You may not see the link between your IBS and a difficult childhood – but it is there. And I’d like to help you become aware of it, so that your past doesn’t have to weigh on your future.
Depending on the life you have lived, you may feel like you have had enough pain for one lifetime, and you just want it to stop.
So you may have locked the past in a dark room and thrown away the key.
But I have one essential question for you:
Did you feel safe as a child?
If the answer is “no”, or “not all the time”, read on. This could be what you have been needing to see…
The key is deep within your mind and your nervous system
If you had a difficult childhood, you have been on alert for danger. Either because of a particular event, over aperiod of time, or contsantly.
You have probably already read about the body’s fight or flight response.
But do you know what this response has to do with your IBS symptoms and digestive issues?
There are three major responses to percieved “danger”:
The first two active behaviours: FIGHT or FLIGHT. In both cases your body prepares for action. All your energy goes to your limbs so they can protect you or outrun the danger – and digestion is paused.
Your options in a difficult childhood
As children, if we do not feel safe at home, our options are limited:
FIGHT: We are often too small/weak to fight off an attack.
FLIGHT: We may be able to run and hide. Or may not be able to physically run, but internally we can be running. And this inner nervousness can be expressed as pushing food through us quickly and can result in diarrhea.
FREEZE: For children, freezing is a way of making themselves as small as possible in an attempt to appease the situation. This slows digestion and transit down even further and can create constipation if experienced over a period of time.
Either way if you had a difficult childhood and regularly felt unsafe, your nervous system could well have become hypervigilant. And probably got stuck that way. Which means that excess cortisol levels are likely to make you crave sugar and carbs. And the fermentation of excess sugar is known to create bloating.
How do I know all this? Because I lived in an angry home myself, and my coaching clients did too.
If you have long-term IBS, you have probably still are triggered by situations from the past. Your subconscious mind hasn’t caught up with the fact that you have more options today.
The good news is that there are ways to change those active trigger loops from the past, and appease our nervous system – and our IBS. I talk about them often on this blog as this is how I released my own chronic IBS symptoms.
Now you have this knowledge, what is next for you?2