Many of us are trauma survivors and don’t even know it. The traumatic experience occurred at such a young age, we have no conscious recollection of it. We weren't taught that even things we can't remember experiencing are stored in our bodies, running us like a computer program. We don’t know what our current pain is connected to, and the reason it feels so heavy is because we’ve been carrying it around for so long. We carry wounds from our childhood with us throughout the rest of our lives, until we heal them. In any instance, trauma causes changes in the wiring of the brain. Think of someone who has been abused by someone who is supposed to protect them. How would they learn what normal or rational behavior looks like?
By definition, abuse is devoid of any rationality. It defies logic. Two people who decide to conceive and bare offspring would seemingly not make this decision just to misuse and mistreat the very life they created. So when they do, children don't see something wrong with their parents, they see something wrong with themselves. They cannot fathom that this person who is caring for them would be responsible for them if their intention was to mistreat them. Therefore, there must be something they are doing to provoke this behavior from their caretaker. And this is where the child enters the state of denial.
Your mind creates a new identity in an effort to counter or tolerate the impact of being not only mistreated, but the subsequent shame you feel from blaming yourself for how you're being treated. What manifests is a vicious cycle of self-loathing and inner-turmoil, resulting in conditions like anxiety, insomnia, depression, irritability, resentment, and an inability to forge sustainable relationships. You want to have meaningful relationships, but you also don't know how to trust completely or be completely vulnerable. You start to self-medicate. You start smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol. Then you go to marijuana; and when that stops working, benzos. Before you know it, you’re taking uppers, because you have to work. Then downers because you can’t get to sleep and opiates to numb the pain.
Any time you are engaging in pleasure-seeking behavior, you are operating with an external locus of control. That means that you are searching for an external source of supply to fulfill whatever you're missing. Spending your energy on things that distract you take you further from your core. When you abandon your core identity, you are choosing to neglect anything connected to that identity. That includes your preferences, personality traits, values, strengths, and flaws. Over time, you subconsciously develop a false self comprised of unconscious behaviors linked to triggered core wounds, and an intense unwillingness to be vulnerable. Inadvertently, you've created an entire other identity you can feel safe presenting to the world. This false 'self' is referred to as the ego, and is operated almost exclusively by the subconscious mind.
Even if your mind is seemingly clueless, your body still knows. People who have had an awakening can vouch for this. You've repressed these negative feelings your whole life until something happens. Something that triggers your conscious mind to wake up and seek to retrieve the repressed images of events that were once so painful it could not even process them before. Your childlike psyche was too immature and utterly incapable of analyzing what you were feeling. But the brain—being the powerful life force that it is, is going to do what it does. Every time you feel something like hungry, sleepy, or hurt, your brain is (act)ivated. It then sends a signal to your body, to which you decide how you’re going to (re)act in order to feed whatever need you have that caused the feeling.
It could be something as innocent as needing to use the bathroom or take a nap. Maybe your stomach starts growling. Instantly you know that means it’s time to eat. Maybe it's another threat—one that triggers a familiar feeling or thought of when you had to decide how you were going to survive to get out of a situation. The images make up memories that your mind locked up and stored away until you were strong enough to deal with them. When you experience this, you have now navigated out of a place of denial into a place of awareness.