Your pain is the breaking in the shell that encloses your understanding.
– Kahlil Gibran
The aim of this post is to let the healing of the traumatized child. Carl Jung said: ” In every adult there lurks a young child – an eternal child, an issue that is definitely becoming, is never completed and demands unceasing care, attention and education. This is the part of the human personality which wishes to develop and become whole.” Healing from trauma is really a complex and courageous journey to the eternal child…going back to the inherent longing for wholeness.
Trauma is really 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 to the survivor’s life. Chronic child abuse results in 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 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 little one kept in abusive circumstances must find a way to preserve a sense of hope, trust, safety, and meaning under terrifying conditions, which contradict those basic needs. To live, the traumatized child must make use of dissociation. The abusers, who your child is unconditionally determined by, needs to be preserved in the child’s psyche as caring and competent, so as to ensure survival. The primary attachment has to be preserved at any cost. For that reason the child may deny, wall off, excuse or minimize the abuse. Complete amnesias called dissociative states may occur. Dissociation is really so severe that a fragmentation of the personality may result in 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 supplies the abused child hope that’s/they can change his/her circumstances by becoming ‘good’. Yet inspite of the child’s relentless and futile efforts being ‘good’, deep within she feels nobody really knows how vile her true self is, and when they made it happen would certainly ensure exile and ostracism. For the kids who definitely are sexually abused this perception of self as damaged goods is particularly profound. The sexual violation and exploitation with the abuser becomes internalized as further proof her innate badness.
Up to the child struggles to deny, minimize, bargain with and co-exist with all the abuse, the impact of chronic trauma seeps into the deep recesses from the psyche and in your body. Psychologist and author Alice Miller states, “our childhoods are held in the body.” Precisely what the conscious mind refuses to ‘know,’ the psychological and physical symptoms express. Your 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.
A long time after the danger is past, traumatized people relive the events as though it were continually recurring within the present. Traumatic events are re-proficient in an intrusive-repetitive fashion. Themes are re-enacted, nightmares and flashbacks occur, and you will find a persistent state of danger and distress.
States of denial and numbing alternate with the intrusive flooding of memories. The stimuli linked 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 make an effort to negotiate adult relationships, the psychological defenses formed in childhood become increasingly maladaptive. The survivor’s intimate relationships are driven with a desperate longing for protection and love, and simultaneously fueled by fears of abandonment and exploitation. Using this place, safe and appropriate boundaries should not be established. For that reason patterns of intense, unstable relationships occur, through which dramas of rescue, injustice, and betrayal are repeatedly enacted. Hence, the survivor are at further probability 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 who can bear witness into a history fraught with inhumanity, while offering empathy, insight, and containment. Through this relationship healing can happen. Control can be restored, in addition to a renewed sensation of personal power and link with others. For progression in recovery to occur the ability for self-care and soothing should be established. The capability to develop a modicum of predictability and self-protection may 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 and a responsibility towards basic health needs.
Traumatic losses also require a bereavement process. The survivor must fully face that which was done, and what the traumas led the survivor to accomplish under extreme circumstances. The survivor is challenged to mourn the loss of one’s integrity, losing trust, the capacity to love, as well as the belief in a ‘good enough parent’. The survivor presently has the ego strength to handle the profound measure of despair that would have shattered her in childhood. Through the mourning process, the survivor starts to reevaluate her identity like a ‘bad’ person, and also in so doing actually starts to feel deserving of relationships that allow for authenticity and nourishment. Eventually the survivor experiences the traumatic experience as an element of the last, and is able to rebuild her life inside the present. The long run now offers possibility and hope.
“Having the capacity to claim that one is a survivor is an accomplishment. For a lot of, the ability is within the name itself. However comes a period from the individuation process when the threat or trauma is quite a bit past. Then may be the time to attend the subsequent stage after survivorship, to healing and thriving.” At this time the trauma survivor is able to move beyond survival to show freed up potentials. Engaging more actively on earth needs the survivor to recognize and pursue ambitions and goals that have been previously dormant. She actually is now able to connect beyond the wounded self/ego and embark on life from a place of Divine creativity. She is able to love past the personality and extend herself through empathy and repair. Instead of battle with childhod loneliness, fear, powerlessness and myriad forms of suffering, she is accessible to and open to everything life contains. She actually is aware the teachings towards growth a wide range of.
A great deal of the reparative work at this time of recovery involves challenging nihilistic and fatalistic assumptions concerning the self and also the world. The trauma survivor set on thriving, is challenged to provide life to some perspective, a philosophy that is the opposite of her internalized beliefs, and to reconstruct an actuality that makes room for the presence of faith and hope. Just for this to occur the ego must adhere 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 to the survivor discovering a spiritual perspective that is certainly sustaining and affords link with others.
Integral to this particular spiritual perspective may be the journey towards healing and actualization. This journey is taking on the deeply complex metaphysical meaning, plus it informs one’s sense of pride and purpose. It is a journey towards wholeness, where the Divine Child archetype is encountered. Embodied with this archetype is the totality of the being and the transformational power that propels us over the path of personal growth. It is actually here that one discovers one’s true Self.