You don’t have to earn your support.
i think sometimes trauma survivors fall into this place where it’s very hard to believe that anything that happened to you was that bad. and the only proof you have that it was that bad is that you’re suffering. and so healing can be really scary and difficult because it means giving up the only tangible evidence you have that you were traumatized in the first place
Let me get this straight with all you invalidating ableist fuckwits.
Trauma is not “something bad that happened to you”. It’s not “a bad experience” or “a problem you once had”.
Trauma is a literal scar on your brain. Trauma is a life-changing experience that leaves a different person in its wake. A traumatic experience or multiple traumatic experiences lies their fingers in every part of your life. You can be happy again, you can cope, you can go to therapy and work out all of your issues. But you will never be the same again. Your life will never be the same again. You will always have to accommodate your trauma and take it everywhere with you.
We are not “over-reacting to a bad experience”. We are not “too sensitive”, you do not get to dictate if and when we “get over it” and you sure as fuck don’t get to dictate who or what triggers us and when.
me, talking about my trauma: haha yeah it was no big deal tho i don’t really care it’s whatever honestly
somebody: validates my trauma and says i shouldn’t have had to go through that
me, suddenly crying: huh. weird
when you go from a bad situation into a better one you may collapse exhausted and unsure what to do and full of grief, you may need time to regain the ability to do things as yourself or motivated by anything other than terror, you may need time to process or mourn or fall apart in ways you could not before,
and people may use this as proof that the old situation was better for you, proof that you need to go back, and it is not proof that it was better for you or proof that you need to go back
It’s so incredibly common to “fall apart” when you’re finally safe. You no longer need to stay so tightly coiled in on yourself, you can finally leave survival mode and process your trauma. You’re not holding yourself up by sheer terror anymore and suddenly the damage that terror has done to you becomes immediate and obvious.
This is so important. Don’t go back. Things are already getting better, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
This is a documented phenomenon with abuse in particular. I’ve had a number of people ask me why they’re falling apart now after they’ve moved into a safer home, or they’re in a less dangerous area, or they’ve left an exploitative job, or they’re in a healthy relationship for the first time. Generally, it’s because they made that positive change.
When we’re still in the midst of crisis, we’re often too overloaded and physically/emotionally unsafe to really feel or process anything. So for most of us, everything gets pushed down/repressed/dissociated until later, when we’re safe and supported. The threshold of safety at which processing begins to occur varies from person to person. And the mental calculations used to determine “safety” usually happen on an unconscious level. Very few of us have the conscious thought “I’m safe now, so I can process what happened to me.” Instead, the subconscious realizes some level of safety has been achieved, and so it just dumps a load of suppressed stuff.
Sometimes, it’s contrast to past experiences that makes us realize something was traumatic at all. In such cases, it’s not that we’ve reached a level of safety and can thus begin to process, it’s that we finally have a basis for comparison to know that what went before was unacceptable.
reminder for all of us healing
Complex Trauma, Complex Reactions.
(This is a phone pic of a thing I made in art therapy the day I got a diagnosis. May upload a bigger version in the future.)
You don’t have to be grateful that it isn’t worse.
read it again, and again, and again.
somebody, somewhere, always has it worse than you. there is one person on this planet that has it the worst of all, and that person is NOT the only person allowed to be unhappy with their lot.
if things are bad for you, they are bad for you. period.
This goes for trauma as well. A lot of times survivors get trapped in a cycle of minimizing/diminishing their trauma because “other people have it worse” – but there is no hierarchy of trauma. There is no ranking system for which traumas are “better” or “worse.” Your trauma is valid. Period.
As a therapist, lemme just say: almost every trauma survivor I’ve ever had has at some point said “But I didn’t have it as bad as some people” and then talked about how other types of trauma are worse. Even my most-traumatized, most-abused, most psychologically-injured clients say this.
The ones who were cheated on, abandoned, and neglected say this. The ones who were in dangerous accidents/disasters say this. The ones who were horrifyingly sexually abused say this. The ones who were brutally beaten say this. The ones who were psychologically tortured for decades say this. What does that tell you? That one of the typical side-effects of trauma is to make you believe that you are unworthy of care.
Don’t buy into it, because it’s nonsense. It doesn’t matter if someone else had it “worse.” Every person who experiences a trauma deserves to get the attention and care they need to heal from it.