There is a demand in society, to suppress traumatic experiences, and the consequences of them. Victims of abuse, and childhood abuse & neglect, are deemed to be weak and ‘acting the victim’ when they ‘don’t get over it’. We are deemed weak when we have emotions.
So society in general pushes people to bury their trauma and the consequences of the trauma. And it does affect your whole life. Many survivors don’t even realise how the trauma is affecting their life. Often people wait years, decades before seeking help. Some don’t ever seek help, sadly.
This link is advice from a trauma expert – Bessel van der Kolk. His work is excellent and I promote his work continually and have his book on my website book list. http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/#!book-recommedationsresources/cnqp
The term ‘don’t be a victim’ plays into victim shaming. Victim blaming is everywhere, in overt and covert ways. Victims of abuse – victim shame others for not healing as quickly, for not being as strong as they claim to be. All toxic attitudes.
I did bury my traumatic experiences. My entire childhood – the first 20 years of my life, were trauma, abuse and neglect – every single day.
In my 20’s and 30’s – I did what society tells you to do ‘suppress’, ‘minimize’, ‘got over it’, ‘never talked about it’ etc. Which was the worst way to deal with it.
Then at 40, I had a breakdown. You cannot suppress such profound trauma indefinitely. And this breakdonw nearly killed me. Since then, I have been processing all the trauma, having all the needed and appropriate emotions about the trauma. Every day, I have some kind of trigger to all the abuse. I have flashbacks, nightmares. I can’t work. Four years later, I am still in therapy. The last 4 years, have been horrendous. I am healing, but the process has been horrendous and at times, life threatening. I have been suicidal and nearly did not make it.
Suppressing and burying all the trauma, in the first 4 decades of my life, made my life worse. And I am paying the price for it. I am likely to have PTSD, all my life, because my situation, is the worst case scenario. Considerable complex trauma, multiple trauma, multiple abusers, every kind of abuse, decades before seeking help, no support for most of my life.
So my advice is, do not bury it, do not minimize it, do not follow all the new age crap that demands you get over it quickly, that praises those who appear to heal quickly, that places some on pedestals for recovery and so wrongly compares everyone, that generalises all trauma as equal (it’s not), that victim shames, that victim blames, that demands you immediately forgive people. It’s all harmful and toxic advice.
Listen to the experts, not society, not those who are not trauma experts. Have strong boundaries from those who make you feel weak or imply you are a ‘victim’ or any other toxic attitude. Only have supportive people in your life, because it is vital to healing to remove anything unhealthy.
Learn to have self compassion, seek therapy if possible and remember, there is no time limit to healing, and each journey is unique and not to be compared.