Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

“You are stronger than you think you are”…. But really……. am I?


This week at counselling, it was all about emotions. And fear. The intensity of emotions, the right to have them and feel them, and my incapacity to deal with them. And all the fear reasons and how intense that fear is.

I tried to explain I know the depth of my increasing understanding of what has happened to me in the first 20 years of my life, outweighs my capacity to deal with intensity of the emotions I feel about it all.

My counsellor said she feels I am stronger than I think I am and she believes I can deal with intensity of the emotions, if I get to a safe enough place to allow them to be felt.

I wonder if she really believes that, or feels obliged to say it? Because to agree with me that I don’t have the capacity to deal with all, is not ‘what counsellors say’. Counsellors are meant to encourage you and tell you – you will make it, you are strong enough.

But, what if she is wrong? What if I am right, and I can’t deal with it. And to try, will kill me. Or put me in hospital.

Many people don’t make it. Many people don’t become stronger through it. For many, it breaks them completely. You just don’t hear about those stories, you only hear about the ‘success’ stories that society then demands everyone should be – shaming many in the process.

Is she just purely invalidating my own understanding of my capacity levels? Or, is she right and I am stronger than I think I am?

Is this her wishful thinking?

Or my lack of understanding of my own strength?

To me, it feels like a seesaw…. as my deeper understanding of the horror of my childhood increases/goes up, on the other side, my capacity to cope is going down…

Is that the reality – or my perception, which is not correct?

Author: Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

I am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse, who at the age of 40, began my healing journey. I am using my journey to recovery and healing, to help others, to help survivors feel less alone, validated, encouraged and to enable others to understand themselves more. Complex trauma, particularly from severe, prolonged childhood abuse, is profoundly life changing. Complex trauma produces complex adults. The journey to recovery is a painful, often lonely, emotional daily challenge and it is my aim to encourage others in their daily battle. ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

7 thoughts on ““You are stronger than you think you are”…. But really……. am I?

  1. Been in hospital many, many times, my love. That is NOT a fate worse than death. So many people are certain it is. But it isn’t.

    I was able to process things in the safety of NO FAMILY OR FRIENDS around 24/7 to constantly re-trigger me to access and learn the skills to HANDLE the intensities that I couldn’t have handled with all the triggers and duties flying about overwhelming me. Inpatient I did not have to be the perfect wife, daughter, mother and my behavior was entirely understood in the context of “SHE”S BEEN THROUGH THE WRINGER,” not “WOW WHAT A FAILED HUMAN BEING.”

    Whether one chooses to handle the emotions while on vacation with one friend who never asks questions and has no problem cleaning broken vases off the floor from the moment you chose to buy a ton of cheapies and throw them at the mental image of your abuser until it was nothing but shreds and you finally felt free, or if you finally just broke down because life is entirely too much to do the duties and responsibilities and social roles AND HEAL AT THE SAME TIME — you ARE stronger than you think you are. WE ALL ARE.

    The problem comes in — are we strong enough to carve out time for healing with one supportive friend (in case somebody needs an emergency room visit due to the processing getting scary/dangerous) or are we going to destroy ourselves living ROLES and DUTIES instead of fueling the person underneath the roles and duties?

    You have children and a husband. This is both helpful and hindering. You have strong reason to heal. I guarantee you, my mother has the same issues you and I do. She pretends and fakes it all the time. There has never been a time I have not known it was a sham and a lie. I have accepted over 42 years that she will NEVER be honest with me, and she will never commit to her own healing. Which kills me. I have always felt RESPONSIBLE for her ill health, both mentally and physically. IF IT WEREN”T FOR ME, MY MOM WOULD HAVE THE ENERGY TO GET WELL.

    Better to go through a challenge in authenticity while communicating truth and love to your kids than to have them feel the way I do. I can’t heal now because I live with her. If I take action on the healing I need to do, it will destroy what tiny peace she has. So I’m trying to find my own place, hard to do with CPTSD, DID , and related disabilities.

    I am sure you’re not going to be ok having read this. I can’t imagine your children want you to keep suffering so they don’t get embarrassed or their friends moms get depressed. I’m pretty sure that if they LOVE THEIR MOTHER, they want her feeling safe as much as possible and the rare smile on her face to be REAL.

    Please take care of you, Lily. You do what I do and take care of everybody else. You can take care of us by prioritizing YOUR NEEDS, angel. WE ALL LOVE YOU (except the usual haters, who just can’t love anybody, but that’s their problem, not ours).

