Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

I think deeply & search for honesty…. that’s what I bring to the conversation.

I think a lot. And deeply. I process a lot. And deeply. I know this to be true, because I am told this. By many. It’s what I bring to the table in understanding complex trauma survivors, emotions, reactions, responses, and why. My counsellor has stated that I have taught her much about complex trauma, and stated I am someone who thinks/processes, to an unusual depth.

I have mixed responses to what I write about. Some find it very insightful, helpful and a level of honesty/insight rarely spoken. Some tell me it puts into words, what they have not been able to express themselves. Some don’t understand what I am processing, don’t relate and some react emotionally to it and reject it. Which I understand and I have compassion for.

Today, I tweeted my last post about why victim blaming and self blame, can be a maladaptive coping strategy, which was referred to as “Wow. Very Insightful“, by another complex trauma/child sexual abuse survivor. And that blog post was shared by Dr Melanie Greenberg’s website – a clinical psychologist, an expert in trauma and blogger for Psychology Today.

And I tweeted a popular blog post I wrote, about mental health professionals not having enough empathy for complex trauma survivors and why, which was referred to as “It’s Empowering that you speak the truth, because it is truth & there is too much of the lack of empathy going on! Thank U!” & “Your advocacy helps extremely Lilly, it’s sensitive & complex that some do not grasp the severity of it” & “You are making a difference in this world” & “You have become very Empowered & you are an amazing inspiration for me & others!!” – by a trainee therapist/complex trauma survivor, and “Helpful insights, learned the hard way”, by another survivor.

Many people have commented on these posts, shared them and mental health professionals have thanked me for writing them. Which is good, because I believe this issue of sufficient empathy – that is so vital to complex trauma survivors, is one reasons, many struggle to heal.

This last comment, ‘learned the hard way’, struck home the depths of suffering, invalidation and re-traumatising, I have endured, to work out all I process. It makes me realise, just how much I have endured, and continue to endure, due to other people. Whether it be intentionally harmful, or not.

I am glad that other survivors of complex trauma, who also have some insight, see what I write as the truth. As a deeper level of processing. As that need some of us have deep within, for honesty and truth, no matter how hard to deal with.

And I know – when you are someone who knows the depths of abhorrent suffering people can wilfully cause….. and suffer terribly at the hands of those who were meant to care for you… it changes who you are. It changes you from an average person, with average human life experiences, and average understanding about trauma…. to someone not average, with experiences well beyond any realms of normal. The life experiences of suffering I have endured, are profound and well beyond the limit of what we created to endure/cope with.

I accept I am different to an average person, because that is the reality, the outcome, the consequence, of suffering and enduring non normal life experiences over prolonged periods of time. Being different, is not a ‘bad symptom’, that needs correcting. It’s absolutely normal for a complex trauma survivor. A complex trauma survivor cannot be expected to be ‘normal/average’, when their life was not normal/average. Especially when this complex trauma was throughout their childhood. Continue reading

Blaming self or the victim for abuse, can be a way to cope/survive.

Throughout all the abuse I have endured, each abuser told me I deserved it. And I deserved nothing else. Or I wanted it. The lies they tell themselves, are how they can justify what they are doing. Plus, some of them really enjoyed what they were doing.

When you have been taught by abusive parents and other abusers, that you are to blame, it can become something you believe.

I’ve continued on the self blaming, throughout my life, for many things. The abuse done to me. The abuse done to my sisters. Blamed myself for not protecting them. Blamed myself for all the other abuse I’ve endured.

I think we can be taught to blame ourselves by abusers, and this is another level of abuse we endure.

I think we can also blame ourselves, rather than deal with the truth – people who were meant to love us, protect us… did the opposite. That reality, especially when it is  about parents, can be horrendously painful to deal with. So, blaming self, is for some, an easier road,. An ‘easier to deal with road’, of less painful reality to process. And I can default to this, still, when overwhelmed.

I think blaming self, also means the victim maintains some false sense of having been in control of what happened. If we deserved it, then it was meant to happen and we ‘allowed’ it, which meant we chose it. And it was not out of our control. Which is all absolutely wrong, but people will do what they need to do, to cope. To cope with evil occurring, that no-one should ever have to endure.

To cope with things that were meant to cause us such suffering, and are so far out of the normal human being experiences, will lead to maladaptive ways of coping.

To accept the abuse was completely out of our control, means we then know terrible things can happen, that we could not stop…. and this fear and knowledge, is horrendous. It means we lose trust in ourselves, and other people. It means we know human beings are capable of deliberately, intentionally and consciously making people suffer and they enjoy it. That creates a depth of fear, that is too much for some. Continue reading