When we start healing ourselves, we start healing generations of trauma.
For everyone on their healing journey, gaining knowledge about trauma, your triggers, and healing adds immense value to how you choose to heal.
While paving your own healing path (which is extremely personal) is critical, educating yourself is equally important. In addition to the trauma that each of us has suffered throughout our lives, the pandemic has brought in more triggers and added trauma. It is important that we work as a community to start healing.
I have discovered books written by medical professionals, psychologists, researchers, spiritual teachers, and survivors, and thrivers who specialize in psychotherapy. At least 10 books gave me the power and knowledge to create my own post-traumatic growth. They will aid you and give you direction.
I thought it best to compile them and share one new thing I learned from these books. They are not arranged in any particular order of rank, rating, or quality. They are all equally beneficial, and, to be honest, you will see one large story coming out of all of them.
You may have caught yourself asking questions like: “Why am I like this?” “Why can’t I be happy?” “Why does this happen to me?”
Well, these books help you find those answers and reinstall the hope that it is okay to feel your feelings. You are going to heal. All you have to do is now work on yourself and nothing else—for the rest of your life. Everything else will manifest.
1. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker
This book is a goldmine of information—information you may or may not have read before. What will strike you the most is the way Pete Walker has written it and the liberty you have to switch to a topic that you find relevant.
Though there is a flow (you need not follow the flow). You will eventually get back to reading all of it. And Pete has opened up my world of knowledge on trauma and healing as no one else has ever before.
2. When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Maté
If there is one way you can understand your own trauma, heal your inner child, and bring yourself into the light, it is understanding others’ trauma. Gabor Maté has narrated moving real-life occurrences and experiences of ignoring signals from your body.
You will discover the connection that chronic stress has to chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders we otherwise assume are either genetic or loosely referred to as “stress-induced.” But what does that really mean?
3. The Body Keeps Score: Mind, Brain, and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk
I have literally reread some of the chapters in this book because of the detailed research that backs up every discovery about the human body attached to trauma. I can’t stress enough how important it is for everybody to read this book. Bessel Van Der Kolk takes you on a journey of transformation. You will identify with most of what he describes as PTSD and what will help you regain your life.
4. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
Books on spiritual journeys and the search for inner peace have been in my library. However, The Untethered Soul is flawless. This book opens up your post-traumatic growth in a different dimension. You start looking at yourself beyond the limitations and boundaries. What if you are capable of things that you never imagined? This book persuades you to believe in “you.”
Through mindfulness and meditation, spiritual teacher Singer gives you clarity on how to be in the present and feel your feelings and not run away from them. Healing is, after all, a process of knowing your triggers, processing them, and learning to handle them as you slowly move ahead.
5. Yes to Life in Spite of Everything by Viktor E. Frankl
While you must definitely read Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor’s Man’s Search for Meaning and Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning, I would recommend paying attention to this one. What a masterpiece! Viktor’s words are from the 40s; however, it resonates now more than ever. It brings hope in these dark times. It gives you strength as you journey through your post-traumatic growth.
6. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences by Peter A. Levine
Written originally in the late 90s, Waking the Tiger gave me a completely different perspective on healing trauma. It talks about humans’ innate capacity to transform trauma into unimaginable growth. This is done by looking at wild animals and their immunity to traumatic experiences. It reveals the road to healing and why it is so important for us to know what our triggers are, what is causing it, how we respond to it, how our body responds, and, eventually, healing.
7. Codependency No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie
If you are codependent, you will not get overwhelmed when you read that title. You know what it means. This book is a gem, especially during the pandemic because, boy, hasn’t there been a lot of reasons for us to get back to old patterns and unhealthy relationships?
Melody gets right to the point: stop fooling around with your health, your body, your mind, your brain. Stop worrying about everything else and focus just on yourself. That’s the clear, straightforward message the author intends to get to you. She has also followed this up with another book, The New Codependency, which focuses on today’s generation. There are also workbooks that are helpful and insightful.
8. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
It’s all in the title, isn’t it? Boundaries will help anybody and everybody take another look at their lives—codependent or not. While it may not delve deep into codependency and how important it is for codependents to set boundaries, it reveals methods that are definitely applicable in any situation. It shows you ways to set boundaries with your spouse, children, friends, parents, coworkers, and even yourself. It helps you answer some critical questions that may have kept you from setting those boundaries.
9. The Post-Traumatic Growth Guidebook: Practical Mind-Body Tools to Heal Trauma, Foster Resilience and Awaken Your Potential by Arielle Schwartz
Recovering from trauma and healing is an ongoing journey. It’s not a destination. Growth is inevitable if you look beyond suffering and use that to bring out the person lying dormant. You will start seeing your own potential. You are the hero or heroine of your own story.
This book is a must-have guide to learning about your mind and body to help the healing process. On that note, I would also recommend Arielle’s books on C-PTSD—especially the workbooks. Whether you are a therapy practitioner or are on your own self-healing journey, Arielle makes it extremely user-friendly and practical.
10. Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw
John Bradshaw is a household name in self-help. He is a magician of education and motivation. I have read many of his books, and this definitely is something that clicked instantly for me.
In this book, there will be a spur of self-discovery—the discovery of your wounded inner child and its many characteristics that have eaten up your adult self. Bradshaw urges you to reveal the inner child and begin recovery immediately.
I hope this helps you all. If you have recommendations on what we all could read, share them in the comments. Happy reading!
Healing is not about your perpetrator(s). It is about you. It is for you. It is yours.