3 thoughts on “Traumatic Experience: 8 Misconceptions of Childhood Trauma

  • July 27, 2018 at 4:12 am

    Hi Tamara,
    For me, (and unfortunately perhaps others too) the trauma I suffered from the years of sexual abuse by my stepfather (whose birthday would have been today had he not died in January) seemed to be made worse in a sense by my mom’s reaction when she was told. It wasn’t mean or outright denial but at the same time, her actions–and inaction showed clearly that she was not going to show outrage on my behalf, kick him out, leave him, affirm my experience etc. Instead, she fell apart –and then shut down emotionally and physically. I believe that complicated my ability to cope and to begin healing because I was still made to live in the home with my abuser and the abuse continued after a two week or so reprieve. From that experience I felt for the longest time that she didn’t believe me –although she said years later that she always did but just felt unable to cope. My thought then was, “If you felt like YOU couldn’t cope, how do you think I felt as a teenager still enduring it?” I have never voiced that to her for fear of hurting her.
    The other thing I wanted to add about the issue of trauma is that I have always felt shame when, on occasion a family member or friend would say something like “Why are you STILL going to therapy for that? It happened in the past, leave it alone and just move on!” I would feel guilt and shame and think “I must be doing this wrong–I can’t even get healing right! Something is wrong with ME!”
    So it is, in an odd way, reassuring to me when I read that trauma can have lifelong effects for people and that sometimes ongoing therapy is needed or helpful.
    Thanks and I hope you are doing well!

    Reply
    • July 28, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Lori,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear this. Your story is not uncommon and I think a lot of people hold their parents responsible for the abuse endured at the hands of another parent. This is not to say that you are holding a grudge against your mother. But I do commonly see my clients feel their parent could have taken a different approach to protecting them. I’ve noticed that many of my formerly abused clients fear hurting the parent who didn’t do anything about the abuse and yet, continues to make their own lives painful by internalizing what they really need to get out. It’s sad to say the least.

      Hope you are doing well too! And do remember, trauma is lifelong and if you have to remain in therapy to explore, examine, grow, learn, and heal, do just that.

      Reply
      • July 30, 2018 at 2:31 am

        Hi Tamara,
        Thanks for that validation–I appreciate it!
        You’re right in that I don’t hold a grudge against my mom. I just wish the parental role wasn’t so reversed. She depends on me to be her friend, companion, confidante, therapist, medical advisor, sounding board etc. I just want to be her daughter for a while and not in an overly dependant or needy way but rather, I would like SOME of our conversations every now and then to be about me, my needs, concerns etc. I don’t remember being able to ask her for advice. Nor as an adult, do I remember her encouraging me to go live my life for ME for a change!
        I am getting older now. She is too and understandably, somewhat more needy as she ages. But I am so burnt out with taking care of others, Tamara! She has already experienced things like: getting her driver’s license, dating, getting married, having children and grandchildren, relocating from one state to another, having a career etc. I have spent pretty much my entire life being available for my mom and siblings, and now including my nieces and nephews.
        I want to relocate if I desire to, I need to get my driver’s license, (long overdue and no one’s fault but my own) and I want to find a Christian man and get married if that is God’s will. Having children will never happen now–it’s too late plus my recent surgery made that final! But if I wait much longer to learn how to live for ME, it will be too late.
        Thanks for letting me vent…

        Reply
 

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