You need an empathetic listener. This can be a friend, a loved one, a therapist, a preacher, a coach, a bartender (if they are listening and you are not drunk).
We All Need Someone To Lean On
Here’s the thing: we are all carrying around baggage.
- past hurts (relationships, parents, best friends)
- past traumatic events (accidents, near death, getting kicked out of prep school, crashing a car)
- unresolved issues with our parents
- unresolved issues with ourselves
All of these things carry weight. As they continue to fester in our lives, as we grow older, as we don’t work them out, they get darker and stronger. It’s a bad recipe for growing up. It’s even worse if you hope to be in a loving and healthy relationship. If you are covered in your trauma, you will not be able to see or respond when the right one comes along.
Many leaders, coaches, and gurus will tell you their process, their program, their way is the only way to release trauma and get back to a healthy life. Well, the good news is this, releasing your trauma can be as easy as telling your story to another supportive and attentive person. The bad news is, it still hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot.
Telling Your Trauma Story
I’ve talked about my trauma(s) for years now. I’ve done some traditional talk therapy around it. I’ve done several EMDR sessions. I’ve had spiritual healers pull the black bastards of fear and sadness off my soul so often, it seems to me that I would be healed by now. But that’s not exactly how trauma works. It’s never just gone. But it does get rather small and manageable.
Today, when I speak or write about my trauma, the painful hooks and triggers are no longer active. It’s like a being handed a red rose stem with all the barbs taken off. The story is still sad. I can still revive the anger that I used to blast out of the traumatic experience. And I can bless at this little incident now like a sneeze. “Gesundheit.”
I’ve also so learned that writing about my trauma can have the same healing effect. Just putting the experience down, I get a chance to feel and transform those feelings using my intelligence and my resources today. An even higher level of release comes for me if I then read my post to a close friend. It has been an amazing experience to have written something I felt was pretty good and then reading it to my partner and letting the tears come. This is a rare and powerful event.
What Is Happening In Trauma Release
I am bring seen. My child-self (inner-child) is been seen. And even though, in that moment, there was no one to come rescue my child-self, I can now retell the story as an adult and give that frightened child a voice and a witness. So much of what hurts about trauma is the lack of witnesses and the lack of exposure and understanding. By writing and then reading my story to someone I love and trust, I am processing it twice over.
My explanation is simple. The process is simple. The work is hard. But I highly recommend it. You can start on your own. Write about your early childhood traumas. What are the things that hurt you? What things happened with no adult around to give you safety and comfort? Today, your writing and speaking can re-experience this event with a new more holistic experience. [NOTE: If you get too triggered or upset by the writing, stop, see a professional you can work with.]
Several articles I’ve written about trauma: