Instead, the pathway to healing can be dark. It can feel daunting. There are ups and downs along the way. Recovery takes time, patience, and effort.
There will be moments of roller coaster emotions. Everything from sadness, frustration, legitimate anger, physical pain, and grief. You may experience nightmares, triggers, or find your body slammed into the "fight, flight, or freeze" mode.
Trauma and grief go hand in hand. We may grieve our stolen innocence from childhood, a dysfunctional family, bulling, psychological abuse, sexual assaults, broken relationships, and ending up as the family scapegoat. Or perhaps you have been a victim of domestic abuse, a violent crime, or you battle mental health challenges?
Unresolved trauma can hinder the healing pathway. We must understand that we cannot ignore it, pretend it never happened, or try to "get over it" without even dealing with it. That is actually not the least bit effective or helpful. Rather, it will keep you stuck and going in circles.
Doesn't it make logical sense to get to the root of the problem? To unravel the core issues. To dig into the depth of your soul to acknowledge, address, and confront what's hurting you.
Dr. Gabor Mate', who is a bestselling author, speaker, and physician, states, "The attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain." He shares that there is a direct correlation between trauma and addiction.
This does not mean that all abuse and trauma survivors have addictions. What it does mean is that most people who battle addictions did experience abuse and trauma.
According to Dr. Gabor Mate', “Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there. As we’ll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain.”
If you or your loved one struggle with alcohol, gambling, drugs (including prescriptions), overspending, binging or purging, pornography, or a sex addiction, this is escapism. While it may be unconscious or you may not even be aware, you are avoiding the "real" problem.
Numbing out to minding-warping drugs or any addictive behaviors can prolong your recovery. It can keep you in a vicious cycle. Before you can even start to work on your trauma, you must first admit that you have one or more addictions.
The addiction recovery will come first. It may include admission into a rehabilitation program, counseling, community programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, or various forms of sober living.
Following that, you can move forward to focus on healing from your past abuse, PTSD, and/or trauma. For some folks, therapy is beneficial. For others, therapy has you repeatedly telling the same stories over and over and over. Rehashing old trauma wounds can prevent genuine healing.
The good news is that there are other options. This is when Somatic Experiencing can be advantageous to your recovery.
Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) was developed by Peter A. Levine, PhD to address the effects of trauma. Levine developed this approach after observing that prey animals, whose lives are routinely threatened in the wild, are able to recover readily by physically releasing the energy they accumulate during stressful events. Humans, on the other hand, often override these natural ways of regulating the nervous system with feelings of shame and pervasive thoughts, judgments, and fears. Somatic Experiencing aims to help people move past the place where they might be “stuck” in processing a traumatic event.
To learn more, I recommend two books by Peter A. Levine:
- Walking The Tiger: Healing Trauma
- Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body
Today, have the courage to do the hard work of recovering from child abuse, sexual assaults, addictions, PTSD, narcissistic abuse, and/or trauma. When your painful wounds are resolved, you can move forward to live a higher quality of life.
It will open new doors for you in your physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. Best of all, when you end the cycle of abuse and start to heal, you will be a testimony to help others heal, too.
#CSA #PTSD #GenerationalAbuse #Narcissist #Healing #EndTheAbuseCycle #MeToo