  2. Maybe it’s a bit of both. You are not paying your counselor to lie to you. You know that. My last counselor let me know the process would be messy but survivable. I was expected to work and work hard. He stopped giving me homework assignments when he observed the assignments I gave myself. In the end, he became a touchstone, helping me make sure I was headed in the right direction with course corrections and ideas for handling things differently.

    I appreciated M.T. Noah sharing their view. Their experience with the vases reminded of what my sister did. She used clay pigeons. She painted a word on each one, things like fear, nightmares, etc. Then she laid out a tarp, to catch the pieces, and smashed them all against a wall. She went through at least two whole boxes and thought about doing a third. It didn’t solve the problems, but it did help her recognize single problems as opposed to a huge complex monstrosity.

    • Your sister sounds fierce! I like that! That’s precisely what the vases were for! Identify issues, break them symbolically so I could SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM in the therapist’s office and then denounce each one for the lies they are! break the evil down — and you discover it’s a bunch of tiny little lizards with no teeth that can be squished with a simple (though difficult to learn and be consistent at) behavior. HUGS!

  3. Thank you both. I appreciate your messages and I truly value them… such kindness and compassion ❤ ❤

    I am still struggling with all this and the continual demands on me to be strong – as strong as others expect/need. I guess I am trying to express that, and the fear of not being strong enough. I'm scared to fall apart completely and how that will affect others.

    I'm in tears even writing this.

    • It feels like this a lot. Even for me where I am. Strength is in the ability to fall apart and REASSEMBLE YOURSELF. For some of us, we have to do this multiple times in our lives. Most folks — way lucky and they don’t have to.

      Have you heard of the Japanese art of kintsukuroi? It is the practice of mending a broken object with GOLD. The belief in Japan is that the broken and mended object (and PERSON) is MORE valuable and more useful, and even more worthy of respect, for having a history and coming through that history. Items mended in gold are often placed IN SHRINES, this is considered a sacred status, not merely an aesthetic view.

      I have learned how to detach emotionally from things when my emotions start doing this thing you’re experiencing. It’s taken a LONG time, and I am aware not everyone will feel like they will be able to master it. I thought I NEVER would. That’s ok. It took a LOT of practice. So. Step one is to breathe deeply and slowly. Focus only on physical things immediately. “There’s no time to do that,” — the most popular excuse. There’s never time for US if we are allowing our social dynamic to continue being what it was while we were being abused. That must end. For ourselves. FOR THOSE AROUND US.

      In the breathing, I have learned to OBSERVE the feelings. I ask myself, What does this emotion tell me I need to pay attention to? I DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE EMOTION. Have you ever seen the movie Pacific Rim? It’s the same process. You flow with ‘the drift,’ but you do not engage the memories/emotions that come up, YOU OBSERVE THEM.

      You watch to see what they’re trying to direct your attention to. It might be RAGE and it’s tempting to get caught up in it. But it’s trying to SHOW YOU you need to create and maintain boundaries for your own safety. But if we ENGAGE with the RAGE, I guarantee that we will NOT REMEMBER TO ESTABLISH THE BOUNDARIES WE NEED. Participating in the rage will exhaust us to the point we don’t remember why it existed. It might be TERROR! It’s still so tempting to allow it to OWN YOU. To participate in being terrified. What is that feeling telling you? For me, it is telling me something in my environment is precisely the same as back when the hell was happening every day. Will I be able to address the CAUSE of the terror if I am busy being TERRIFIED? Nope. But when I OBSERVE THE FEELING, note the trigger for the feeling, I CAN THEN ASSESS FOR MYSELF: Wow, that social dynamic just triggered that feeling. I need to TALK TO SO-AND-SO ABOUT IT. In talking to the person, I can find out from their reaction if they are GOING TO HELP ME HEAL (fall apart and repair myself) for if they are going to block it because my health and safety are inconvenient and selfish (from their perspective).

      (BTW, anyone who finds my healing a selfish project IMMEDIATELY gets kicked to the curb. I don’t have time (at age 42) for haters in my real life. I may love them fully and thoroughly, but if my health and safety is THAT LOW on their list of priorities, then their many words of undying love are clearly only said to convince me to feed their egos for a bit longer, NOT because they actually value ME.)

      If you need support, honey, you have me on FB. Feel free to PM me. Maria T. Noah over there.


  4. This hurts all parts of my brain reading this. We believe in you lily. Truly truly do. It has already driven us crazy and in hospital. I truly know the hideous pain you are enduring. Please know I think of you & wish you through this. It can get better. Many may not survive but many many many more do. Xxx