Hectic week but I am forging forward with the lists of best practice principles on Blueknot…https://www.blueknot.org.au/Workers-Practitioners/For-Health-Professionals/Resources-for-Health-Professionals/Best-Practice-Guidelines
One of the difficult things about counseling is sharing an ugly past. They point out that diminishing, discounting, and ignoring what happened are all part of the issues centered on sharing past events. Blueknot points out several parts of the challenge to share past experiences.
- Pleasing their abuser – fawning
- Shame and guilt
- Self blame
- Dissociation, hiding true feelings
- Confusion usually compounded by the abuser blaming the victim
- No words to describe what happened to them (often in situations when a child was too young to have a vocabulary for what occurred.)
- Fear of being ridiculed or not believed
- Fear of the reaction from the counselor/therapist/listener
- Fear of punishment from the abuser/perpetrator (For me, this fear existed even knowing that my abuser was dead.)
I could write full posts about each of these topics and the part they play in trying to share past trauma. I experienced all of these at one time or another.
The one they left off their list is the one where the survivor wiped events out of their memories but the body doesn’t forget. Body memories without memories in the mind to match are traumatizing on their own. How does one cope with terrible reactions that seem to come from nowhere? My therapist didn’t have the luxury of asking me to tell him about my past. My mind closed off the past at a terrible cost to the present. Suppressing huge sections of your life takes tremendous energy and emotional resources. Unleashing those closed off memories is a slow painful process. However, it is like cleaning out a badly infected wound. Getting the crud out helps the healing to begin. My counselor was astounded with how much I deleted from my memories but the mind does not erase completely. My body and knee jerk automatic reactions told their own story that my mind had no words to share. It was a bit like playing blindman’s bluff and stumbling harshly on many hidden emotional landmines. Determination and support from my counselor and a few trusted people I forged forward sifting through the filth of my past. Clearing room for my life and learning to thrive. A bit like clearing out a long neglected field that was a toxic dumping grown. Once all the garbage is hauled out then there is room for planting and growing.