Healing from Trauma: Understanding the Hijack Shackle

We all have traumatic experiences in life. And if we have a choice, we will choose to bury them at the back of our minds, left to be forgotten forever. In fact, many of us tend to develop unhelpful habits to numb the feelings attached to our traumas. Even though we are not aware of this most of the time, it impacts our responses and how we show up. How can we start freeing ourselves from these traumatic memories?

In this episode of the Master Your Mindset series, we tackle one of the five shackles that hold us back as humans — the hijack. I share the different manifestations of trigger responses from trauma and how trauma gets encoded in our brain. I also talk about the role of the subconscious in uncovering trauma and changing the beliefs attached to it.

If you’re seeking freedom from your traumatic experiences, this episode has a lot of information in store for you!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn more about the work I do as a coach and The Mindset Mentor.
  2. Discover how the hijack shackle manifests in our trauma responses.
  3. Find out the process of trauma encoding and learn the concept of landmines.


Episode Highlights

[01:22] Working with the Entire Coaching Spectrum

  • As a coach, I work with successful entrepreneurs and organisation leaders. 
  • The difference with the work I do from other coaches is working with the coaching spectrum’s entirety. It includes counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, non-directive coaching, directional coaching, mentoring and consulting.
  • With this level of expertise, I can provide suitable coaching forms according to my clients’ needs.
  • While most coaching looks only at the future, the coaching I offer to clients incorporates the past, present and future.

[04:46] Getting to Know the Mindset Mentor

  • Before setting up my business, I used to work in senior-level consulting and corporate to help transform businesses.
  • I bring the learnings that I’ve had from the transformational business space into personal change journeys.
  • Currently, I am finishing up my Advanced Executive Coaching qualification at Cambridge University. After that, I will be taking my PhD in professional coaching.
  • In addition to coaching, I also offer online programs for people who can’t work with me one-on-one.

[07:11] Peeling the Shackles

  • The essence of my book, You’re Better Than You Think You Are, identifies the five shackles holding back human beings. 
  • No matter how much adversity we experience, we are not broken — there’s nothing wrong with us at our core. 
  • However, we have shackles — layers of experiences and conditioning that make us show up as we do.
  • The shackles are the layers that we have to peel to get to our beautiful core. It is a continual practice we have to adhere to as we move forward.

[10:10] The Hijack and Trauma

  • One of the shackles I talk about in the book is the hijack. I chose the word ‘hijack’ because it sums up what is happening in the shackles.
  • It is the experience that happens in your body when you are triggered by something in your subconscious. 
  • This shackle is linked to trauma that every one of us has experienced.
  • The big ‘T’ trauma makes you think of a specific experience that represents the word ‘trauma’ for you.
  • The small ‘t’ trauma may be a one-off experience that has happened to you over the years that you don’t believe is a traumatic event. These traumas are just as impactful as the big T traumas.

[15:05] Trigger Responses

  • The stained glass windows shackles are linked to the beliefs we make about ourselves because of trauma.
  • You may also get a fight-or-flight response when trauma is triggered.
  • It then creates a sequence of events that makes you behave in a way I call the ‘facepalm response’ from the lack of control.

[16:21] Trauma Encoding

  • Four things need to be in place for trauma encoding to occur.
  • First, there should be an event that is directly happening to you.
  • Second is the brain’s vulnerable landscape, an electrochemical state that determines how environmental factors impact us. The opposite of this is the resilient landscape.
  • The third is a perceived feeling of inescapability. And fourth, there must be a perception of threat that the event will harm you in some way.
  • Tune in to the full episode to know in detail how our brains encode traumatic information and what landmines are!

[25:16] The Body’s Response to Trauma Encoding

  • The body physiologically responds to trauma encoding.
  • It manifests by switching your senses into a hyper-alert mode such as darting eyes, fast heart rate and breathing, sweating and more.
  • Previous experiences of trauma — whether big T or small t — sit on the amygdala like landmines waiting to be set off.
  • The guilt or shame response after a triggering episode leads you to do the shackle five.

[27:24] Where the Freedom Comes From

  • Freedom comes from identifying the pivotal moment in your history that holds the keys to the landmines. However, the memories of the initial event are often not in your conscious awareness.
  • When I’m working with leaders, I try to get them to work with me subconsciously. 
  • The goal is to change the belief you developed during a traumatic experience, thus also changing you show up today.
  • This psychodynamic form of reaching the subconscious is a way to free somebody from these traumatic memories.
  • We need to take responsibility for healing past traumas instead of behaving in victim mode. Through this, we can act in a way that will not hurt ourselves and other people.

5 Powerful Quotes

[08:32] ‘There is nothing wrong with us at our core; there are just layers and layers of experiences, conditioning, learning and circumstances that make us show up as we do’.

[09:23] ‘We need to move away from this need for instant gratification and recognise that this has to be something that we work at’.

[11:34] ‘Every single one of us, unless we’ve lived in a cotton wool bowl for most of our lives, will have experienced trauma at some point’.

[14:31] ‘Trauma can equally be smaller, perhaps even one-off things, that occur that have deep meaning attached to them because of the emotional charge that occurs during the event’.

[30:57] ‘I need to take responsibility, and I need to learn to behave in different ways and learn to heal those past traumas so that those landmines have their fuses taken out with them, and they can’t hurt me anymore and nor can they hurt others’.

Enjoy the Podcast?

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For more updates and episodes, visit my website. You can also tune in on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Podbean

My new book You’re Better Than You Think You Are is available to buy right now on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Youre-Better-Than-You-Think/dp/B08PJPQDK5/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1611239933&sr=8-1


To defining success,