“You’ve Seen My Descent, Now Watch My Rising!”
What Is Early Life Trauma?
Early life trauma can result from many things. If a child’s parent or sibling suffers from a physical or mental illness, if a close family member or friend dies, if a parent or sibling goes to jail, if a family looses their home, if a family’s financial conditions are such that they can only afford to live in unsafe neighborhoods, if a child is in a terrible accident or witnesses something frightening, if a child is teased mercilessly or bullied at school or at home…it can be extremely traumatic for them. When parents, family members, friends or members of the community abuse children physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally, when a parent or someone in the home abuses themselves with drugs, alcohol, or addictive behaviors, when one or both parents or other family members abuse each other or another person in the home, when friends, family members, neighbors, church members or others manipulate or take advantage of a child… there can be lifelong emotional lacerations.
Repercussions of Early Life Trauma
Trauma in one’s youth has many repercussions in adulthood. Some people find themselves making unhealthy choices by gravitating towards poisonous relationships, harmful situations and toxic behaviors. Others experience irrational fears or feel guilty saying NO even if it means they will suffer. Many find it impossible to escape destructive, codependent, enabling family dynamics. There’s a helpless, hopeless feeling that often leaves childhood trauma victims unequipped to fully handle life. If this is your experience, you may be trying hard to make changes, yet it still feels like you’re walking through an endless maze… no paths make sense… there’s no exit in sight. You feel angry, frustrated… broken. You’re not living the life you want to be living.
Help Begins Here
In therapy, there is a saying that “what gets repressed gets expressed.” In other words, in an effort to make something go away we often just choose not to deal with it (repression). Unfortunately, if emotional wounds are never tended to they don’t heal properly. They fester, and in some cases, become like an infectious disease in adulthood (expression). Sometimes a person is not aware that he or she is avoiding something. Events may have occurred which a person does not realize affected them or which they don’t think “should” have affected them.
Sometimes one can be aware of having experienced trauma, but feel it no longer impacts them because they “got over it” years ago. Sometimes people do know they are continuing to be affected by something, but it’s just too scary or daunting to delve into. They do the best they can until they reach an emotional breaking point which becomes too much to deal with on their own anymore. In situations like these, therapy can help a person begin to “express” in a safe and healthy way so that unhealthy patterns and feelings of shame, sadness, anxiety and depression can begin to dissipate. Therapy gives you a magnifying glass and a tool box so you can finally see what’s really going on and make adjustments. If you are ready to reach out, I’m here to help in whichever ways work best for you.
Recent Trauma & Crisis
If you have recently been in a car accident, witnessed something extremely frightening, been assaulted, gotten a divorce, lost a spouse, parent, child or other loved one…the distress, pain and suffering from such an ordeal can be unbearable and all-consuming. Experiences such as these often leave one feeling as if they are drowning. Life is no longer as it used to be. For many, it’s difficult to talk to others without melting down emotionally, so isolation sets in. Depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, confusion and a feeling of being completely lost become all too familiar. Your new life is a lonely, scary place to be…you want your old life back…but it’s been stolen from you.
Help Begins Here
If you are thinking of reaching out and getting help it’s a good indication that you still have at least an ounce of strength left. Therapy can help you expand that beam of light even if it feels faint right now. It can give you a toolbox, so you can begin to make sense of your world and feel some control over your new circumstances. We start with individual sessions. Later if there is a group beginning and you’d like to join, this may be an additional option. I’m here to help in whichever ways work best for you.