Can anything good come out of childhood trauma?
I read several articles that all relate to each other in my head. Hopefully I can share them with you in a way the makes sense.
Resolving Post-traumatic Stress is a web page that is maintained by a therapist. He explains in a fairly straight forward way why trauma in childhood can reach far into adult life. http://www.post-traumata.com/childhood-trauma-thiumps-them-all.html My counselor also described that trauma in childhood damages the foundation that we build our self-esteem, values, and perceptions. I have also read articles that argue how could one event in childhood affect a person as an adult. When I am talking to a person instead of reading an article, I challenge them to think of an instance in their past that became a pivotal point in their life. Trauma in childhood causes damage as the person is forming who they are. Cool thing about the brain, as mentioned in the above article, it is possible to rewire your brain. Possible and easy are not the same thing. I’ve had 3 different counselors spanning 10 years of counseling. I still experience intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and other symptoms of PTSD, however, it no longer runs my life; I do. I faced my worse experiences, processed the emotions, and reclaimed my power.
Resilience is the ability to transform adversity into the opportunity for positive growth and change. When we’re more resilient, we don’t have to fear the painful moments in our lives because we know that we’ll come out of them transformed. – See more at: http://marciasirotamd.com/psychology-popular-culture/turning-lifes-lemons-into-lemonade#sthash.NF3DqmFy.dpuf
Now this is something that I would want to add to my toolbox for survival. I also like the 3 questions Dr. Sirota suggests asking yourself in a difficult situation.
When I’m faced with a horrible situation, I ask myself three fundamental questions:
1: Was there something I could have done to prevent this?
2: Is there something I can do to improve this?
3: Is there something I can learn from this?
Often, the way things work is that there’s not much I can do with question #1; there may be a little bit that I can do with question #2, but there’s always a lot that I can do with #3.
Aren’t those great questions? Yup, add those questions to my toolbox. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to realize that I could not have done one thing to prevent some of my life experiences. I, now, appreciate David Pelzer’s quote, “I like the man I am today, I would not be that man without the experiences that I had.” Dave Pelzer is the child in A Child Called “IT”.
This brings me to the third article that I read this week. My daughter introduced me to this web page. The article below shares what strengths a child can achieve through challenges. Great article and a wonderful web page. I encourage to read the entire article. Click on the title to go to the web page.
Explain why it matters: “Working twice as hard as everyone else is frustrating. But the skills of hard work carry over into everything you do. You know how to keep at a difficult task and what it takes to succeed.”
Explain why it matters: “Being able to imagine what another person is feeling is a valuable skill. People who can do it are good at making friends and helping people. You also need empathy to be successful at working with others.”
Explain why it matters: “It’s scary to risk failing. But most people fail a few times before succeeding at anything. Being brave enough to try anyway is how you get ahead in life.”
Explain why it matters: “At some point, everyone will face less-than-ideal circumstances. Being able to speak up for yourself in these situations helps you be a creative problem solver, not a victim.”
These are all desirable attributes and ones that my counselor shared with me. I didn’t believe I could have these attributes; I felt powerless. My counselor took many, many sessions teaching me that I could have these; in fact, I already had them, I needed to use them more often. The goal of an abuser is to convince their victim that they are a powerless scaredy cat that would never amount to anything. My job is to prove my abusers wrong.