THIS!

I just finished reading Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. It’s an absolutely brilliant book, but since I don’t have a tremendous amount of free time to leisure read with all of my classwork, it’s taken me months to get through it. Still, I tried to open the e-book on my iPad during longer train rides to sneak a quick read and give my brain a break from school-related reading. I came across this passage recently, which seems incredibly relevant to the current struggles I’m having in therapy:

While human contact and attunement are the wellspring of physiological self-regulation, the promise of closeness often evokes fear of getting hurt, betrayed, and abandoned. Shame plays an important role in this: “You will find out how rotten and disgusting I am and dump me as soon as you really get to know me.” Unresolved trauma can take a terrible toll on relationships. If your heart is still broken because you were assaulted by someone you loved, you are likely to be preoccupied with not getting hurt again and fear opening up to someone new. In fact, you may unwittingly try to hurt them before they have a chance to hurt you.

This poses a real challenge for recovery. Once you recognize that posttraumatic reactions started off as efforts to save your life, you may gather the courage to face your inner music (or cacophony), but you will need help to do so. You have to find someone you can trust enough to accompany you, someone who can safely hold your feelings and help you listen to the painful messages from your emotional brain. You need a guide who is not afraid of your terror and who can contain your darkest rage, someone who can safeguard the wholeness of you while you explore the fragmented experiences that you had to keep a secret from yourself for so long. Most traumatized individuals need an anchor and a great deal of coaching to do this work.

I sort of just want to bring this excerpt into session with me and say,
“THIS! Can you do THIS?!”
Advertisements

34 thoughts on “THIS!

  1. CassandCo says:

    Have totes read this. Was the first book I read on the subject of trauma actually. So much validation (mixed with horror at how much it applied to my situation). I’m glad you’ve found it useful. Yeah, I hope your therapist can be that for you. My gf probs fits that role the most for me. But only cos I see her way more than I see my therapist (an hr every two weeks).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sam Ruck says:

      Yeah, I spend 24/7 helping my girls heal in every aspect of life. A wise therapist ought to be teaching the SO’s and spouses to do what a therapist simply cannot do in a couple hours of counseling sessions each week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CassandCo says:

        I agree that spousal training could greatly aid healing, especially where the person with DID is unable to explain what they need.

        Spousal support generally seems vital. The impact on my partner has been huge. Even just the exposure to trauma material has been extremely draining for her, let alone switching and keeping track of normal life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • CassandCo says:

        Yeah, there are definite repercussions. It has taken a huge toll mentally and physically on us both. Like having children but deeply traumatised ones who need constant care.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sam Ruck says:

        Huge toll on us too. I feel like I’ve been in a trauma ward for 7 years and every time we get the new girl stable, healing and integrated into our family and to the place where she can talk and be co-conscious with the others, another one comes out and we have to start the process over…

        Liked by 2 people

      • CassandCo says:

        I can relate to this. It can feel never ending but it is just testament to how much abuse went on. All these layers were needed to protect and distance the trauma in order to survive. It is such a difficult process.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Andi says:

        I think it’s tricky because so many SOs are NOT helpful, especially in relationships where one person was severely abused. I remember my former therapist asking to meet my wife (gf at the time) because she wanted to make sure I wasn’t in an abusive relationship. That being said, if the SO is willing and capable, I definitely think they should be educated and supported in how to help make the therapeutic more effective and to fill some of the “gaps” between session/contact.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sam Ruck says:

        In the beginning of our journey together I was NOT helpful. I wasn’t abusive, and was ALWAYS safe for the little girls, but 20 years of a dysfunctional marriage had left me shattered and a mess, too. So my wife often spent sessions with her counselor dealing with my blowup of the week rather than their stuff. BUT once I had gotten my act together and had come to a place of acceptance (as much as possible) about the dysfunctional state of our marriage, I was no longer a hindrance.

        But it still took some time until I understood enough about what was healing for them, and then I really became an asset and at that point my wife told me I had supplanted her therapist as the most healing aspect in her life.

        But I had to figure it out all on my own. If I’d had some help, maybe it wouldn’t have taken us so long to get to the place where I was no longer a hindrance but now an asset.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ambivalencegirl says:

    “You need a guide who is not afraid of your terror and who can contain your darkest rage, someone who can safeguard the wholeness of you while you explore the fragmented experiences that you had to keep a secret from yourself for so long. ”
    Yes, I want someone who can do THAT!!
    I’ve had so many therapists who seemed fearful of my behaviors. In turn that made me feel more panicked and more different and bad and wrong. It wasn’t until someone acknowledged my fear and panic had a reason and they listened and believed and it makes me not so afraid of my past and myself. And it is a great book. Thanks for reminding me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I think having therapists who are intimidated/frightened by the magnitude of our realities can be extremely detrimental. We all deserve someone who can hold the entirety of what our life has been and how we continue to experience it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ambivalencegirl says:

        True and for me it used to give my behaviors more power. Like my ED would be made worse when I felt too sick for anyone to see me. And no one was willing to take me on individually and tx centers said it would be unethical for me to treated without a team or without being impatient. But my current T was willing to see me and not scared by my weight or lack of and that made me better. It was no longer an issue or a game and I could get better. And she was the first to understand and question my fear and believed I felt fear. Everyone else thought it was about the food and control and it so wasn’t that. Once somebody listened to me and moved beyond the control theory I was able to move on as well. Which is fortunate for me related to not having AN anymore but not so fortunate in that I have to face the PTSD which has always been the bigger issue and far more difficult to heal.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s