Childhood Trauma

Obviously, I’ve decided to start writing every day again. I’ve missed it. I think (it could change) that a lot of my posts might focus on childhood trauma and abuse and healing.

I was sexually and physically and emotionally/psychologically abused during my childhood. The way I perceived it all, I grew up believing that I wasn’t worth very much. This made it easier for other people to keep me feeling small in my life. After all, when you aren’t worth much you believe you don’t deserve much.

I have recently read two amazing books on childhood trauma. Dr Bessell van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score and Dr Nadine Burke Harris’ The Deepest Well. If you are interested, the second one is a much easier read than the first. She also has a TED Talk.

An ACE Score is an adversity in childhood experiences score. There are ten questions based on childhood experience. The higher the score, the more traumatic your childhood experiences were. This leaves you open to greater health problems and dysfunction in adulthood.

My score is 8 out of 10.

I’m flabbergasted I function as well as I do hehe.

I always felt motivated intrinsically to heal though. I never wanted my life to be restricted because of my childhood adversity. After all, it wasn’t all bad, it’s just that the bad had no voice and no way to release itself or moderate itself so it took over.

As I read The Body Keeps the Score, I realised how significant the impact of silence and shame has been – especially physically. The physicality extends into the psychological.

I have achieved a great deal in and throughout my life. I continue to grow and to heal. I don’t know why I never really fell off the rails into promiscuity and drugs. Possibly fear lol.

I do know though, that we are better informed today than we were in the seventies and early eighties. I know that counselling and support could make the world of difference in an abused child’s life.

I do not understand why it isn’t mandated in the Child Protection legislation. Trauma counselling should be a given for children experiencing trauma. Research indicates that it can make a significant difference to life outcomes.

So, I will be advocating for this. I want children to have hope, and passion for life, and the belief that they deserve to have their dreams come true.

That’s why I taught for so much longer than I think was healthy for me. I believe in our children, and I’ve seen too many parents, out of their depth, not know how to support their child through trauma. Parents need support too.

We know better. It’s time we do better.

Tina says 🤪

Father-Daughter 😢

Our relationships with our parents are so fundamental to who we become as adults. I had a moment last night, watching Trouble With The Curve, which I’ve watched a heap of times, where I burst into tears, saying, “That’s me.”

Amy Adams’ character, Micky, confronts her dad, Clint Eastwood, about his rejection of her as a young girl. Her dad, raising a young girl, on the road for work, after his wife/her mother died, finds himself out of his depth when Micky is touched inappropriately by a horse trainer.

He beats the crap out of the guy, waits for the police to come after him, and moves Micky to live with relatives because he thinks she will be safer.

He never tells any of this to Micky. Her perception is that she wasn’t good enough for him, and she spends her adult years trying to please him and gain his approval. He is oblivious to all of this. He loves her, but doesn’t know how to communicate that.

I just bawled. I rewound the scene to watch it a few more times. It never had impacted so deeply before.

My tears were for my same feelings relating to my dad. Seeking that validation. Our perceptions are interesting things. I can now see that we tend to remember that which hurts us more than that which makes us smile. As kids, with minimal scope for broad perspective, we internalize the negative and create narratives that really focus on the negative.

The violence (aka discipline) told me I had to behave a certain way to not be hit, and the goal posts here were always moving. I never knew where I stood. I was also taught that I was responsible for everyone else (my sisters’ behavior), and that I wasn’t good enough if they misbehaved and I hadn’t stopped them. I also learned that I was different to my sisters. They were the pretty ones.

As a teen, who wasn’t overweight, but was a different build to my sisters, my dad would coax me to lose weight by offering me rewards. Looking back, I didn’t need to lose weight. I was fine. But, the narrative I was telling myself, that I perceived was being reinforced by the actions of my father, took over. And a key aspect of that, that I then internalized and still play over today, is that I am not good enough as I am.

I sense a list of memories are going to be made and Demartini’d very soon.

I now understand that my father’s context lead him to these choices. I now understand that self-worth is one of my lessons, that I chose, for this lifetime. However, the hurt was and is real.

That feeling of not being enough, not being valuable, not being deserving unless you meet another person’s criteria, is gut wrenching. My intellect was always validated by my father – I thrive here.

More work to be done.