Into the light: Personal Responsibility & Healing Past Trauma
Even though we may have been wounded by others, it was
now our responsibility to heal past hurts.
Individuals suffering from complex post traumatic stress disorder with histories of chronic repeated trauma in their most formative years can become “children of the dark”, feeling contaminated, wandering through life searching for their soul. Going through the motions of living, yet feeling they don’t exist. Alienated from human connection, yet desperately seeking a place to rest.
Feelings of rage and murderous fantasies are normal responses to abusive treatment. Like abused adults, abused children are often rageful and aggressive. They often lack verbal and social skills for resolving conflict. They approach each new situation from a fight, flight position.
Even more than adults, children who develop in this climate of domination develop pathological attachments or bond traumatically to those who abuse and neglect them, attachments that they will strive to maintain even at the sacrifice of their own welfare, their own reality, or their lives.
Many believe that growing up will bring escape and freedom. Hampered by the burden of their earlier experiences they have great difficulty adapting to adult life. T hey hunger for rescue, to be loved, cared for and protected yet are haunted by the fear of abandonment or exploitation.
They seek out anyone who seems to offer the promise of a special care-taking relationship. By idealizing the person they become attached to, they attempt to keep at bay the constant fear of either being dominated or betrayed. They project onto the relationship their high expectations, huge demands and insatiable needs.
Sooner or later the helper falls from grace when they fail to live up to, by word or deed, or action, the huge needs, demands and expectations placed upon them. They become furious at the person they once adored. Unable to deal with interpersonal conflicts they develop a pattern of unstable relationships repeatedly enacting dramas of rescue, injustice and betrayal.
But as a human beings, no matter how wounded we have been by life we have a choice to move towards healing and light or to live out of our hurts and stay with the darkness. Human beings are neither all good or all bad. It is in the acceptance and integration of all aspects of ourselves that healing can and does occur.
“There comes a time in life when we have to take responsibility even for the hurts we were not responsible for.”
We have a right to feel angry and enraged at those who hurt and abuse us. In fact the expression of justified and righteous anger once we have owned it can be a powerful healing experience enabling us to move from a helpless position to empowerment and liberation.
What we have no right to do is to project by word, deed or action our displaced, disconnected or disowned anger and rage onto those who do not deserve it.
Recovery from complex child-hood traumas is possible, but only when we are ready to seek change. Research shows that with the right support, even severe early life trauma can be resolved. It also shows that when an adult has resolved their childhood trauma, it benefits their children or the children they may later have.
A sportive, trauma-informed practitioner will implement the key principles of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment above all else. Any trauma-informed practitioner should recognize that many problems, disorders and conditions are trauma-related. An awareness of the impacts of trauma (distinct from directly treating it) should always emphasizes a `do no harm’ approach.
No matter who you choose to see when you are ready to address the past, choose a practitioner who is committed to enabling a positive relational experience- something research and common sense tell us is necessary for both the resolution of trauma and the supportive relationship required for long-term success.
It’s not just the commitment to begin the process of healing, it’s also a commitment to finding the right practitioner for you. For more information on how to choose a recovery-professional, visit our “resources” page for helpful links.