Your pain is the breaking from the shell that encloses your understanding.
– Kahlil Gibran
The aim of this article is to let the healing in the traumatized child. Carl Jung said: ” In every single adult there lurks a kid – an eternal child, something which is always becoming, is never completed and necessitates unceasing care, attention and education. This is the area of the human personality which would like to develop and become whole.” Healing from trauma can be a complex and courageous journey 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 course of normal development by its repetitive intrusion of terror and helplessness into the survivor’s life. Chronic child abuse brings about fragmentation of the overall personality. Under these conditions identity formation is stymied plus a reliable sense 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 your personality already formed, but repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality.” The kid trapped in abusive circumstances must try to preserve feelings of hope, trust, safety, and meaning under terrifying conditions, which contradict those basic needs. To thrive, the traumatized child must resort to dissociation. The abusers, who your child is unconditionally dependent on, has to be preserved within the child’s psyche as caring and competent, to be able to ensure survival. The principal attachment has to be preserved at any cost. Because of this the kid may deny, wall off, excuse or minimize the abuse. Complete amnesias known as dissociative states may occur. Dissociation can be so severe which a fragmentation of your 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 mainly responsible for the abuse. Paradoxically this tragic conclusion provides the abused child hope that’s/he could change his/her circumstances by becoming ‘good’. Yet inspite of the child’s relentless and futile efforts to become ‘good’, deep within she feels no person really knows how vile her true self is, and in case they did it would most likely ensure exile and ostracism. For the kids 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.
Just as much as the kid struggles to deny, minimize, bargain with and co-exist with the abuse, the impact of chronic trauma seeps to the deep recesses of the psyche and within your body. Psychologist and author Alice Miller states, “our childhoods are kept in your body.” Exactly what the conscious mind refuses to ‘know,’ the psychological and physical symptoms express. Your 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 from the body.
Long after the danger is past, traumatized people relive the events as though it were continually recurring within the present. Traumatic events are re-experienced with 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 related to the trauma are avoided through denial and numbing The survivor experiences restricted affect, no recall, diminished interests, along with an overall sensation 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 a desperate longing for protection and love, and simultaneously fueled by fears of abandonment and exploitation. From this place, safe and appropriate boundaries can not be established. Because of this patterns of intense, unstable relationships occur, by which dramas of rescue, injustice, and betrayal are repeatedly enacted. Hence, the survivor are at further likelihood of repeated victimization in adult life.
Recovery from chronic trauma and abuse cannot occur in isolation. The childhood trauma requires a reparative, healing connection with a therapist who can bear witness into a history fraught with inhumanity, while offering empathy, insight, and containment. Through this relationship healing can occur. Control can be restored, along with a renewed experience of personal power and link to others. For progression in recovery to happen the capability for self-care and soothing must be established. The ability to develop 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 need a bereavement process. The survivor must fully face that which was done, and exactly what the traumas led the survivor to do under extreme circumstances. The survivor is challenged to mourn the decline of one’s integrity, the decline of trust, the capacity to love, along with the belief in a ‘good enough parent’. The survivor now has the ego strength to manage the profound amount of despair that could have shattered her in childhood. From the mourning process, the survivor actually starts to reevaluate her identity like a ‘bad’ person, and also in so doing begins to feel deserving of relationships that allow for authenticity and nourishment. Eventually the survivor experiences the traumatic experience as part of earlier times, and is able to rebuild her life from the present. The long run now offers possibility and hope.
“Being able to state that the first is a survivor is undoubtedly an accomplishment. For several, the strength is in the name itself. However comes a time within the individuation process if the threat or trauma is significantly past. Then is definitely the time to attend the following stage after survivorship, to healing and thriving.” At this point the trauma survivor is ready to move beyond survival to show freed up potentials. Engaging more actively in the world needs the survivor to determine and pursue ambitions and goals that were previously dormant. She actually is now able to connect past the wounded self/ego and embark on life coming from a place of Divine creativity. She is able to love beyond the personality and extend herself through empathy and repair. As an alternative to have trouble with childhod loneliness, fear, powerlessness and myriad forms of suffering, she actually is accessible to and happy with everything life contains. She actually is aware that the lessons towards growth are numerous.
A lot of the reparative work at this time of recovery involves challenging nihilistic and fatalistic assumptions about the self and also the world. The trauma survivor set on thriving, is challenged to provide life to your perspective, a philosophy that goes against her internalized beliefs, and also to reconstruct possible that makes room for the existence of faith and hope. For this particular to take place the ego must adhere to the abstract for a deeper transcendent meaning. Creativity, emotionally healthy spirituality, philosophy, mythology, ethics, service, personal integrity, etc. are all a part of that exploration. This exploration lends itself for the survivor discovering a spiritual perspective that may be sustaining and affords connection to others.
Integral to this particular spiritual perspective may be the journey towards healing and actualization. This journey has gotten on the deeply complex metaphysical meaning, and yes it informs one’s sensation of pride and purpose. It is actually a journey towards wholeness, where the Divine Child archetype is encountered. Embodied in this particular archetype is definitely the totality in our being and the transformational power that propels us across the path of personal growth. It really is here that you discovers one’s true Self.