Have I healed From Childhood Trauma?
As I read through the draft of my nearly completed book, I skimmed over a part that I knew reading it, wasn’t quite complete and that was the details of the second time I was abused my by other grandfather (I was sexually abused by both my grandfathers) and to be honest there’s a big resistance to looking at and writing those details. Thinking about those events still hurt from time to time and makes me feel physically sick. The very fact that it still hurts 30 years on, got me thinking about a question I was asked a couple of months ago.. “Are you completely healed?”
I don’t know if I gave the pearls of wisdom answer the lady was looking for. Because I think ideally when we experience any kind of trauma, we’re all searching for ‘complete healing’, but what I really think that means is we’re looking to erase or deny the event. Sadly this will never happen. We can never erase what has happened, nor can we deny that it’s a part of our history, but we can learn ways of dealing with the event and apply a new meaning to it, so that it doesn’t limit our lives, relationships and our ability to move on. So the trauma doesn’t torment us and drive our behaviours, beliefs and attitudes towards people and life.
Am I completely healed? No. There are times that certain things trigger a memory, a feeling, or a thought, or when I look at my own daughter and I get upset or feel sorrow at the realisation that my innocence was taken from me, that I was denied the right to a childhood. There are times when I can’t always look fondly back on my childhood as others may. There are time when I feel saddened by the complete abandonment of my parents and wonder how, or why they chose that path.
I have healed in the sense that when these triggers or thoughts come up, I don’t avalanche into depression, destructive behaviours, or thinking. I have healed to a larger degree that I can remember or even talk about the abuse, feel the hurt (not all the time) and let it go, knowing that I no longer attach my self-worth or identity to it. I recognise that I am not tied to that event, nor am I am carrying it around with me anymore. I have healed in the sense that I don’t view the world through the eyes of a traumatised child. I don’t operate in the world from the wounds of my trauma.
Even though I have dealt with the pain of my childhood trauma, it’s perfectly natural to feel a loss for the things that are rightly deserved by all children. I believe that’s our primitive desire; to be loved, nurtured and to have the happy childhood story. I don’t deny myself the right to sometimes wish I had that. Even though I can’t give that to myself, I have the opportunity to give that to my own children.
That is the healing that those in similar experiences should try to work towards. Understanding, acknowledging that it happened and being able to talk about it, process it and deal with it in such a way that you are free from being attached to it.
That is my hope. That is why I speak out about my own experience of sexual abuse and my own experiences of how I have got to this point in my life. I want to share my story in the hope that many other ‘victims’ (I hate that word) can know that it’s possible to live without trauma running your life.
Professional counselling is a great resource to start to deal with your own trauma. Contact your GP to be referred.
LIFELINE is also on hand in times of crisis or when you’re feeling particularly vulnerable. Ph 13 1114
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