At times, healing from trauma can feel like a struggle to grasp just who is in control of this journey, which way we are going, and if it’s even moving forward at all. On top of that, working through multiple traumas can be confusing, trying to figure out what to work on first, or next.
I’ve written before about not trying to control your healing journey and being open to where it takes you. If we try to force our recovery in a certain direction, it can often result in frustration and setbacks. Letting it unfold naturally can yield powerful results over time as your mind gives you what it feels you are ready for, and with a professional helping you makes sense of it all.
Remember, healing is not a race, it’s a journey. Embracing every part of this trip, stopping to take in the feelings along the way is crucial. After all, if we’re committed to overcoming our past and having the life we feel we deserve, then we definitely don’t want to skim over any part of recovery as we’re zipping along trying to get to overcome the next obstacle that’s in our path.
Let’s look at this in two ways:
- How having multiple traumas can feel confusing, trying to figure out if one takes priority over another.
- How trauma is cumulative, building on itself, but also how healing also builds on itself.
So what happens when part of you wants to “hurry up and heal already” and another part of you wants nothing to do with making any progress? You want to work on something but you aren’t sure what. You are questioning this journey but you know it’s important to keep trying.
Your helping professional (life coach, therapist, or counselor) is there to help you make sense of what’s going on. You wish they would just lead the way and tell you what to do, but in reality it’s up to you to lead the way and for them to be a support system. They will offer tools, techniques, advice, and insight, but ultimately it’s up to us to decide what to do with it and what to do next. Your sessions evolve based on what you share, and the activities you do are designed to bring out the feelings inside.
This can result in a bit of a power struggle, so to speak. You want to heal, but it’s so hard. You’re confused, but the answers your professional is giving you aren’t what you want to hear. You want to stop, but they encourage you to dig deeper.
One of the big internal struggles I had, was that I wished so much that my helping professional just say, “do this, do that, and this, and then that”. That way I would feel like I had a solid direction in recovery. It’s not often that I wish someone would control what I’m doing, but in this case that’s pretty much what I was wanted for a long time. In my mind, this would help comfort me when I felt stuck, didn’t know what I felt, why I felt it, or what to explore next.
Some of the traumas that I have explored in my journey include:
- Inner Child, and the various inner children that make up my collective inner child.
- The childhood sexual abuse trauma.
- The narcissistic abuse trauma.
- The bullying trauma.
- Trying to not control this journey, and having faith that I’m putting in the work necessary to continue healing.
- The trauma of failed past relationships.
When you begin to realize just how many traumas have been part of your life, it can stir up emotions like anxiety, frustration, anger, confusion; insert your own here. You may begin to think that if you work on one, you are neglecting the others; essentially sacrificing other healing opportunities for the sake of exploring just one in particular.
In reality, it’s not a matter of sacrificing one for another, because trauma work often intersects at various times along your journey. Case in point, the traumas that Ilisted above are all cumulative and have all intersected, and continue to, in my particular healing journey:
- Working with childhood sexual abuse trauma leads to inner child work.
- Inner child work leads to narcissistic abuse work.
- Narcissistic abuse work leads to understanding why we couldn’t stand up to the bullies.
- Understanding why I was bullied leads to understanding why I feel a total lack of control in my life at times.
- Feeling out of control leads to stressful relationship interactions.
Every survivors journey is different, and your list is likely different from mine, but the key thing to remember is to try to not compartmentalize each one so much that we end up failing to see how interconnected and cumulative they are.
So knowing that, we can then ascertain that healing work also builds on itself and intersects. We gain skills, knowledge, and confidence with each step, working through each trauma in its own time, which helps us to handle the next one.
- The skills you gain as your learn to understand and love your inner child, lead to greater self-love, awareness, and compassion for adult self and others.
- That self-love leads to putting up healthy boundaries and enforcing them, because you know you are worth it.
- Those healthy boundaries lead to healthy relationships at work, at home, and with friends.
- Healthy relationships help foster self-love, self-confidence, and a solid support system.
I encourage you to look at your journey and the work you are doing, and see how things intersect and overlap both in what happened in the past and what you are doing now to heal.
Take heart friends! Even though it can be frustrating to realize that trauma is cumulative, is equally encouraging to know that healing is also cumulative. That healing, the intersecting and overlapping of skills gained during recovery leads to resilience. And resilience goes a long way in every aspect of our lives.
Pictures courtesy of Pixabay. Social Media images created by Matt Pappas.