Your pain will be the breaking of your shell that encloses your understanding.
– Kahlil Gibran
The purpose of this information is to let the healing in the traumatized child. Carl Jung said: ” In every adult there lurks a young child – an eternal child, a thing that is always becoming, is rarely completed and requires unceasing care, attention and education. Which is the area of the human personality which would like to develop and be whole.” Healing from trauma can be a complex and courageous journey to the eternal child…returning to the inherent longing for wholeness.
Trauma can be 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 in the survivor’s life. Chronic child abuse brings about fragmentation from the overall personality. Under these conditions identity formation is stymied along with a reliable sense of independence within connection is ruptured.
Judith Herman, M.D., wrote in her own groundbreaking book “Trauma & Recovery”, “repeated trauma in adult life erodes the structure 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 feeling of hope, trust, safety, and meaning under terrifying conditions, which contradict those basic needs. To thrive, the traumatized child must turn to dissociation. The abusers, who the kid is unconditionally determined by, should be preserved from the child’s psyche as caring and competent, in an attempt to ensure survival. The key attachment should be preserved at any cost. Consequently the child may deny, wall off, excuse or minimize the abuse. Complete amnesias generally known as dissociative states may occur. Dissociation is really so severe which a fragmentation in the personality can lead to the emergence of alter personalities.
The pinnacle of tragedy is the child must conclude that it is 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 despite the child’s relentless and futile efforts to be ‘good’, deep within she feels no one really knows how vile her true self is, and in case they did it would certainly ensure exile and ostracism. For kids who happen to be sexually abused this perception of self as damaged goods is extremely profound. The sexual violation and exploitation through the abuser becomes internalized as further proof her innate badness.
As much as your child struggles to deny, minimize, bargain with and co-exist using the abuse, the impact of chronic trauma seeps in the deep recesses of your psyche and in the body. Psychologist and author Alice Miller states, “our childhoods are kept in our bodies.” Exactly what the conscious mind refuses to ‘know,’ the psychological and physical symptoms express. The body talks about the abuse through chronic hyper-arousal and also 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 like it were continually recurring in the present. Traumatic events are re-experienced in an intrusive-repetitive fashion. Themes are re-enacted, nightmares and flashbacks occur, and there exists a persistent state of danger and distress.
States of denial and numbing alternate together 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, as well as an overall sense of detachment.
As survivors make an attempt 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. From this place, safe and appropriate boundaries cannot be established. Consequently patterns of intense, unstable relationships occur, by which dramas of rescue, injustice, and betrayal are repeatedly enacted. Hence, the survivor is at further risk of repeated victimization in adult life.
Recovery from chronic trauma and abuse cannot happen in isolation. The childhood trauma requires a reparative, healing experience of a therapist who will bear witness to a history fraught with inhumanity, while offering empathy, insight, and containment. Through this relationship healing may appear. Control can be restored, plus a renewed experience of personal power and link to others. For progression in recovery to happen the ability for self-care and soothing must be established. The ability to create a modicum of predictability and self-protection are also 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 need a bereavement process. The survivor must fully face what was done, and what the traumas led the survivor to perform under extreme circumstances. The survivor is challenged to mourn the losing of one’s integrity, losing trust, the ability to love, and the belief within a ‘good enough parent’. The survivor has the ego strength to manage the profound degree of despair that might have shattered her in childhood. From the mourning process, the survivor actually starts to reevaluate her identity as a ‘bad’ person, and then in so doing begins to feel worthy of relationships that enable for authenticity and nourishment. Eventually the survivor experiences the traumatic experience as a part of days gone by, and is ready to rebuild her life inside the present. The long run now offers possibility and hope.
“Having the ability to point out that the first is a survivor is definitely an accomplishment. For several, the energy is with the name itself. But comes an occasion inside the individuation process when 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 time the trauma survivor is able to move beyond survival to show freed up potentials. Engaging more actively in the world necessitates the survivor to determine and pursue ambitions and goals which were previously dormant. She actually is now capable to connect past the wounded self/ego and participate in life from a host to Divine creativity. She is able to love past the personality and extend herself through empathy and repair. Rather than battle with childhod loneliness, fear, powerlessness and myriad forms of suffering, she actually is available to and happy with all of that life contains. She actually is conscious of the teachings towards growth are lots of.
Most of the reparative work at this stage of recovery involves challenging nihilistic and fatalistic assumptions in regards to the self as well as the world. The trauma survivor intent on thriving, is challenged to offer life to some perspective, a philosophy that is the opposite of her internalized beliefs, and to reconstruct a real possibility that makes room for the presence of faith and hope. For this to take place the ego must affix to the abstract for a deeper transcendent meaning. Creativity, emotionally healthy spirituality, philosophy, mythology, ethics, service, personal integrity, etc. are part of that exploration. This exploration lends itself on the survivor discovering a spiritual perspective that is sustaining and affords connection to others.
Integral to this particular spiritual perspective is definitely the journey towards healing and actualization. This journey has brought over a deeply complex metaphysical meaning, and it informs one’s sense of pride and purpose. This is a journey towards wholeness, where Divine Child archetype is encountered. Embodied in this archetype is the totality of our own being and the transformational power that propels us along the path of personal growth. It can be here that certain discovers one’s true Self.