Hooking Up To Win The War Against Trauma
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of contents
- What is Trauma?
- What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences?
- Weakened But Not Broken
- The Imprint of Sexual Violence
- Toxic Stress and Generational Trauma
- This Is My Story
- This Is How It Started
- This Is How It Unfolded
- This is How I Changed The Narrative
- Lifelines for Fearless Living
- The Power To Heal Lies Within
Regardless of when it occurs the exposure to trauma can be disturbing, unsettling, and harmful. Often leading to the death of hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Sometimes creating a spin cycle of challenges without end.
What is Trauma?
According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, trauma results from an event, series of events, or circumstances that adversely effects an individual’s mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.
It knows no boundaries. It affects the lives of people without regard to age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, geography, or sexual orientation. The root causes include:
- Acts of violence
- The death of a loved one
- The loss of a friend
- Gun violence
- Mass shootings, and
- Emotionally hurtful experiences.
What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences?
Adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) are potentially hurtful events that occur between birth and age seventeen.
ACE’s arise from:
- experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect
- witnessing violence in the home or community, or
- having a family member attempt or die by suicide
Other factors or circumstances that fall within the realm of ACE’s include:
- substance use problems
- mental health problems, and
- family instability arising from parental separation or incarceration in prison or jail.
Weakened But Not Broken
ACE’s damage a child’s sense of safety, stability, and security. The resistance to opening up and forging supportive relationships with family, peers and adults is also an issue.
ACEs are hurtful and often linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance abuse in adolescence and adulthood.
The Imprint of Sexual Violence
An invasion of privacy of any kind is alarming. But an invasion through an act of sexual violence is harmful, hurtful, and disgusting.
- One in four girls is sexually abused before they turn 18,
- Girls aged 14-17 have the highest rates of sexual assault among youth populations, and
- Girls placed in foster care have a 67% lifetime prevalence of sexual abuse.
These statistics compiled by the # Me Too Movement depicts the situation of many girls in foster care.
In 2006, Ms. Tarana Burke, an advocate for women in New York who experienced rape at seven years old, coined the hash tag and the movement #MeToo to empower women who had endured sexual violence by letting them know they were not alone—that other women had suffered the same experience.
The emotional damage highlighted in The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse are too many to capture in this post. But the article is worth reading by anyone who exposed to childhood sexual abuse.
The article confirms the long-term effects often show up long after the triggering event .
Toxic Stress and Generational Trauma
- According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, toxic stress occurs when we experience prolonged adversity without adequate adult support. The exposure can take a toll on our physical and mental health and open the floodgates of dysfunction.
- Generational trauma refers to a dysfunctional way of showing up in life that gets passed down from one generation to the next.
This Is My Story
I experienced everything mentioned in this article while growing up. I also know a thing or two about the personal costs involved in reaching a milestone called survival.
This Is How It Started
My exposure to trauma began with the abrupt removal from my mother’s care at eleven months old. Followed by a swift introduction to adverse childhood experiences. At the age of five the rug of safety, security, and self-worth was pulled from under my feet. My foster brothers started sexually abusing me. And the patter persisted for years..
The experience left me emotionally disfigured and created blind spots that obscured my ability to make life-affirming choices and decisions.
This Is How It Unfolded
Guilty as charged. I operated under the influence of emotionally harmful experiences and the adverse impacts of trauma for years. During that time I acquired self-destructive habits, slipped into learned helplessness, and became a backslider.
The legacy of dysfunction I inherited owed its existence to low self-esteem. Things got worse as guilt and shame covered me from head to toe.
The poisonous brew of toxicity covering my life delayed my ascension to wholeness and healing. But one day I started using my voice to break free from everything making me appear powerless and small. Back in the day I started to believe and repeat “You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down”.
This message and life lesson arising from my experience holds true for foster care system alumni, transition-aged youth, victims of sexual violence, child abuse, and kindred spirits impacted by trauma.
This is How I Changed The Narrative
With the passage of time I began to see that adversity is a friend and teacher, not an enemy or foe when it comes to winning the war against trauma.
In some ways I think women of all ages with lived experience rooted in hardship are more alike than different. At our core I believe we seek:
- To discover who we really are, scars and all,
- To love ourselves unconditionally even in the absence of positive role models, and
- To find a way to lean into loving and trusting the people we let into our lives.
Truth be told, I’m still in the process of mastering these things.
Despite our differences I believe in you and the transformative power of our stories!
I believe in the power of transparency, sharing, and the ingathering of kindred spirits online, virtually, or otherwise, to uplift, empower, and create space for healing.
Lifelines for Fearless Living
Lifelines for Fearless Living, my personal blog, celebrates the power of owning our stories and making peace with the past. Buried beneath the story of every trauma survivor lies an indestructible life force and inner strength capable of changing the trajectory of their lives.
As an emerging self-published author, I decided to open the archives of my life in my soon to be released book, It’s Time To Turn Up!, No More Trauma.
I continue to turn the pages of my life into a canvas for painting a picture of recovery, healing, and triumph by publishing a monthly article to help readers and blog subscribers manage the art of daily living.
The Power To Heal Lies Within
Pain is an equal opportunity employer, who does not discriminate. The only distinction is the degree of the sting. For some the sting hits harder and lasts a bit longer.
I drop the mic on lessons learned, positive affirmations, life skills, self-care routines, and spiritual insight used to mitigate the adverse effects of trauma.
In my blog I discuss:
- Post-traumatic Growth
- Personal Development
- Healing and Recovery
- Transformation and Change
- Cultivating Relationships
- Life Mission and Purpose
- The role of faith and belief in healing and recovery, and
- Parenting to leave a legacy worth paying forward.
I hope you subscribe and join the conversation.
If you‘d like to contribute as a Guest Blogger and expand awareness of a safe space to converse and offer mutual support, you can use the Guest Blogger Request Form to share your topic, word count, and when you’d like to submit an article for posting.
You can learn more about the vision inspiring the launch of Flyte Time Publications by visiting www.flytetimepublications.com.