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Trauma aftermath

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Starting a trauma healing journey was quite an adjustment for me. The struggle was real! Living without trauma was not something I was use too. I grew up with nothing but trauma! Although there is a lot of encouragement and information about how to heal in the mental health world, I still could not wrap my head around the idea or learn how to live life outside of the chaos mode. If you have lived with chaos most of your life, you find it hard to find ways to live life without it and it doesn’t’ feel normal yet.

For example, a person who is institutionalized can experience a lot of anxiety once they are released. Adjustment may be difficult once a person is out of the institution and in a social integrated society.

Well, what about when we heal from our trauma? I still have to put myself in check sometimes. But the great thing about healing from trauma is that I recognize when I start slipping back into those old habits that caused instability for me. Looking back at my own experiences, when I was in counseling, and I managed to get my master’s degree, I felt that I was functioning well in life by most standards anyway. This made me feel more full-filled and stable. However, I was still filling my life with relationships with people who suffered from trauma and deviant behavior patterns. I was so used to being in that realm of people. I had to stop and ask myself, why am I still associating with the same people, places, and things when I am not that way anymore? I felt like I was a functioning member of society by day, but by night I was associating with individuals and retreating to environments full of chaos. I was complaining about their behaviors, yet, actively seeking out to be surrounded by them. This is when I began to look at the “why” of my own understanding and this is what I came up with. First, I had to accept the fact that even with as much healing as I had done and hard work, I put into to be functioning myself, I still needed to address the discomfort I had with the “I can hang with the best of them, but feel more accepted by the chaos of the rest of them.” I mean as much as wanted to think and try to convince myself that it wasn’t me it was them the fact remained that I actively sought out dysfunction in others, because it felt like home for me. I did all this healing and work to better myself, yet I could not sever myself from subconsciously seeking out those environments. I was told I was worthy of healthy environments and yet my core belief was always yeah, I can do that, but a part of me feels like that is where I belong, in dysfunction. Even if I was not engaging in the behavior surrounding myself in those scenarios was all I knew.

So, how do I change this? How do I embrace all aspects of healing and not just settle in the I have changed and that is good enough? I struggled with not wanting to let go of the people, places, and things that have not healed because that is all I knew. It starts small. I think that the thought of “I can” must be coupled with the active conscious decision to keep seeking out healthy people, places, and things even when I feel like I don’t belong. If I don’t then I blame and criticize others when really, I am putting myself in those circumstances because I am choosing to be in the comfort of dysfunction despite the changes, I made for me. This insight grew from the internal family systems therapy and EMDR I was doing with my personal therapist. The wounded child made me feel so inadequate and out of place in healthy environments. It is like that child part of me felt as if she was being pulled back or driven back to the dysfunction where she felt comfortable. I realized that growing and getting healthy mentally and physically can be uncomfortable at first, but it will grow on you just like the dysfunction did. Time is the key to a successful healing.

The belief came from observing other children and their home settings and then comparing them to my own. I must continuously remind that inner child part of myself that she is safe and belongs. I have become her guide to the now. While this inner child part will always exist instead of exiling her, I welcome her to join me in healthy environments by reminding her that she is loved, capable, and belongs.

Through counseling this has been possible. I want to offer my clients the same guidance and insight into healing from your trauma and connecting you to your core self through processing. We are all worthy of a life that is better than good. A life of healing and purpose.

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