It is our natural state to act on our own behalf. All living things are dedicated to their own survival and wellbeing. When we can’t seem to connect with any part of ourselves that is going to act to care for us, and when instead we find there are parts of us that plan to harm us, this is evidence of a deep disruption in the natural order of things.
It is my experience that this disruption is the consequence of trauma.
Trauma is, in its simplest form, a circumstance where we can’t move. We are stuck. Sometimes this is a physical stuckness but more often it is emotional. Something has happened that we can’t make sense of and we are in some sense frozen in our tracks.
But of course, we are not frozen. We move on. And in the moving on we leave something unfinished, unresolved, unclear. And the part that is left behind carries the unexpressed emotion and a befuddled sense of what is.
We are rarely aware of these parts of us because we have other parts that work hard to keep them hidden. They are our wounds and one doesn’t move through life well when wounded. Others may see our woundedness and take advantage of us. It wouldn’t be safe to let others know these parts of ourselves so we hide them, even from ourselves.
But the parts of us that are born of trauma will not go away. They continue to fester and from time to time will assert themselves in any way they can. Sometimes this is by an over-reaction to some actual event in our lives. Sometimes this is by the creation of some drama in an important relationship. And sometimes it is by harming ourselves.
We all have such wounds and we all try to hide them. For those of us for whom these wounds have formed in the context of our most significant relationships, that with our parents or other care givers when we were children, we are not going to be able to discover and heal them without having significant relationships in the present that are both healthy enough and strong enough. That is, we need to have a relationship with a skilled therapist.
The reason to be in therapy is not because you are bad, or wrong, or broken. The reason to be in therapy is that you are worth it. Healing is hard work and it requires a wise coach and strong container and the therapy should provide both.