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“I am blooming from the wound where I once bled.” ~ Rune Lazuli
This morning, I yelled at my son over a relatively small issue.
I caused him unnecessary upset, and I’ve been beating myself up about it ever since. I dropped him off at school, and as soon as I was back in my car, I sobbed.
I didn’t stop for some time—the tears just kept coming. I spent a good while processing this incident, and I realised that the reason I was so upset about yelling is because I was reacting from an old emotional wound from my childhood.
It happens sometimes, when something triggers those deepest, darkest parts of me that are not yet healed. Suddenly, I am a slave to emotions that have surfaced from the shadows of my heart.
After 17 years of consciously working on layer upon layer of pain that was buried within my psyche, I felt like I was failing.
Eventually the emotion passed; it always does. And once I was able to look at it logically, I realised I am not failing—I am learning.
I refuse to continue painful familial patterns, because it is within my soul’s purpose to break them once and for all. My children always come first; that is at least one pattern I have changed. I don’t always get it right, but I continue to mend my remaining broken pieces. I am stitched together with threads of iron, strong and damn near unbreakable.
My own childhood was laced with instability, sadness, alcoholism, and anger.
At one time or another, I experienced separation from those closest to me. I remember the desperate tears I cried when I needed comfort, and it wasn’t there. There was shouting, arguing, and anger. I soon learnt my cues to leave the room and would often cry myself to sleep, my face red and wet with a toddler’s tears.
I discovered how to survive in less than ideal circumstances—building up my armour from the broken pieces around me. I was self-sufficient at an early age and knew how to escape into my own mind to entertain myself. I had to grow up when I was far too young, becoming a little warrior when all I craved was stability.
I became accustomed to dealing with emotional blackmail, the kind that was passive aggressive and the kind that was out-and-out victimhood. I learnt about the distorted reality that alcohol can bring, and how much it can take hold of a person. Dealing with all these things made me strong, but it came at a price. By the time I reached the age of 17, I was so repressed I barely spoke. I had no love or appreciation for myself and fell into severe depression, self-harming on a regular basis to deal with the anger I had built up over the years.
I am still in the process of breaking my childhood patterns of being scared to speak my truths, but I get there a little more each day.
I was the product of traumatic childhood experiences, which were subconsciously filtering into every aspect of my life: from jobs and friendships to relationships and how I dealt with problems (often with unhealthy coping mechanisms).
It was only through wading through this thick, muddy sludge of emotions that I began to grow and heal.
So, how do we find wisdom through facing childhood trauma?
>> Peel the onion: self-healing is much like peeling an onion. Each layer that is dealt with is an achievement, though at times it can feel endless. We must reach the centre of the onion to get to the root cause of the patterns we are playing out in our adult lives. This is where we can start to let it go and truly heal.
>> Give ourselves praise for even embarking on the journey of self-healing in the first place. Only the bravest souls are willing to dig up the deepest, most painful emotions to process them in order to become more enlightened, wiser, and happier people. Let’s be kind to ourselves and celebrate our progress, however small.
>> Acknowledge what happened and allow the feelings to surface—no matter how unpleasant they are. The first step to healing is to be aware of what hurt us in the first place rather than deny it. I spent years brushing off my experiences because I thought they didn’t matter. We need to get to the point where we can say: “This happened. It wasn’t okay and this is how I feel about it.” We need to let the wound finally breathe before the next stage of the process can happen.
>> We must realise that we will never completely “get over it,” because the experience is a part of us and an important piece of our life lessons and soul growth. Our aim is to take the lessons from the situation and leave the pain behind.
We can get past the pain that was involved in our experiences. Putting the emotional connection to the experience behind us is the key to moving on from it. It takes time to let go of the pain—it takes time to forgive.
Go easy with this.
Think of a child learning to walk for the first time: we would not shout at them for not getting it right straight away. Self-healing involves retraining our brains. We need to treat ourselves with loving-kindness, as we would a young child learning something new, which leads to the last bit of wisdom we find through facing childhood trauma:
>> Be open to forgiveness; this is a tricky one, and it will only come when we are ready to forgive. We cannot force forgiveness—it will come as part of the process when we are at the right stage of our healing journey. And remember that forgiveness does not mean letting the person who hurt us get away with it. It means unhooking ourselves from old emotional hurts and anger that keep the experience that damaged us alive.
We can be whole again, if we can learn to look at our experiences through the eyes of a student willing to learn.
We will be stronger, braver, and wiser by working through our pain.