Trauma is about what did not happen

Quote Anon

Insecurities, broken trust, tragic events, sudden changes in circumstances, life changes and unexpected happenings are all part of life’s darker side of life. Some make us stronger, many leave scars and without us knowing pivot us to pathways anew.

As a behaviour adviser with little people from four years old to sixteen, ACEs (Adverse childhood experiences) are common place across classrooms. They often manifest as difficult or dangerous behaviour. Extroverts scream, punch and kick out for support and a need to be soothed. Whilst introverts often wear masks that don’t reveal how they are feeling, burying emotions deep and silencing needs and desires. Either reaction usually has toxic results.

In child protection meetings, of which I attend too often, the focus is on legislation and protective actions…again, these often result in further trauma for the child or exacerbate the situation before any soothing and healing can occur. Why? The focus is on the trauma. What happened, who failed to protect their child, what professional did or didn’t do, capturing the child’s voice (gathering the child’s thoughts and feelings on the trauma and life), the focus is always on the trauma.

Traumas are hard to define as something that I may find traumatic to experience, you may think was irrelevant. Children in split parent situations can have 2 loving parents and go contently from one family to another, however if the rules at Daddies are completely different to Mummies and we add on school expectations and standards, the child can become insecure, experience attachment issues and generally be confused about how to behave. A sibling of that same child, may find the transitions effortless and enjoy the variety of experiences. Often as parents we may feel that ‘trauma’ is that Mummy and Daddy separated; surprisingly children are often adaptable to these alternations with a little time, the trauma described above isn’t about home being separated or parents splitting…it’s about a consistent approach to parenting.

Through social media, often people feel the need to list or label traumas they have experienced. Whilst that can be a great first step in moving forward, we often need to look at what that traumatic experience taught us; what we lacked or received too much of. A helicopter parent often doesn’t allow a child to independently think – as an adult that person may need to overcome their trauma by making independent choices and growing in confidence with their decision process…

Often this quote is correct, the event felt traumatic because of what didn’t happen. The best way we can overcome future traumas is to listen to what we need now. If you’ve burnt the candle at both ends, make time for rest. If your life style is too static – it’s time to move your body. The hardest part of this process to live a positive life style is to remember to check in on yourself, journaling and a meditation practise can often add pause buttons to daily life.

So what do you need? Serve yourself first, fill your cup up and you’ll have capacity to help those around you. Turn you rainy days into rainbows, it doesn’t stop the rain but it doesn’t improve the view.