I've hesitated in blogging on this particular subject as it is not comfortable. While it took me some time to blog about the narcissist in my life, this is something that wanted to stay buried deep inside. It didn't want to come out at all, because if it came out then I would have to acknowledge that it happened. And I don't know many adults that want to acknowledge trauma that they can't quite remember from their childhood. So here's a deep breath....and what I'm willing to share with the world at this point.
I'm not going to explain what trauma is. There are so many different definitions and types and depending on who you talk to it means one thing or another. I look at trauma as something that hurts you so badly it takes years and sometimes even a lifetime to recover from it. If anyone wants an official definition do some searches at medical sites as well as mental health sites...all the "official" definitions can make your head spin.
I've experienced trauma as an adult that I remember clearly and at the same time it's like I was in a glass box looking at everything, but not really feeling any of it. Lightning was diagnosed with multiple congenital heart abnormalities when he was still in utero and quite frankly that's what saved him. There were tons of doctors and tests and I felt a bit like a lab rat through the last 1.5 months of that pregnancy, but he was born safely. And the day after he was born he was flown in what looked like a baby rocket to have open heart surgery. It was a horrible experience for all of us and I wouldn't wish it on anyone...he was 3 weeks old before I got to hold him. He was in a medically induced coma the first time I saw him after he left on the baby rocket for his surgery. It. Was. Awful. But...I remember it. And I'm very grateful every time he has a checkup where his pediatric cardiologist says his heart repair is holding. We had one of the best surgeons for Lightning's particular procedure perform his surgery and if we are very, very lucky Lightning will never have to have another surgery. (Many thanks to Dr. Mohan Reddy of Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for giving my son the chance to have a life.)
I don't remember what happened during my childhood that made me block so many memories. There's a very clear suspicion that involves the father of a friend who I used to have sleepovers with....I remember going over to that house so many times and then suddenly never going there again. I remember not talking to my friend for years. Literally I would not ever speak to this girl and I didn't know why. There have been dreams and speculation since I gained my master's degree, but nothing definite. There is a quiet horror in not knowing what the hell happened to me. There is raging anger that someone forced me to do things I didn't understand. There is acknowledgement that I will never again be coerced into doing something I don't wish to do. And there is patience...patience that if I get to the point where I can remember without imploding, then the memories will come back to me.
There is tons of information on abuse in literature, but I'm more interested in trauma. Trauma is less cruel I think than the word abuse is...not entirely sure why I feel that way, but there it is. Because it can happen to anyone. Nobody knows what they can't comprehend until it happens to them. Disassociation is a tool we use to survive something we normally would not be able to deal with. If you are a trauma survivor don't let anyone belittle your experience. Many people will not understand what you went through. That's okay. If we were all traumatized there'd be all kinds of zombie apocalypse shit going on in the world. Those of us who have experienced trauma and have climbed out of the prison it can put us in are unique. We may have to be patient with those who don't understand....and with ourselves when we have setbacks.
I found this blog post by Michele Rosenthal to be very helpful....please share it with any others it may help -->