Childhood trauma stops us from blossoming and developing naturally into who we are. As a consequence of abuse, neglect and violence, children go into survival mode and forget and lose touch with who they really are.
A child who experiences trauma, views the world and themselves very differently. Rather than discovering about themselves and their world naturally and safely, an abused child will shut off and be reactive or further internalise their experiences and become numb and disassociated to their natural inclinations, likes, dislikes and natural abilities.
Children of abuse, will begin to create layers of who they ‘need’ to be just to survive and be ok with the world outside. The more layers they create, the further away they are from who they are.
This is why so many who go through trauma over a long period of time, particularly in the critical stages of development have identity crisis, why we operate from protective mode and indulge in destructive habits. When you’ve had to protect yourself from the world for such a long time, you don’t know how else to be.
But it’s possible to remove these layers. It takes time to recognise these layers and choose which ones you need and which ones you can let go of.
I sought professional help early on to process the abuse I experienced. But uncovering and peeling back the layers required more than professional help.
To be able to recognise these layers I had created in response to trauma, I had to first be aware that those layers were there. That inherently who I had become, was a result of and reaction to my experiences. That is a crucial first step and one I believe is essential in starting the process of peeling back those layers and discovering who you were born to be.