What do I need?
Have you already realised that you have experienced childhood trauma?
Perhaps you are now considering what to do next to actually begin to heal from this.
Here, I am taking a look at what a person who is looking to recover from trauma actually needs. First let’s take a look at a something that is very important in a recovery process.
Being traumatised has certain common impacts. One of these is that it is difficult to trust. If the people who were meant to love you unconditionally and protect you in the world actually wounded you, your trust can be shattered and once that bridge is broken it can be very challenging to rebuild it. The flip side of this is that some people trust indiscriminately - just trust everybody - and are actually quite gullible. However, it is important to realise that the responsibility for being able to trust doesn’t only lie with you. The other person also has to be worthy of your trust. It’s important not to just trust for the sake of it – trust has to be earned.
You might find a therapist who is really safe and knows what they are talking about and slowly but surely, over a number of years, build a trusting relationship with them. It is possible to build trust if you get a safe enough person.
But what does safe mean?
It means somebody who does not act their own trauma out on you and knows what is their past material and what is yours. Someone who is on your side and supports you. Someone who has a lot of experience working on themselves and is clear about what it takes to get well. Really importantly it is someone who doesn’t promp you to forgive prematurely and lets you first go through an organic process of authentic feelings.
We as a society hold a lot of collective beliefs which it can be difficult to unpick. One such belief is that everything has to be love and light. This is ‘new age thinking’ which talks you out of reality and puts you in a trance. An example of this would be telling you what happened to you in your childhood was actually your karma because of something you did in a past life. This story makes it difficult to have feelings like grief and anger.
Another belief we have currently in society is that you should ‘blame the victim’ which is a process which is designed to take you again out of your legitimate anger and put you off your own side.
Or you might be told that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, which isn’t true because childhood trauma can be very damaging and can have lifelong consequences which take a lot of hard work to recover from and this definitely doesn’t make you stronger.
With all these beliefs so prevalent it can take some input to find someone who is clear enough in themselves to be of use to you and to assist you in finding your way through this minefield.
So, finding someone safe and sane is really crucial. And well worth your time and energy.
Coming Out Of Hiding
One participant at The Coming to Life Project remembers the inner child group she went to there where we spent a lot of time discussing safety. For example, they discussed the types of feedback they would give each other and looked at having a strategy of only touching people if they first asked them if they wanted to be touched and they clearly said yes. They came up with a thorough list of guidelines.
This participant, however, was brought up to be really hard on herself so she thought spending so much time talking about safety was soft and time wasting and that they should be getting on with the hard work. But she was surprised to find that having this high level of safety in the group meant that the more vulnerable parts of herself began to feel safe enough to come out of hiding and show themselves and she had a chance at some much deeper healing. Safety is so important for the wounded parts of us to show up. She discovered aspects of herself she didn’t know existed through the safety of that group.
So, safety is probably something that you will need in order to get well and this can help you learn how to trust appropriately. Finding a good therapist can go some way to helping with this. They need to help you find your truth and make your way through unhelpful beliefs that society currently has. Through his process the more vulnerable parts of you can come out of hiding and be seen for probably the first time in many years.
I hope this gives you some ideas of ways to begin your healing journey if you are just starting out. The important thing is to just begin. You will discover the way forward actually though the doing of it.