Sep 19, 2022
Britt Frank is a trauma therapist and the author of The Science of Stuck: Breaking Through Inertia to Find Your Path Forward.
Today’s conversation centers largely on the topic of emotional regression: that all-too-common anxiety-inducing feeling that you are younger than your chronological age. Britt says that this is an issue that needs to be talked about more, because it can affect anybody regardless of their mental health status—even the most successful men and women in society.
Some signs of emotional regression? Indecisiveness, fear of making people angry, can’t say “no”, emotional explosions, wanting to be the “favorite” child/employee/friend, imposter syndrome, and many more.
Believing that “surviving childhood is trauma in and of itself,” Britt asserts that, “if you don’t grieve the fact that your childhood is over, you end up repeating it.”
At the same time, Britt notes that humans are a “sliding scale”, constantly swinging from equilibrium to one extreme to another and back again.
According to Britt, instead of trying to practice “self-regulation” all the time on one end, or being overly emotional and passionate on the other, we need to be willing to embrace a dynamic way of life. This way, we allow ourselves to consciously shift from one emotional state to each other, and from a state of high energy to a state of rest, acknowledging that how we feel is completely and utterly how our body wants us to feel in the moment.
Britt reminds us that “our brain is on our side”—that anxiety is simply a sign telling us that something needs to be addressed. This means allowing ourselves to grieve, as opposed to suppressing that grief, is what will ultimately lead to our healing.
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