Loss, Trauma & Healing with Therapist Meg Batterson
Love Lesson: How to Heal Your Love Traumas with Therapist Meg Batterson
Today, we’re doing a love class with Meg Batterson a licensed psychotherapist practicing in New York City. Meg does after care for guests of a nationally syndicated talk show where I am a recurring life coach. Meg works with couples and individuals.
Abiola: Tell our readers about your work, Meg.
Meg Batterson: I work in private practice in the Flatiron District. I’m a relationally oriented therapist; I’m always curious how we as humans impact each other and how our environment impacts our well being. I seek to help people live out their potential, actually paradoxically, by supporting them where they are. I really feel like I want to help my clients be present with their feelings and not get stuck in the past or worry too much about the future.
I give talks about what I call “post-traumatic love disorder.” I coined that phrase because I feel like so many of us are like the walking wounded out here. One of the most common situations that I encounter as a coach and when I speak to large groups is women telling me, “I know it should be over but I can’t let it go.” Why can’t people just walk away?
Letting go is a really tricky lesson to learn in life both while you’re in the context of a relationship and also when something ends. One theory actually is that attachment is such a powerful bond. In the beginning of a relationship we release those intense chemicals like oxytocin that make us bond together. That’s really important for survival because it’s about procreation and we need to bond together in order to have a child.
It’s my impression that something in us biologically feels compelled to stay even just for survival reasons. We need to stay connected as human beings in order to survive. That’s a definite truth. Even though psychologically we’re caught up in a relationship that we know isn’t good for us, I think there’s something biologically — it must also be somewhat psychological — that compels us to stay.
Even if there’s a situation of abuse, there are lots of women in those situations and people often wonder, why do they stay? Well, I think part of the reason that they stay is because of this biological need to stay together no matter what.
That makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint.
And now here we are in 2014 and we’re surviving, and we need each other but we don’t need each other quite in the same way that we did back then. I think that’s still left over. There are many theories but that’s just one theory.
The oxytocin and those feel-good chemicals that are generated when we’re in love or when we’re hugging someone or when we’re cuddling are addictive chemicals. From an intellectual point of view, that’s great. But if you are a person the situation I mentioned, what should you do in order to break away?
I think one of the keys to that is the body. We have our mind, our brain that’s usually caught up in some obsessive thinking about the person or the relationship. You’re chewing it over and over, and you’re going over everything you did together, all the good memories. Maybe even minimizing some of the bad memories. But I think if you are able to just sit quietly with your body… Maybe you get into some kind of meditation practice or yoga practice or even just sitting on your couch and dropping and checking into your body and not focusing so much on what your brain is telling you. The brain is rationalizing I should stay in this bad situation or I need to stay connected to this person, I can’t let go.
If you drop into your body you kind of allow yourself to drop into that grief process and you make contact with, ‘what is my heart feeling? What am I feeling in my stomach?’ Then you maybe start to get new information that you didn’t have access to when you were obsessing over the old story. When your mind is telling you, this is the right thing for me or I just want it to be, it has to be. I don’t want to be a failure having those obsessive thoughts.
If you drop into the body then maybe you have access to some new content, some new information that can create a new story for yourself. I think people often just want to avoid pain to stay away from the body. They don’t want to drop into that grief process and loss because it’s scary.
Yes! Currently I am running online coaching programs to help clear toxins from our lives. My Love, Body, Spirit Detox is about detoxifying from those toxic love relationships and learning how to do that. The other is called Heal Your Heart. Our mothers and fathers didn’t know necessarily how to heal or to tell us, “drop into your body.”
Some people don’t even know what drop into your body means. It can be interpreted in so many ways so we need education on how do we get out of the incessant thinking. Maybe our parents weren’t able to teach us because they didn’t know, we have inherited ways of being. We learn behavior through what our parents show us and so I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing these programs because I think education is really key for a lot of people in this area.
That’s where we get into trouble because like you said our instinct is to naturally run from pain. People drink or take drugs, or go into another relationships, have sex or whatever it is to try to avoid or numb the pain rather than going into it. We think we’re going to close my heart but the healing comes from opening your heart not from just closing down or shutting down.
Absolutely. And oftentimes we shut down when we don’t have our bridge. We don’t have relationships. I think relationships are another really important factor that plays into this concept of learning how to let go. We need each other, we can’t do things alone. It’s a fallacy to think that you’re this independent being roaming around out there.
Most Americans like to think of themselves as individualists, yeah you can be an individual but we also need to be connected and we need each other in order to heal. Reaching out to your friends, and family, and going into yourself but then going back to others and talking about your story is also really important.