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Healing 13 Years of Frozen Trauma

I’m releasing accumulated trauma from 10 years of running a startup, 2 gnarly break-ups, and 1.5 years of Long COVID.

But I have a big hurdle to get through first: numbing out.

For executives I coach, this can look like indifference, apathy, or even fatigue and lack of motivation to work. Some people wonder if they’ve lost their mojo or they’re burnt out.

What they haven’t done is paid down the emotional debt of their past.

When you’ve been through long periods of stress and you don’t have space to process the emotions, one way your body adapts is to numb out the pain. It’s the body’s way of finding a strategy to continue to move forward.

It’s a pretty good strategy. Except that in numbing the lows you also numb the highs.

So not only can you not feel joy, but you stop feeling your intuition as well.

Numbing is an active strategy. It requires energy to suppress emotion. Which can result in you feeling tired all the time when you don’t seem to be doing much at all.

So now you’re numb, tired, and lose touch with your instincts.

What if you could release what’s underneath and be yourself again? Be attuned to your wants, needs, and true priorities?

In my own pathway back to unthawing my numbness for myself and others, here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Give yourself space — To stop numbing, you’re going to start feeling big emotions. It’s part of the release work. Give yourself a few hours (or day) of non-work where you can truly process and recuperate from release work.

  2. Identify the physical numbness — Where is your body frozen? Where does energy feel trapped? You can take 3 breaths with your eyes closed and go inwards to find physically where your body is holding this numbness.

  3. Honor the numbness — Stop resisting it or berating it for being there. It was here to protect you.  I like to put my hand on where I feel it in my body and thank it. I’ll say, “YOu did something helpful for me. I appreciate you, and I’m ready to let you go now.”

  4. Hold the feelings with love — When the numbness lifts, that’s when you’ll find grief, shame, anxiety, or helplessness. These are deeply uncomfortable feelings that want your validation. Like a parent speaking to a child, it’s your job to offer validation to these feelings. You can offer affirmations to that part of you, telling it that you see and understand it. And that you love it no matter what.

  • Be patient with this process. It isn’t an overnight fix. But like a parent, if you can consistently love and show up with this part, you can truly heal and unburden it of negative emotion.
  • If you know you’re holding onto unprocessed trauma or grief, I’d advise you work with a therapist, coach, or other somatically-trained professional to hold space while you do this release work. For my own work there are certain emotions I can’t access without support of a loving other.


Jonny Miller’s How to Pay Off Your Emotional Debt

Thomas Hubl’s video on Numbness is an Active Process

Thomas Hubl’s video on

Precise Relation is Love

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