As discussed in the previous posts here and here, the 1st chakra is about survival, grounding and the physical body. In this post I will discuss how trauma and child abuse effect the very formation of the 1st chakra and therefore cause it and all of the other chakras to be out of balance.
The 1st or root chakra is formed during the second trimester of pregnancy up until the age of 12 months. When this chakra is damaged it can effect our ability to ground into our physical bodies. Feeling disconnected from our physical bodies (ungrounded) causes us to feel disconnected from life, from the world and from our own inner truth (dissociative state). Without a strongly rooted foundation, little else can be accomplished.
Traumas and abuses that can effect the formation of the root chakra include: birth trauma, abandonment or physical neglect, poor physical bonding with mother, physical abuse or violent environment, poverty and malnourishment or trauma around food and eating.
The instinct to survive is the “program” underlying consciousness that forms our foundation. When all is well this program runs in the background and we are not aware of it. However, when frequent trauma or abuse damages our root chakra, our consciousness becomes fixated at this level of “survival instinct.” The body is kept in an overstimulated state and is flooded with stress hormones that cause the instinctual fight or flight response. This results in our feeling restless, tense, anxious, unable to sleep deeply and, overtime, causes our health to break down as in PTSD. Health problems that can eventually result are high blood pressure, heart trouble, stomach or digestive issues, immune system depletion, weak adrenal glands, insomnia and chronic fatigue.
The constant fear of trauma and abuse brings our attention upward to the chakras of perception and mental activity. We are no longer grounded in our bodies and rather than listen to our bodies from within, we search outside for others to tell us what and when to eat, how much to sleep, who to love, etc. Eating disorders are often a 1st chakra manifestation. We can either try to ground ourselves more solidly by overeating or fail to eat enough in an effort to disappear or because we do not feel we have a right to be here. If part of the abuse was trauma around food or anger at the dinner table the possibility of eating disorders developing increases.
A traumatic or abusive childhood can result in the root chakra working either excessively or deficiently. In a state of deficiency the symptoms include: disconnection from the body, being underweight, emotions of fear, anxiety and inability to settle down, poor focus and discipline, financial difficulties, poor boundaries and chronic disorganization.
An excessive root chakra includes the following symptoms: obesity or overeating, hoarding, material fixation or greed, being sluggish, lazy or tired, fear of change or addiction to security and rigid boundaries.
A healthy root chakra is associated with safety, security and solidity. In order to correct damage done to the first chakra from an abusive childhood we must learn to ground ourselves as adults. Being energetically grounded is crucial to our basic well being.
Personally, I spent many years in therapy with excellent therapists. Certainly I made much progress towards healing. However, it was not until I began working with a therapist that understood the need for me to come more fully into my body that I could truly heal. When I would be spinning off into one emotion or another, she would bring me back with the question, “where do you feel it in your body?”. Over time I was able to become more grounded and therefore more emotionally and physically healthy.
Healing strategies for a damaged root chakra include finding ways to reconnect with our bodies through massage, grounding meditations of visualizations, spending time in nature, yoga or other movement exercises and dancing. It is about reclaiming our right to be here.
The following affirmations may be helpful:
- It is safe for me to be here. - The earth supports me and meets my needs. - I love my body and trust its wisdom. - I have abundance in my life. - I am here and I am real.