If you’ve been through challenging experiences in the past, you will know what I’m talking about in this blog post. Trauma survival is not easy, and healing through it is just as difficult. I’m referring to the trauma of abuse of any kind, or any situation you’ve experienced where it has been traumatic.
Trauma survival is when we tend to do whatever we need to do to deal with a situation. When we were little kids, and something happened to us, we would survive in the best way we knew at the time. For adults, survival is not necessarily a well thought out process. Typically, it is reacting in the moment, trying to escape whatever happened to you.
We’ve had so many situations in the world filled with trauma that they are going to impact us in the years ahead. It is not easy to make sense of them, and if you’re in the middle of the events that happened, the sights and sounds and memories will stay connected for what seems like a lifetime.
In my own life, I had traumatic moments that still feel just as real today as they did back when they happened. In some cases, I can even detect the smells, hear the screams and almost remember minute by minute what happened.
There are other things that I experience now that I believe connect to trauma survival, but for the life of me, I cannot see the whole picture. As Dr. Bessel Vander Kolk says, “our minds remember too much and too little.” I can feel and see the moments, but not enough to completely describe what they are.
Trauma survival for me was learning how to get through moments in the past. It meant doing whatever I had to do. I learned how to read people quickly because sometimes it helped me evade what was coming, or lessen it. I learned how to react quickly. It helped me stay one step ahead of the monsters in my life.
One of the things that I learned during the trauma in my life was not to trust anyone. I learned not to take people at their word. While this may have helped me then, it often isolates me in my current life. It is something I still struggle to overcome. Another thing that it has inflicted upon me is the feeling that I’m not wanted, when in fact there are people around me reaching out with support.
Some things we learn during trauma survival are useful, but we always need to evaluate later if they still are. Often, what we used to survive can become a hindrance to us in life. The more we become aware and conscious, the more we discover all parts of our existence, not just survival moments.