Today, I’ve decided it’s time to share one of the best childhood trauma coping mechanisms I’ve EVER learned how to do. (Oh yes, I’ve tried quite a few. And trust me, none of it hit home like this.) I’ve been doing this a lot these past few weeks due to the recent passing of my mother; which has definitely opened up the big black hole of my past.
If you are someone who is looking for ways to heal that stupid, agonizing, disgusting, makes-you-sick-to-your-stomach, type of trauma… then you stumbled upon the right place, my dear friend.
I guarantee this will work! HOWEVER…
You have to put in the work. You have to practice it like how you would practice a meditation. Don’t panic if you’ve never meditated or don’t know how. I’m here to walk you through this.
But I promise you, if you really give in to the mental image we will paint together, I promise you this will work and you will start healing those wounds and strengthen your journey to better mental health which can open up so many doors of opportunity you didn’t even know was out there.
I know this is hard. I know this will make you extremely exposed. So I have to give you a *fair warning* that this is something you do ALONE.
Please don’t try to do this when your kids are running around the living room all crazy and your stress levels are high.
Please don’t do this when you are getting ready for work and need to put your game face on.
Please don’t do this when you are spending time with good company and are around a bunch a people.
PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs as your judgment is very impaired and you could do more damage to yourself than any good.
Great, now that you’re scared… I just want you to know that this is a personal, self-journey. If you must have company when you do this, I honestly suggest a counselor. Maybe a good friend or your spouse but I highly don’t recommend it.
Don’t have any “me” time? Trust me. You absolutely do! Take 15 minutes away from checking social media and do this instead. Done! Easy peasy.
This is YOUR journey and YOUR pain. We are adults and now it’s time to deal with it! Unfortunately, growing up means taking responsibilities for other’s horrible actions. If you don’t, you’ll never be your truest, most genuine self and you will never move forward in your pursuit of happiness.
And if you aren’t pursuing happiness and living your best life… what are you doing?Wallowing? Suffering? Staying stuck? Can’t get our of your head? Always tensed and stressed? Constantly triggered by things and sometimes you don’t even know exactly what? Feeling sick for no reason? Insomnia much?
The hurt from your pasts affects you today and all of your tomorrows if it’s not dealt with. I know… believe me. I know.
That used to be me. Not anymore.
Now that you’ve made some time for yourself, grab a piece of paper and a pen for your exercise (that always helps me to focus). Maybe some tissue. Ever heard the phrase, it has to get messy before it can get clean? Alright. Let’s get down to business shall we?
Childhood trauma coping mechanism #1 – Healing that little You.
- Pick 1 childhood memory to think about. It’s okay to go a little in depth. Prepare yourself for the pain, anger, sadness, grief, anxiety, guilt, shame, hopelessness and any other such negative emotions that comes your way. Let yourself feel them just enough to recognize them. Write down those emotions. DO NOT let those PAST emotions replace your CURRENT emotions. That’s that hardest part. We look back and we take in what we used to feel and next thing you know, it ruins our whole day because we stayed in those PAST emotions. Don’t do that. