Bessel van der Kolk, sure ‘gets’ what a childhood filled with fear, no love, deep loneliness feels like and leads to. The severe affects it has on the survivor.
He explains clearly within all his work, how complex trauma in childhood, is far more damaging than when endured in adulthood, because the child’s brain is immature, still growing and affected by the environment and relationships the child is exposed to.
So when this abuse is caused by parents, or caregivers, it is severely damaging. To the child’s growing and malleable brain, psyche and body. Trauma is felt and experiences, by the mind, brain, body, heart, soul and spirit. And all of these are affected by ongoing suffering, fear, abuse and neglect.
My work, my website, are based upon the trauma experts work. They have given me far more insight into myself and my journey. Often I read something an expert has written and it explains so clearly something I knew and felt, but could not put into words. Now, I can.
I am very aware of the deep consequences of severe complex trauma, caused in childhood.
I am very aware, these consequences are lifelong, and take a lifetime to manage and try to heal. As Bessel van der Kolk stated, these consequences, are permanent. They don’t disappear when you become an adult. They remain well into adulthood and only can begin to heal, when a survivor starts the healing process.
I am aware healing is slow process and one that takes a lot of courage, self insight & persistence. And that’s okay. Trying to heal decades of severe abuse and neglect, is not going to be quick.
It is helpful, comforting and validating, to read the understanding and insight of trauma experts. Especially when we live in a society that shames victims of abuse – if we are not deemed ‘strong enough’. A society that shames us for not ‘getting over it’. A society that shames us if we don’t recover quickly. A society that compares us to the poster children for recovery. A society that shames us if we are not ‘forgiving enough’. A society that has very little understanding of the consequences, of severe and complex trauma.
Ignorance about severe trauma and complex trauma, is lethal. It leads to more shame and many survivors end their lives due to this. People believe their opinions are right, when so often they are far from educated, or insightful. And this harms people more.
My advice, is to ignore 99.9% of what society tells us about abuse. And listen only to the complex trauma experts, listen only to those with deep insight and empathy. (Which is very few people). Because anyone without these, does not have a valid opinion about it. And it will be re-traumatising and harm complex trauma survivors, as a result. Even if unintentionally.