This is a message for all of you who are dealing with the aftermath of a childhood where maybe your Dad was an alcoholic, maybe your parents were physically abusive to you, maybe you had a Mum who was not there for you emotionally, parents who did not love you unconditionally, or maybe you had a Grandad or Uncle who sexually abused you. Are you in the middle of trying to process and recover from these experiences? Are you giving yourself a hard time about not getting better quick enough or blaming yourself for having to go over what feels like the same issues again and again? If this is you, I want you to know that this type of trauma takes time to heal.
The long term effects of childhood trauma are multifaceted and multilayered. You can think of it as a complex structure that develops initially to protect us and to ensure our survival, but it continues to affect our behaviour and feelings. It takes time to dismantle and work through that.
We repress the original trauma and distressing emotions in childhood and then something in adulthood will trigger this stuff to come to the surface. When you reach down and unlock this stuff it can feel like an avalanche has just happened. This can feel catastrophic. You can feel like you are in the middle of the most stormy of seas, where you don't know if you will make it or drown. I want you to know that you will not drown. You have the capacity to deal with this, however awful and hideous it is. Know that at some point those waves will subside. The water will become calm again. Keep going. Don’t give up. Don’t feel that you are not doing this healing thing in the right way. Don’t feel like the fact that it is taking time for you to work through this stuff is any kind of sign of failure or that getting better is not possible. This is all part of the process.
I particularly want you to ignore the messages from various places that are demanding that you get better and stop feeling these horrible feelings as quickly as possible. This is the message that you get from the GP who wants to put you on antidepressants. It is the message that you get from certain Therapists who tell you that they can heal your childhood trauma in one session. What they are really expressing is their own fear. What they are really saying is, “I am too scared to look at my own feelings, so you looking at your feelings is absolutely terrifying to me.” It is incredibly challenging for people. When you dive into those dark, vulnerable places and explore those difficult, painful feelings, people who are in denial of their own trauma, pain and feelings find that terrifying.
I want you to know that this type of response and message has nothing to do with your recovery. The majority of society is obsessed with pushing their feelings away and keeping their ‘stuff’ locked down. The reason for that is because most of our emotional issues come from childhood. As children we were powerless. We could not even begin to address our emotions because we did not have the capacity or resources to comprehend it let alone process it. For many it was on ongoing situation. Therefore, locking it away was our only option for survival. Our mind kept it locked away by using fear. If we venture near it, begin to touch upon it, or get reminded of it the fear kicks in and ushers us away. The subconscious defence mechanism of repressing difficult, painful material and the mechanism that ensured it stayed that way, that protected you during childhood, continues during adulthood. However, when you are an adult, those childhood protective mechanisms are no longer helpful or true. You are now safe to feel those feelings. It may feel horrendous, terrifying or completely overwhelming, but feeling those feelings is safe now and it is how you are healing.
There is no requirement to rush this process. There is no agenda. You take as long as you need. I want you to know that those feelings are not a renewable source. Every time you feel that shame, fear, guilt, despair or helplessness; that is you processing another piece and there is a finite total amount. Even if there is a whole heap more of feelings for you to get through, every time you feel it that is another bit of it that has been processed. I promise you that at some point you will get through it and the past will no longer have the kind of intensity and the day-to-day effect that it is having at the moment.
I am not saying that things will never come up. What tends to happen is the waves and stormy waters of emotions and memories begin to settle. Yes, you may still get another big wave of feelings coming over you, but actually your capacity to process and move through that becomes so much stronger and the gap between those waves gets longer and longer.
If you are dealing with this stuff, I want you to know that you are a superhuman being. You may feel weak and vulnerable, but actually you are a walking miracle. I promise you that the courage, tenacity and intuition that you have is what sets you apart from all of the other people that are in denial of their stuff. At some point, sooner than you may feel at the moment, you will be able to use those skills and attributes in a creative and wonderful way. You will come to appreciate all the qualities, attributes and skills that you have and realise that not everyone has them. When we have had to dive into the darkest of places, into those hellish, horrible feelings, it means that our ability to see the full spectrum of beauty and light in this world and beyond is completely expanded. Way beyond somebody who has sat in the middle with a safe life or has not had those sorts of experiences. That is what you get to be able to do when you have been brave enough and willing enough to really process the past. You get to experience all the light and it is so worth it.
If you have any questions, if this has brought anything up then please do get in touch. You can book a FREE consultation here. You can also find lots of information on the website www.kirstywick.co.uk.
Want to learn more? Check out my weekly Facebook live #thursdaytherapy every Thursday at 1pm here on the Kirsty Wick Analytical Hypnotherapy page. Each week I chat about therapy, without the jargon, and look at different techniques, tools, share information and look at specific issues such as anxiety, relationships, self-esteem and confidence. Get in touch with any question you would like answered or an issue you are struggling with.