Do you continue to struggle with dealing with feelings of shame while on your journey of emotional trauma healing?
Choosing to embark on a journey of emotional healing following a traumatic event can be the hardest, most rewarding decision for victims of trauma. However, many don’t choose the journey of emotional trauma healing. Sometimes the pain is too much, the shame is unbearable, and they are doing all they can to just hold it together.
What is emotional trauma?
The American Psychological Association defines Trauma as an emotional response to a terrible event like the death of loved one, abuse, impact of poverty, rape–or any event that leaves a lasting impact on your life and as a result, you have developed emotional and/or physical symptoms as a means of coping. You may even find it hard to avoid thinking about what happened and have made vows to yourself that nothing like “the event” will ever happen to you again.
Some victims of trauma may do the opposite and are unable to fathom the thought of ever thinking about the event. Consequently, they avoid it all together. They may not remember details or have disassociated completely. Most victims of trauma struggle with guilt and shame—that it was something they did (or didn’t do) that caused it to happen to them. This is a common response for victims of trauma.
Why do I need to address the pain of trauma?
So that you can begin to release the shame associated with carrying around secrets that were never meant for you to carry. There should be no hidden things in your heart that will hinder your spiritual, physical or emotional growth. You address the pain to begin the healing. As a survivor, you are not defined by what happened but empowered to reclaim the narratives of your story.
It is my belief that as a Christian, God wants us to overcome the shame so that we can help others that have their own journeys of healing to begin.
We want others to know that they too can heal, be restored and empowered.
How do I begin overcoming the shame that came as a result of a painful experience?
“It hurts so bad. No one could ever know what happened to me. They will not look at me the same. What if someone finds out and they judge me? The person I loved most told me it was it was fault.”
1. Honestly acknowledge what happened to you.
You can do this with yourself or with a mental health professional. Journal about it. Record a video. Record a voice memo. If you are artistically creative, draw or create an artistic expression of what happened to you.
Emotional trauma healing is a hard process and should not be taken lightly. It is my recommendation as a mental health professional, to seek out professional mental health practitioners to help guide you through the process. If remembering traumatic events trigger other unhealthy behaviors, your healing process SHOULD begin with seeking out a mental health professional.
2. Acknowlege the impact:
Acknowledge the impact that the event has had on your life. Did you change after it happened? If so, how? Did others change? Do you feel like the trajectory of your life changed? This process helps you to begin crafting a full picture of the impact the traumatic event had on you, consciously or subconsciously. You can read more about tipster identifying the source of your past pain in my post here
3. Validate yourself:
Self-validation is the process of attaching the emotions that you may have or be experiencing as a result of the trauma. For example, “I felt ashamed that my partner raped me and I did not stop them.” During validation, you’re completely honest about how you may have felt or may be feeling, regardless of what someone else may have said or not. You don’t need anyone else to agree with how you feel. How you feel is just that—how you feel. Period.
4. Forgive yourself, first:
Forgiveness is a hard process for some people. This process can take time and is best done with some form of emotional support and accountability. When learning to overcome shame, forgive yourself for blaming yourself and feeling like you should’ve or shouldn’t have done something different. Tell yourself,
IT WAS NOT MY FAULT.
You did not ask for this to happen to you nor did you have any control over it. Your body responded naturally, but it didn’t mean that you were consenting. If it happened when you were a child, you were just a child and COULD NOT CONSENT. Say aloud,
I forgive myself for it all. It was not my fault!
This is one of most necessary steps of emotional trauma healing and arguably, the most important.
Now that you have gone through these four steps, you will not magically be over it. You will still have times that you will be angry, hurt or disappointed. Shame will try to reappear on multiple occasions and when it does, you can simply remind shame that you have forgiven yourself and it was not your fault.
Friend, this is the beginning process I had to go through when I began dealing with being raped, abandonment by my parents, and betrayal by people that I loved. Shame rears her head in my life from time to time and when she does, I remind her that she no longer has control of my story, I do! You can read encouragement about my forgiveness process on this post.
May I leave you with this encouragement?
I want to see you win and flourish, to survive and thrive and to be free from shame. Emotional trauma healing is hard but necessary for your growth.
Is there something that you’re holding on to today that you need to deal with? Healing and wholeness is possible and is what you were created to walk in.
It was not God’s will for your life. God NEVER meant for bad things to happen to you so that it can work for your good. Trauma is not the heart of The Father but the results of living in a fallen world.
Today we stand in truth that you may be still hurting and that it was not our Father’s will for it happen. We’re also standing in faith and expectation that there is a plan for you to recover EVERYTHING that was LOST!
The time is now! If you’re reading this and have walked through a similar healing process, feel free to comment and share a portion of your journey with someone else. You never know how your experience could help someone else.
*disclaimer* The information given in this post is by no mean a substitute for seeking professional mental health services. For more information about trauma and how to go about locating a mental health professional, click here for further details. If you find that you are in need of immediate assistance, dial911. For other help, you may contact the Crisis Text line to speak with a crisis counselor by going here for further details.