by: E.B. Johnson
More and more of us are realizing that we were the victims of childhood trauma. An emotionally scarring experience, victims of this type of deep-rooted trauma can find that they struggle in everything from self-image to their intimate relationships. Improving our lives requires that we move from our victimhood and empower ourselves to heal. When we do that, we realize new powerful truths which helps to increase our emotional awareness and our understanding (and love for) self.
The truth we discover when we heal our trauma.
Are you beginning to heal from your childhood trauma? As you wake up from the fog of pain, there are powerful realizations that will begin to transform your life. Instead of clinging to all that upset and all that fear, you’ll find yourself finally embracing self-love, finding safety in happiness, and understanding the full breadth of your personal power.
A new self-love
One of the first things we start to realize as we resolve our trauma is that we are worth all the love we may have been denied in childhood. Love is such a powerful emotion, and it’s one that we seek for much of our lives. We want our parents to love us; we want our family to love us. When they don’t, it creates a serious break with our sense of self-worth. As we shed the guilt of the past, though, we realize that our worth had nothing to do with the choices of others. We are still worth being respected and being loved despite our trauma.
Loving inner children
All of us have an inner child that dwells within us, and this even more true with childhood trauma. This lost child exists forever in the moment of the great pain in their lives. In order for us to heal, we have to take them by the hand and become the loving parent they never had. Through this process, we come to see ourselves in a new light. By healing our inner child, we are able to acknowledge them, their experiences, and the joy they bring to our adult lives.
Safe sort of happiness
Happiness isn’t always a safe emotion in the turbulent upbringing. When you are raised in a highly dysfunctional home, you learn that happiness isn’t safe because it’s often stripped away from you quickly and violently. As an adult, we must relearn this emotion. Instead of treating your joy as an emotion not to be trusted, you must embrace it and find a way of connecting with it more in your everyday life. The more this is done, the more we come to understand that happiness is safe (and rightfully ours).
Removing the blame
So many victims of childhood trauma internalize their experiences. Instead of looking to understand the adults that hurt them, their inner child takes on the blame and comes to see themselves as worthless. That’s why healing our trauma is so powerful. By taking a look back with our adult eyes, we realize that what happened to us was never our fault. Holding on to this, we can empower ourselves to shed the guilt and shame that’s been holding us back.
Understanding the pain
Victims of childhood trauma often suffer in silence for decades. It’s understandable. As children, our emotions are rarely embraced. Instead, we are usually criticized, chastised, and terrorized until we mold our emotions to fit the convenience and needs of our parents. This pattern carries on into adulthood, where we shut down negative emotions and turn them off. We see them as inconveniences and weaknesses (thanks to our parents). But pain isn’t weakness — it’s the power and fuel to transform.
Making better choices
Did your traumatic childhood teach you that you weren’t allowed to make choices for yourself? Were you dominated by your parents? Or even by the partners that followed in adolescence and adulthood? Healing allows us to break away from this toxic belief and embrace a better way to live. Instead of bowing to others, we come to understand that we can choose our moods, our emotions, our lives, and even the people who surround us — chosen family included.
The beauty of self-power
As humans, we are extremely powerful beings. We lose sight of this power, though, when that power is stripped from us in youth. If you were someone with an abusive or overbearing past, you learn to let others take the lead and you learn not to trust yourself. Rather than manifesting the life you want to live, you spend your energy chasing the validation of others. In healing, however, we can come to realize that we are are strong, worthy, and capable of overcoming even the hardest situations in this life.
How to kickstart your trauma healing journey.
Realizations are acknowledgements, but they’re also an important launching spot. Once you have embraced the truth of your worth and your loveliness, you can embrace an alternative way of loving yourself and realizing the full extent of your needs and your dreams. It’s a whole new way to live. It’s the fuel to become the person we’ve always wanted to be.
1. Embrace a new self-love
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the trauma healing process is the new ability to fall in love with ourselves. It sounds silly when you’re stuck in the childhood patterns of self-loathing and punishment, but it’s true. Shedding the pain your parents or caretakers instilled in you allows you to embrace a new love for self. This increases confidence, courage, and even the energy we have to complete the transformative shift in our futures.
Embrace a fresh path to self-love as you wake up to the truth. Shedding the guilt and the hurt of childhood enables you to see yourself in a more honest light. When we do this, we see ourselves more authentically as individuals who are simply doing the best that they can.
Loving yourself is how you build better relationships. It’s how you learn how to react to life’s challenges with courages, and it’s how you come to believe in yourself and your needs. It’s hard to embrace this self-love until you fully allow yourself to process what happened in your childhood. This is not to say that the trauma and the pain of what happens goes away forever. Your self-love gives you a better way of managing it and finding happiness despite it.
2. Invest in authentic healing
There are a lot of different definitions out there when it comes to “healing”. And that’s because there are so many ways in which to resolve or process the pain in your past and in your life. The same goes for childhood trauma. There’s more than one way to find the peace you’re seeking. It’s important to understand that this type of trauma (and its symptoms) are complex. It’s simply not realistic to think you’ll journal your way out of this agony. To get true resolve, we need to make an investment in our mental and emotional health.
Invest in authentic healing and don’t think that it’s an overnight process you can handle alone. The pain in our childhood runs deep, and it can often be tied to emotions that are complicated and violent. We can’t always do it alone. We can’t always clearly see what happened, and we don’t have to.
Reach out to people that you trust and let them accompany you on your journey. Our friends and loved ones can often provide critical insight that feeds our continued revelations. If you aren’t ready to open up to people who know you, a mental health expert can be invaluable. Find someone with experience dealing with childhood trauma, and look for someone with an approach you can trust. Lean into the process and understand that it gets more uncomfortable before you find total peace.
3. Let your inner child out to play
As we move toward the final stages of resolution, we become united and infinitesimally aware of our inner child. At first, this is scary. But embracing our inner child is a must. That’s how we pull them out of that fear and revision a new face of peace. Shifting ourselves out of a negative place and into a more hopeful one only happens when we allow our inner child to rediscover their sense of play and light.
Let your inner child out to play and rediscover your sense of joy with them. That’s the true value of our inner child. They see the world in a light that we have forgotten. They can bring us hope, and they can bring us fun in ways that we have simply lost sight of beneath the turmoil of our trauma.
Stop putting your inner child in the background. Stop denying the feelings they had, or the perspective that they viewed things through. Your emotions as a child were just as a valid as they are now. You had a right to be comforted, and you have to provide that comfort now. Remove your inner child from their box of shame and let them have the carefree romp that they needed. That’s how you find your joy again as an adult. Take your inner child by the hand and allow them to lead you there.
Putting it all together…
Healing from childhood trauma is a long process, but once we begin it really changes our lives in the best possible way. Major realizations crop up as we rediscover who we are and the truth about the way we were brought up. Rather than running from what was, we have to embrace it to embrace a better future. The truth empowers us to create something better; especially where our childhood trauma and healing journey is concerned.
Embrace a new pattern of active self-love. Nurture yourself and spend some time meeting your core needs. Rid yourself of bad relationships or toxic people that bring you back to those painful places in childhood. You can choose a different path for yourself and become the cycle breaker of your family. This transforms your future and the happiness of any family you choose to bring into your own life. Invest in authentic healing and know that childhood pain runs deep. It’s not always safe to explore it alone. You don’t have to either. Once you feel the darkness receding, let your inner child out to play. This is how we rediscover joy and a passionate new way of living.
- Danese, A., & van Harmelen, A. (2017). The hidden wounds of childhood trauma. European Journal Of Psychotraumatology, 8(sup7), 1375840. doi: 10.1080/20008198.2017.1375840
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