It wasn‘t that bad...
Hands up anyone who thinks of trauma as something dramatic and enormous - being caught up in warfare, perhaps, or being the victim of a criminal act; seeing someone you love badly injured or thinking you were going to die in a horrible accident.
These experiences are obviously traumatic and will require patience and care in order to be successfully processed. But what about the quieter, subtler psychological and emotional injuries meted out to some children daily over the course of years? Often by well-intentioned parents or other authority figures whose goal isn‘t to damage but rather to teach, to help the child become socialised.
Many people have told me that what happened to them as children ‘wasn‘t that bad‘ and that therefore they ‘shouldn‘t need help‘; that ‘others had it much worse‘ and what are they ‘making such a fuss about‘? There is a sense of conflict within as these people feel partly that they shouldn‘t need or don‘t deserve help while simultaneously craving that help, support and empathy. Here‘s where the simple experience of being really heard and acknowledged can be deeply healing. Yes, to your child-self that experience or series of experiences was hurtful and discouraged you from trusting that the world is a safe place - even though to your adult-self it seems insignificant and easy to trivialise; especially when you are trying so hard to be fair and loyal to your parents or to another person who made you feel bad. Many of us struggle to acknowledge the validity of the child part of ourselves - we will tend to close our ears and dismiss it. But we know this doesn‘t work - if it did, we wouldn‘t feel pulled in different directions by our own competing needs.
So my strong feeling is that this stuff is important, does deserve hearing and won't go away until it‘s better understood. Others may have had it bad but your experience is important; it had an impact on you then and that impact lingers. Surely that‘s enough of a fact to make it worthy of your attention? You can feel better if you give your attention to your own healing.
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