I was once asked by a counselor what aspects of my life were impacted by PTSD. Simple answer, “All of it.” There is not one part of my life left untouched by PTSD, or some people are calling multiple event trauma Complex PTSD. I struggled with understanding how deeply I am affected. I was raised with the idea that I was a lying, conniving child prone to wild exaggerations and attention seeking. I felt ashamed of what I was. It never and I mean never occurred to me that my accusers were the ones lying.
3. Recognise the breadth of functioning impacted by complex trauma and that acquisition, not just restoration, of some modes of functioning may be necessary
My counselor recognized what was wrong with me. Months of probing unraveled more and more of the abuse and lies I was raised in. This didn’t come easily. I couldn’t just talk about a childhood I didn’t remember since high school. I remember in high school being impressed by people that could tell their whole life history. I had sketchy memories that were usually provided by someone else and no corroborating evidence or memories of my own. My counselor tried to ask me about my childhood and I told him, “It was great we went to the park and the zoo.” That’s it. That was all I knew. I read books and reported my findings. Read more books and discovered more and more ways that my abusive childhood tripped me up and brought me down as an adult. My counselor’s challenge to get me to understand just how bizarre my upbringing was therefore my entire foundation of belief system needed to be ripped apart starting with the lie that I was a lying, conniving child prone to wild exaggerations. My reality I was a terrified cringing little girl trying desperately to find someone that would believe the strange goings on in a “nice” neighborhood. Contrary to the belief that I was trying to draw attention to myself I was doing my best to disappear and prayed no one would notice me. It was safer that way. Imagine remodeling your house and ripping out your foundation while still living in your house. Or another way I describe the experience I had in counseling, “It is a little like changing your car engine while driving down the freeway.”
Waring to those that are offended by me mentioning religion, please, stop now. Read the article above while I share my thoughts on how completely this impacted my life.
The year I finally understood the full impact of how ugly and disastrous my childhood was the year I had no Christmas. The holiday came just as always but I did not put up a Christmas tree, I did not sing one Christmas carol, I did not wrap one present. I boycotted Christmas completely. I felt furious when I read stories of children rescued from abusive situations when I wasn’t. In my 60’s, I am still chastised for not doing more to get along with my mother. I was mad. I was mad at Christ. I was not going to celebrate His birthday, so there. People around me tip-topped around me like the were traipsing through a mine field. They were. To me, the cool thing about Christ is He really understands me and loves me and wants my happiness but this is a violent planet. We are rocketing around a burning fire ball on a rock that is only partially cooled, this planet still has a molten center. Storms, earthquakes, fires and death happen every single day. This planet is a mess. I am one little human and I felt put out because my life was tough. When I was a teenager one of the things that kept me from committing suicide was the thought of talking to Christ and explaining to him why my life was too hard to live. Christ was OK with me being mad. He let me stay mad for a long time and waited for me to talk to Him again. He understood. When I finally let Him, He comforted me and over time showed me in a million little ways He is mindful of me. However, big junk happened just like Old Joe who’s brothers sold him as a slave, or my buddy Job that his friends and wife turned on him and told him he must of done something terrible for all those bad things to happen. You see, Christ gave me the scriptures so I could see that family problems were a long term, on going situation and He loves us any way. My heart finally softened and my foundation was rebuilt with the theme, “I hit rock bottom and discovered that Christ is the Rock at the bottom.”
Finally recognizing the depth, breadth and perversion (lies) I lived in was hard. Once I started to fight back my counselor knew that all he needed to do was to guide me and teach me all the stuff I should have learned as a child. My counselor shared my religious beliefs and encouraged me telling me he was the coach and Christ was the healer and between the three of us, I would build a new life. I have.