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Make it Make Sense: 3 Lessons We Gain from Trauma

Hi friends!

I hope you are taking good care of yourself in this spring season of weddings and graduations and Mother's Day and the school year winding down, etc. I know that for me, this year especially, I have noticed the graduation and holidays hitting harder than normal. I'm not entirely sure why, and I want to normalize that for you as well. Sometimes, seasons just strike us differently from year to year, and even therapists don't always know why this is.

I digress.

Anyways, I was having a conversation with a colleague today, and we were talking about... trauma, particularly childhood trauma from parents or caregivers. My colleague was discussing something that their mother had done to them in childhood that clearly demonstrated the lack of attachment/caring their parent received as a child. And I responded saying, "Well, that makes sense, and it still doesn't make it okay." Thus, the idea for this post was born. If you are working through trauma, especially from childhood or close personal relationships, at some point in your healing journey, you will recognize three things:

"It's not my fault."

Before healing, we often take on the responsibility of other people's behavior when it really has very little to do with us. We may find ourselves making excuses for a parent or caregiver who just couldn't or wouldn't show up in the ways we needed them to. Telling our small hurting child selves inside, 'Mom hit me because I was a hard child.' Or 'Grandpa sexually abused me because I never said no when it happened the first time." Part of working through trauma is releasing our child selves from the responsibility or guilt associated with someone else's decisions, actions or neglect.

"This wasn't normal or okay."

A pattern I've noticed over years of doing trauma therapy is that people often will tell me things about their childhood or in their relationships that would make a 'normal' person just drop their jaw in horror. And clients will be totally unaware initially how concerning the story they are telling me is. The moment we start to make some headway is when I can say to them gently, "You know, the feeling of discomfort or fear or unease you experienced is because what happened to you wasn't normal, and it wasn't okay." The relief people feel when they understand that their bodies and minds were reacting very normally to abnormal circumstances is a game changer for most.

"And now that I know more, what happened to me does make some sense. However, just because I can understand the context of someone's past wounded behavior, still doesn't make their actions justifiable or okay."

Whew. This one is the hardest for people, and it's because it requires us to move from a cognitive understanding of trauma and why it occurred into a soul-level understanding.

What do I mean by that? Soul level means you're able to see things for what they were, and your view of yourself no longer is held to the standard of your biggest wounds. Soul-level understanding often equates to forgiveness of the people who have hurt us, but not giving them increased access to our lives, our families, our careers, etc. You can love someone who hurts you, but with deep healing, you choose to love them from afar and with appropriate boundaries. When you've done the healing work, you can recognize that all people hurt people, and your view of the aggressors in your life might be more compassionate than before. And yet, you won't give them more room to wreak havoc or cause pain. That's change on a cellular/soul level. That's change that is generational and lasting. That is the healing we therapists hope for, for all of our clients.

Let me know if you are interested in partnering together to learn how these three lessons from trauma can apply to your life in particular. Know that I am rooting for you and your success.

Take exquisite care of yourself,


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