Thursday, August 31, 2017

How We Learned To Deal With Trauma

Written by Don Shetterly

When you grow up in situations where trauma and abuse along with emotional and mental manipulation are what you know, you never quite have a fighting chance early in life.  How we learned to deal with trauma and stress was anything but normal for us.

We were never given the tools to know what to do.  We were never taught how to deal with the situations in which we found ourselves.

We grew up learning to survive.  We grew up learning to find the way through what was happening to us in the best way we knew how.  We often were focusing our attention on that moment of abuse we were enduring.  There was no learning how to deal with the trauma, let alone the stress in our lives.

Many of us found coping mechanisms to escape what was being done.  Some of us just stuffed it deep down inside.  Some of us tried to match the pain through the self-inflicted harm we did to our bodies.  These were survival techniques we employed because we knew nothing else.

As life continued, we faced new stressors and situations in life.  The usual part of growing up in a world that is sometimes far too harsh presented more challenges.  Our early go-to techniques did not match up to what we needed for those moments, and so the trauma replayed over and over.  The stress continued to build.

Foreign Invaders Of Our Mind and Body...

Regardless, we knew we had found a way to survive through all the abuse and trauma we had once endured, so we didn't give up.  We kept fighting.  We kept trying to figure it all out, but far too often, our insight was formed because of what we had to do to survive.  What we needed to do for our body and our mind became foreign invaders that we did not trust.

As we get to our current day, the techniques that once served us well and how we survived now fall short.  They exhaust us because they no longer do what we need for them to do.  We struggle, and we fight.  Some of us fall victim to this through suicide, cutting, chronic conditions, conversion disorder, anxiety, depression and a whole host of other outcomes.

Healing is not easy.  Learning to deal with trauma and stress without the necessary tools is an epic challenge.  I know in my own life that I had to see the things which once helped me survive no longer serve a useful purpose.  In their place, I needed to find new tools that would help.

When you have been through abuse and trauma, you become the parent to yourself and so starts the journey of learning how to deal with all of this.  You become the teacher and the student at the same time.  We did not learn to deal with trauma or stress, and now it impacts every facet of our lives.

This is where support of others who have been through this comes in to help.  It is where therapists and qualified practitioners that know how to walk through the fires of trauma and abuse help our healing.  It is where the process of healing, little by little, unfolds and helps awaken us to more of who we are, that we have hidden all these years.

Learning to deal with trauma and abuse is not something that is easy.  It is a challenge on our best days, and a horror filled nightmare on our worst days.

I have found in my own life that regardless of what was done to me and what I went through, I can heal and thrive and conquer so much of what was done to me.  I will not say it is easy.  I will not say it is a quick process, but I know it is one that I'm winning.

I have learned that to heal, I must feel in my body and that the more I can safely do this, the more I comprehend.  The trauma and abuse were stored in our body, and for me to fully heal all that was done, the body is at the center of these endeavors.

Yes, I have my good days and my bad days, but my life now is much more hopeful and full of possibility than it once was.  I know that even though I never learned to deal with trauma and abuse as a kid, I'm now coming to a greater understanding of what that means for my own life.  There is hope and possibility through trauma.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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