“Grief of this sort is a necessary and restorative process that permits a person to bring new life and a renewed sense of hope to childhood hardship and deprivation. Looked at in this way grief allows us to cleanse ourselves of hurt and loss and continue to grow and to expand our sense of ourselves.“
– Synergia Counseling, Victoria, BC
Welcome back! This is part III of a series exploring the impact of childhood trauma, what we can do to heal, and the insight I gather through my own journey. For further resource please also visit Trauma Confession Series: Overcoming Avoidance and Trauma Confession Series: Love After Abuse.
Forgive my absence. It has been my experience that the process of mourning childhood loss has devastated my ability to create content. Today, I hope to take a step back and examine what this means and why it’s important in the recovery process as it relates to surviving childhood trauma.
Grief or mourning often results while overcoming the avoidance of past trauma by confronting the truth of what happened to you. You may find yourself feeling sorrowful or resentful for the deprivation or abuse you experienced. You may feel an intense rage toward your perpetrators for what they took from you. You may experience significant disruption to your typical internal experiences and dialogue. This type of grief is different from traditional loss, and may present itself in the form of regression. Regression is described as a return to a state of consciousness that reflects the age or mindset you were in at the time of a painful or violating event.
Acknowledging these psychological phenomena as they are occurring can be a challenge. Many people may not even realize they are grieving due to the flailing it may cause, and may display outwardly uncharacteristic behavior such as irritability, agitation, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, crying spells, flashbacks or depression. You might also notice frantic efforts to avoid psychological anguish such as increased distraction, substance abuse, or other self destructive patterns.
The important thing is to acknowledge, accept, and allow this grief to run its course while realizing the wealth of wisdom that can come from it. Acknowledging our mourning rather than trying to suppress it teaches us value of self. It allows us to accept the painful experiences we have endured by acknowledging they were unjust, undeserving, and have no bearing whatsoever on our worth. Allowing these sensations to well up and wane is extremely agonizing, but it also allows us due process. When you resurface again, you will be all the stronger and wiser for it.
This is not easy! This is legitimate self-work that requires exposure and suffering. It is no wonder why so many, myself included, prefer concealment or denial. Personally, I consider this one of the most difficult steps toward recovery from trauma, as it often results in a significant return of symptoms related to mental illness. Just as we must overcome avoidance by staying in the presence of pain, we must also acknowledge and empathize with the child in us who was slated or abandoned.
Synergia Counseling has published an exceptional blog on the topic of Adult Grieving in Response to Childhood Loss or Trauma. In it they explain the self awareness that may be lacking, the unmet needs of a thriving childhood, and the emotional or intellectual development that may halt as a result of exposure to trauma.
You will tremble, cry, rage, languish, and writhe – but – you will also stabilize, heal, resolve, strengthen and ease again.
From Psychology Today, 9 Steps to Healing Childhood Trauma as an Adult
**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at email@example.com!**
For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!
In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!