Your pain may be the breaking from the shell that encloses your understanding.
– Kahlil Gibran
The purpose of this post is to encourage the healing from the traumatized child. Carl Jung said: ” In each and every adult there lurks a young child – an eternal child, an issue that is always becoming, is never completed and necessitates unceasing care, attention and education. This is the section of the human personality which wishes to develop and grow whole.” Healing from trauma is really a complex and courageous journey back to the eternal child…going back to the inherent longing for wholeness.
Trauma can be a penetrating wound and injury, which threatens one’s life. Trauma arrests the course of normal development by its repetitive intrusion of terror and helplessness into the survivor’s life. Chronic child abuse results in fragmentation in the overall personality. Under these conditions identity formation is stymied plus a reliable sense of independence within connection is ruptured.
Judith Herman, M.D., wrote in their groundbreaking book “Trauma & Recovery”, “repeated trauma in adult life erodes the dwelling of your personality already formed, but repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality.” The child held in abusive circumstances must try to preserve a feeling of hope, trust, safety, and meaning under terrifying conditions, which contradict those basic needs. To live, the traumatized child must resort to dissociation. The abusers, who the child is unconditionally influenced by, should be preserved within the child’s psyche as caring and competent, to be able to ensure survival. The key attachment has to be preserved at any cost. Consequently the kid may deny, wall off, excuse or minimize the abuse. Complete amnesias referred to as dissociative states may occur. Dissociation can be so severe that a fragmentation of your personality may result in the emergence of alter personalities.
The pinnacle of tragedy is the fact that child must conclude that it must be her inherent ‘badness’ that is mainly responsible for the abuse. Paradoxically this tragic conclusion gives the abused child hope that’s/they can change his/her circumstances by becoming ‘good’. Yet despite the child’s relentless and futile efforts being ‘good’, deep within she feels no-one really knows how vile her true self is, of course, if they made it happen would definitely ensure exile and ostracism. For the kids who are sexually abused this perception of self as damaged goods is extremely profound. The sexual violation and exploitation through the abuser becomes internalized as further proof of her innate badness.
Around the kid struggles to deny, minimize, bargain with and co-exist together with the abuse, the impact of chronic trauma seeps into the deep recesses of your psyche and within the body. Psychologist and author Alice Miller states, “our childhoods are saved in the body.” Just what the conscious mind refuses to ‘know,’ the psychological and physical symptoms express. The body talks about the abuse through chronic hyper-arousal and also through difficulties sleeping, feeding, and overall disruptions with biological functions. States of dysphoria (confusion, agitation, emptiness and utter aloneness) further amplify the disregulation of your body.
Long after the danger is past, traumatized people relive the events like it were continually recurring inside the present. Traumatic events are re-experienced with an intrusive-repetitive fashion. Themes are re-enacted, nightmares and flashbacks occur, and there exists a persistent state of danger and distress.
States of denial and numbing alternate with all the intrusive flooding of memories. The stimuli associated with the trauma are avoided through denial and numbing The survivor experiences restricted affect, no recall, diminished interests, as well as an overall feeling of detachment.
As survivors make an attempt to negotiate adult relationships, the psychological defenses formed in childhood become increasingly maladaptive. The survivor’s intimate relationships are driven from a desperate longing for protection and love, and simultaneously fueled by fears of abandonment and exploitation. Out of this place, safe and appropriate boundaries can not be established. As a result patterns of intense, unstable relationships occur, by which dramas of rescue, injustice, and betrayal are repeatedly enacted. Hence, the survivor reaches further probability of repeated victimization in adult life.
Recovery from chronic trauma and abuse cannot occur in isolation. The childhood trauma takes a reparative, healing experience of a therapist which will bear witness into a history fraught with inhumanity, while offering empathy, insight, and containment. Through this relationship healing may appear. Control could be restored, in addition to a renewed sense of personal power and connection to others. For progression in recovery to take place the ability for self-care and soothing should be established. The capability to build a modicum of predictability and self-protection can also be necessary. Developing these life skills may entail the incorporation of medication management, relaxation techniques, bodywork, creative outlets, and establishing a replenishing home environment along with a responsibility towards basic health needs.
Traumatic losses also call for a bereavement process. The survivor must fully face that which was done, and precisely what the traumas led the survivor to complete under extreme circumstances. The survivor is challenged to mourn the loss of one’s integrity, losing trust, the ability to love, along with the belief in the ‘good enough parent’. The survivor presently has the ego strength to face the profound degree of despair that might have shattered her in childhood. From the mourning process, the survivor starts to reevaluate her identity like a ‘bad’ person, as well as in so doing starts to feel worth relationships that allow for authenticity and nourishment. Eventually the survivor experiences the traumatic experience as an element of the last, and is ready to rebuild her life from the present. The long run now offers possibility and hope.
“Being able to point out that one is a survivor is an accomplishment. For a lot of, the energy is with the name itself. And yet comes an occasion from the individuation process once the threat or trauma is significantly past. Then will be the time to visit the subsequent stage after survivorship, to healing and thriving.” At this time the trauma survivor is ready to move beyond survival to express freed up potentials. Engaging more actively in the world needs the survivor to distinguish and pursue ambitions and goals that were previously dormant. She is now able to connect past the wounded self/ego and take part in life from your place of Divine creativity. She is able to love past the personality and extend herself through empathy and service. Rather than have trouble with childhod loneliness, fear, powerlessness and myriad kinds of suffering, she is open to and accepting of everything life contains. She is conscious of the teachings towards growth are numerous.
Most of the reparative work at this time of recovery involves challenging nihilistic and fatalistic assumptions in regards to the self as well as the world. The trauma survivor set on thriving, is challenged to give life to your perspective, a philosophy that is the opposite of her internalized beliefs, as well as to reconstruct a real possibility which enables room for the existence of faith and hope. With this to take place the ego must adhere to the abstract for any deeper transcendent meaning. Creativity, emotionally healthy spirituality, philosophy, mythology, ethics, service, personal integrity, etc. are typical component of that exploration. This exploration lends itself towards the survivor discovering a spiritual perspective which is sustaining and affords link with others.
Integral to this spiritual perspective may be the journey towards healing and actualization. This journey has gotten on a deeply complex metaphysical meaning, and yes it informs one’s experience of pride and purpose. This is a journey towards wholeness, in which the Divine Child archetype is encountered. Embodied in this particular archetype may be the totality of our being and the transformational power that propels us over the path of personal growth. It really is here that you discovers one’s true Self.