Your wound is probably not your fault, but your healing is your responsibility. – Denice Frohman –
Whether you experienced early childhood trauma, a traumatic birth experience, are working through relationship conflict, or someone has hurt you deeply, that all was beyond your control. Perhaps you experienced a Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder like depression after having a baby. You likely felt very out of control during that time and can look back now as if that time were a blur or as if it feels unreal. Part of experiencing trauma and difficult circumstances is the internalization of self-blame, feeling untethered and unsafe yet at the time you likely had few choices and no agency.
Let’s talk about trauma and what happens during times of distress of chronic stress. A traumatic response is self protective and serves to keep you you alive. You may have been paralyzed and shut down, felt powerless to speak up, or unable to change your situation or advocate for yourself. Or, you may have been emotionally reactive, angry and volatile, irrational, and impulsive. The fight/flight/freeze response is real and serves to protect you during times of distress. You cannot choose how your body and mind will respond at the time of survival and stress.
Living through trauma means that you were not yourself. Once you get some distance from your distress, my hope is that you will be able to look back with self-compassion. Part of posttraumatic recovery and growth is changing and healing from your experience, and learning new more adaptive patterns of behavior that serve you now. What protected you then no longer serves you. Adapting and growing does.
I love that this quote from Denice Frohman because it reminds us that while the situation we were in before was out of our control, the work of healing afterwards IS in our hands. Brave warriors healing from your battle wounds (literal or figurative), you have control and choices now (even if it doesn’t feel like it yet!). Choosing the people you surround yourself with, choosing to go to therapy, choosing healthy behaviors, theses are all examples of choices you have now that you didn’t then. Watching my clients heal from old, deep wounds through EMDR therapy, for example, is a profound honor and I’m constantly inspired by the work they do. Whatever you are doing to heal from your wounds, keep on healing and fighting, brave warriors!