So Much Pain
There are so many people in the world in pain. I am referring to the psychological pain that so many people carry with them. They (me included) are the walking wounded. If my emotional wounds were to appear on the outside of my body suddenly, it would be a wonder that I am walking around at all.
But I am. And I have been. It wasn’t always the greatest, but I am making progress. In that progress, I realize so much about myself. And of the world around me, and other people, like me, are out there with deep emotional wounds.
Are you surprised by that? You shouldn’t be. The reported data of child abuse alone is astounding. And those are the reported incidents. I am one of the many uncounted. I am not even a number in that data. And once those abused children become adults? No one that I am aware of is tracking that.
Like Me, Us All
Adult survivors of childhood abuse and trauma are the lost ones. Once we become adults, we are supposed to be suddenly okay? That isn’t how that works at all. It can be retraumatizing to go into the world as an adult without understanding how to be functional. And then, we are adding layers upon layers of trauma, pain, and dysfunction. And that is how so many of us are out in the world, barely functioning.
Like me, how many others have been numbing the pain with alcohol or drugs? I would say the majority of them. Because I know that’s what I did when I didn’t understand why I hurt so much. And it took a long time to get to the understanding part. First, I had to get through the realization part.
The realization that abusers raised me. My parents raised me to be a sexual, verbal, and emotional victim. All of that abuse was to make themselves feel better. I grew into an adult with a dysfunctional view of the world. The reactionary part of my brain (yes, amygdala, I am writing about you) took over, sending me downward or backward to a time when I hated myself.
I hated myself because the people who raised me taught me that I was not worthy of love. The opposite of love is hate. I believed that if I hated myself, it would endear me to them somehow. And perhaps then they would love me.
Now, well into adulthood, I realize that I don’t want my life to be the skewed view of the world that I was taught. Those triggers once saved me now hinder me. They keep me from healing.
I guess they do help sometimes. When I am triggered, I am at a point where I can look at what is happening around me to determine what has triggered me and figure out why then work through that so that I don’t react that way again.
Because here is what I have figured out (with the help of my therapist). My triggers are going to continue to exist in this world. That I know to be true. Are people suddenly yelling? Yup, it still exists. Being in a large crowd of people that I can’t analyze every one of them? Check on that too.
The only way I can work not to be triggered is to retrain my brain. It also means that I need my hyperawareness for a bit longer. It also means that my reactions to triggers will keep happening for a while longer.
It will take a while to retrain my brain to work through eighteen years of trauma. That is a fact. I don’t know how long, but I am not worried about that. There are no shortcuts. I tried those. And they aren’t shortcuts; they were ignorant, denying my truth. It isn’t a shortcut; it was a dead end.
(I Have) Worth
It isn’t even the triggers that I am changing. It is my worth. I grew up taught that I am worthless. I ended up wanting everyone to like me. I was taught that my worth is based on what other people think of me, in other people. If they like all of those people (spreads arms over imaginary crowd), then I must be a good person. They all can’t be wrong about how worthwhile I am.
I am emerging as a worthy person. But not because other people believe that, but because I do. My worth needs to come from within myself. If it comes from the outside, other people, I end up back on that hamster wheel of people-pleasing. The only one who loses in that situation is me.
Well, I think the other people are losing a bit too. They don’t know the true me because I am putting on a front the whole time. There are bits and pieces of me that show through, but for the most part, it isn’t me. So I guess there aren’t any winners. There are only losses within myself and those who never know me. Cause, you know, I am pretty cool.