Trauma and abuse are different for each person; trauma and abuse are perceptional. Two people experiencing the same event may not perceive it to be traumatic. Peter A. Levine in "Trauma Through a Child's Eyes", reminds us that trauma is in the nervous system - not the event! "Trauma happens when any experience stuns us like a bolt out of the blue; it overwhelms us, leaving us altered and disconnected from our bodies. Any coping mechanisms we may have had are undermined, and we fell utterly helpless and hopeless. It is as if our legs are knocked out from under us."
"Trauma refers to events that could not be assimilated. If the traumatic event could not be taken in, it cannot be linked with other experience, and there is now a structural dissociation of experience." (Van der Hart et al., 2004) The result of trauma is dissociation, however, dissociation does not necessarily require trauma. (Howell, Elizabeth F. The Dissociative Mind)
Personality development affected by early trauma. Associated possible Symptoms include: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Per Elizabeth Howell, "DID is simply an extreme version of the dissociative structure of the psyche”. "Dissociation, in a general sense, refers to a rigid separation of parts of experience, including somatic experience, consciousness, affects, perception, identity, and memory. When there is a structural dissociation, each of the dissociated self-states has a least a rudimentary sense of I?
Many survivors have lost decades to self-destructive coping patterns. No matter what you've done, the most important thing is that you have survived. If you use whatever resources you had to make it to your childhood, so you could grow up and become an adult with the opportunity and free will to heal. Quite literally, many survivors would have died if it weren't for their coping mechanisms.
We should be proud of our resourcefulness in staying alive, yet many of us feel terribly shamed instead. The truth is, as a traumatized, isolated, and frighten young person, you did what ever you had to do to survive the abuse. And one should grow up, he continued the same patterns of behavior because they worked for you, at least for a while, because they become habits, because she still didn't have other options.
The important thing is that you've grown up since then. You have the ability to re-examine your life. You can stop doing things you're ashamed of and began the painstaking work of changing your behavior. But you have to start by forgiving yourself for the things you've done in order to cope. Feeling ashamed and terrible about yourself can keep you trapped and powerless, unable to mobilize your energy to make the necessary changes in your life.
Finding and making meaning in your life, is ultimately the journey we take together! When you are ready to take a journey of self discovery and achieve healthy personal empowerment, call me. Let the journey begin! Virtual (secure video conferencing) and telephone sessions available.
As your Transformational Coach, we can work together in finding new and effective ways for moving forward.
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