of you should be allowed to reappear and take its place. It wants to be seen, and for that it has to stop being avoided.

However, this is often a very heavy, painful and difficult process.

I believe this is the only way.

There is no magic cure, no new therapy, no pill, no guru that will take that work away from you.

There is only you, and your willingness to feel.

Fortunately, you are not alone and there are a lot of things (such as theories, visions, people and therapies with the right approach) that can support you on your way.

Everything that makes you stand still, become aware and accept is beneficial. Everything that makes you avoid it, is not.

It is up to you to break the patterns and recognize that there is no real threat, but that you are safe to be who you are. That you can feel your feelings and that all those negative emotions are part of being human. That all these are just mechanisms, a layer of your psyche that only wants the best for you. But that underneath there is more, a layer where we feel peace and love, where we stop grinding in our heads and can be happy in the here and now. A layer of consciousness, unity and stillness.

And before you call that vague, let me tell you that all this is known thanks to the great psychology teacher and modern science in neuropsychology and dozens of studies on brain waves and the electromagnetic field.

Why we coach with horses

And yet, does it all sound too abstract? In other words, what's my point?

Good of you to ask.

Because what we humans have to prove with science before we can believe and before we can let go, nature does not need.

Animals don't have to prove or believe to be who they are. They just simply are. Part of a divine force that has everything together and takes care of everything.

And horses (and dogs) are, thanks to their domestication, gateways for us to experience this. They do not suffer from an overdeveloped prefrontal cortex and are deep in that stillness without 'grinding' and 'pressure'.

Without that gibberish behind the forehead, you can still feel yourself and the world.

And if you want to make contact with them, you can only do that on the same layer - their layer and with their language and on their energy. But guess what, for that you also have to surrender to your divinity. Then you have to let go of your mechanisms and patterns. Then you must look at yourself and all your parts with all their ugliness and flaws. You must accept yourself, everyone and everything that has formed you, completely and unconditionally.

You have to let yourself fall.

To be caught

That is what the horses can do for you. Whatever you carry, whoever you are and what you fight doesn't matter. When it comes to horses, we are all equal to each other. And we are all connected in their divine power.

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