When your soul hurts
Most of us, if not all, are familiar with the term, feeling, or being heartbroken. Heartbreak is what so many of our favourite songs are about after all...romantic loss, unrequited love...We are misunderstood and let down to the music that comforts us by the reassurance that we are, after all, not alone, even though that is exactly how we feel.
We see films about it; we call them 'weepies.' Adele launched her career with beautifully penned songs about it. Joni Mitchell called love the most dangerous poison of all, but what happens when there is something more? Something that goes deeper down into the well of who you are, that dulls and darkens your internal landscape; something you can’t feel go beyond...you have no compass. Where you feel silenced, misunderstood, and unknown. Something that feels literally crushing, because it is not about what someone did or didn’t do, but more about who you once were.
Here is where you feel guilty and ashamed to express your real feelings because you were intimidated, or made to feel foolish for even trying to voice them or have them, and traumatised for trying to claim normal human privileges. Here are the shallows you remember. Here we are emotionally impoverished. We cannot access what we feel we have a right to either do or say.
It is an ancient whisper that stills our hand from being raised to make our point, or our voice to be heard, and that is when we have at least been able to have the courage to even think that we have a right, to have a say.
Many of us who come from childhood CPTSD have a wrecked internal status. We may appear to be self-assured and, unless triggered, we normally are.
But, and let us make it a big capital BUT...
Put us in a challenging inter-relational situation where we feel bullied, silenced, and criticised, and we internally fold.
Why? What can we do about it, and where does it come from?
The 'why' and the 'where'
Your natural self-expression was not allowed for many different reasons in your early childhood. There might have been no room for it because your parent/s had their own emotional issues, or it might have been because of a lack of their time due to poverty. There could be a myriad of different reasons, but the time to focus on you was just simply not available or convenient.
Your parent/s might have been abusive and/or shaming because of their own “problems”.
You felt intimidated for having a thought or a wish in whatever situation might have taken place, and you felt uncomfortable and ashamed because, inevitably, you were shamed.
Healing from childhood trauma is a gradual process. The recovery of your self-expression requires practice because being yourself can be intimidating when healthy self-assertion was either punished, ignored, or ridiculed. However, if we don’t begin somewhere, we carry on living with the chronic pain of being invisible, and sometimes we must somehow find our courage to speak out, and up when it doesn’t come naturally at first.
We can by doing so reclaim what is rightfully ours for the taking...our own soul.
In this place, which begins with braving it out, we discover our own rhythm and feel our own aesthetic. We recover the right of free choice, our feet move to our own 'dance', and we discover deeper, grounded integrity and self-respect without needing to be, or feel, at war. We are enriched.
And we can begin to handle normal pain in a healthy way, devoid of trauma and shame, but rather more imbued with a true and anchored unsurpassed freedom.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is about inter-relational difficulties rather than the event-related issues of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is extremely common and goes either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed sadly for far too many. It is the focus and home of all my work. Epiphanies are the joyous reward both for myself and my patients and are an encounter with the sacred.
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