Your pain may be the breaking of your shell that encloses your understanding.
– Kahlil Gibran
The goal of this information is to let the healing of the traumatized child. Carl Jung said: ” In just about every adult there lurks a youngster – an eternal child, something that is definitely becoming, is never completed and demands unceasing care, attention and education. That is the section of the human personality which wants to develop and grow whole.” Healing from trauma is actually a complex and courageous journey returning to the eternal child…going back to the inherent longing for wholeness.
Trauma is a penetrating wound and injury, which threatens one’s life. Trauma arrests the path of normal development by its repetitive intrusion of terror and helplessness in to the survivor’s life. Chronic child abuse leads to fragmentation in the overall personality. Under these conditions identity formation is stymied along with a reliable sensation of independence within connection is ruptured.
Judith Herman, M.D., wrote in the groundbreaking book “Trauma & Recovery”, “repeated trauma in adult life erodes the structure of the personality already formed, but repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality.” Your child kept 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 use dissociation. The abusers, who the child is unconditionally influenced by, has to be preserved from the child’s psyche as caring and competent, in an attempt to ensure survival. The primary attachment must be preserved at any cost. Consequently the kid may deny, wall off, excuse or minimize the abuse. Complete amnesias known as dissociative states may occur. Dissociation is really so severe that the fragmentation in the personality could lead to the emergence of alter personalities.
The pinnacle of tragedy is that the child must conclude that it must be her inherent ‘badness’ that is accountable for the abuse. Paradoxically this tragic conclusion provides the abused child hope that’s/he can change his/her circumstances by becoming ‘good’. Yet regardless of the child’s relentless and futile efforts being ‘good’, deep within she feels no-one really knows how vile her true self is, and when they made it happen would definitely ensure exile and ostracism. For children who definitely are sexually abused this thought of self as damaged goods is extremely profound. The sexual violation and exploitation by the abuser becomes internalized as further proof of her innate badness.
Up to the little one struggles to deny, minimize, bargain with and co-exist using the abuse, the impact of chronic trauma seeps in the deep recesses from the psyche and within the body. Psychologist and author Alice Miller states, “our childhoods are held in our systems.” Precisely what the conscious mind refuses to ‘know,’ the psychological and physical symptoms express. The entire body speaks of the abuse through chronic hyper-arousal as well as through difficulties sleeping, feeding, and overall disruptions with biological functions. States of dysphoria (confusion, agitation, emptiness and utter aloneness) further amplify the disregulation in the body.
Long after the danger is past, traumatized people relive the events as if it were continually recurring within the present. Traumatic events are re-familiar with an intrusive-repetitive fashion. Themes are re-enacted, nightmares and flashbacks occur, and you will discover a persistent state of danger and distress.
States of denial and numbing alternate using the intrusive flooding of memories. The stimuli related to the trauma are avoided through denial and numbing The survivor experiences restricted affect, no recall, diminished interests, plus an overall feeling of detachment.
As survivors attempt to negotiate adult relationships, the psychological defenses formed in childhood become increasingly maladaptive. The survivor’s intimate relationships are driven by way of a desperate longing for protection and love, and simultaneously fueled by fears of abandonment and exploitation. From this place, safe and appropriate boundaries cannot be established. As a result patterns of intense, unstable relationships occur, in which dramas of rescue, injustice, and betrayal are repeatedly enacted. Hence, the survivor is in further risk of repeated victimization in adult life.
Recovery from chronic trauma and abuse cannot happen in isolation. The childhood trauma demands a reparative, healing experience of a therapist which will bear witness to your history fraught with inhumanity, while offering empathy, insight, and containment. Through this relationship healing can occur. Control could be restored, plus a renewed sense of personal power and connection to others. For progression in recovery to happen the capability for self-care and soothing must be established. The capability to build a modicum of predictability and self-protection will 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 require a bereavement process. The survivor must fully face what 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, the loss of trust, the ability to love, and also the belief inside a ‘good enough parent’. The survivor now has the ego strength to deal with the profound degree of despair that would have shattered her in childhood. Throughout the mourning process, the survivor actually starts to reevaluate her identity as being a ‘bad’ person, and then in so doing actually starts to feel worthy of relationships which allow for authenticity and nourishment. Eventually the survivor experiences the traumatic experience as an element of earlier times, and is ready to rebuild her life in the present. The future now offers possibility and hope.
“Having the capacity to state that one is a survivor is definitely an accomplishment. For many, the ability is incorporated in the name itself. But comes a time inside the individuation process if the threat or trauma is significantly past. Then is definitely the time to go to another stage after survivorship, to healing and thriving.” At this point the trauma survivor is able to move beyond survival to show freed up potentials. Engaging more actively on earth needs the survivor to determine and pursue ambitions and goals which were previously dormant. She actually is now capable of connect past the wounded self/ego and take part in life coming from a place of Divine creativity. She is able to love past the personality and extend herself through empathy and repair. Rather than struggle with childhod loneliness, fear, powerlessness and myriad kinds of suffering, she actually is open to and accepting of all that life contains. She actually is conscious that the teachings towards growth are many.
Most of the reparative work at this stage of recovery involves challenging nihilistic and fatalistic assumptions about the self and the world. The trauma survivor set on thriving, is challenged to give life to a perspective, a philosophy that goes against her internalized beliefs, as well as to reconstruct an actuality that creates room for the presence of faith and hope. With this to occur the ego must attach to the abstract for a deeper transcendent meaning. Creativity, emotionally healthy spirituality, philosophy, mythology, ethics, service, personal integrity, etc. are common element of that exploration. This exploration lends itself for the survivor discovering a spiritual perspective that is sustaining and affords link to others.
Integral for this spiritual perspective may be the journey towards healing and actualization. This journey has taken with a deeply complex metaphysical meaning, and yes it informs one’s feeling of pride and purpose. This is a journey towards wholeness, where the Divine Child archetype is encountered. Embodied with this archetype will be the totality of the being and the transformational power that propels us down the path of personal growth. It can be here that certain discovers one’s true Self.