Complex trauma is ongoing and/or repeated interpersonal trauma/abuse, caused with a captivity environment, where there is no perceived way to escape.
If this is endured within childhood, the child often fails to learn self care, appropriate boundaries and fails to develop a healthy self esteem.
For adults enduring complex trauma e.g. domestic violence- the self esteem and capacity for self care the survivor may have previously had – can be slowly destroyed, reduced and can become almost non existent.
Self esteem and self care are linked. They both lead to an increase in self worth, which complex trauma survivors can have a lack of.
The following is 8 ways a survivor can start to build, or re-build healthy self esteem, self care.
1. Know The Abuse Was Never Deserved
A survivor of complex trauma, often feels the abuse they endured, was in some way their fault. The perpetrators of the abuse often tell the survivor it is their fault, as a way of shifting blame to the victim. And this is another layer of the trauma endured.
It is needed to know – the victim was never at fault, the abuse was never deserved, nothing the victim did or did not do – means they are at fault, in any way.
The responsibility for the abuse was always 100% the perpetrators.
The accountability for the perpetrators actions, lies 100% with the perpetrator.
No-one should be blaming, shaming or shifting shame, about abuse. Including the survivor.
Part of healing is to come to understand this.
2. Self Talk About What A Survivor Does Deserve
Once a survivor fully understands they did not ever deserve to be abused, they can begin to have the self talk needed, as to what they do deserve. And always deserved.
A survivor deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, care, kindness and compassion. And they always did deserve this. The fact that someone abused them, does not in any way mean they deserved to be abused or mistreated.
Developing this positive self talk, takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes times to re-wire belief systems and the way we talk to ourselves.
This is vital, for the healing to begin.
3. Understand Healthy Emotional Boundaries
During complex trauma/ongoing abuse, appropriate boundaries are trampled over, by the perpetrator. This includes emotional and physical boundaries.
If the survivor was abused in childhood, often the child does not learn appropriate and healthy boundaries, as they were never modelled. Learning healthy boundaries, can be a difficult step, but it is possible. Continue reading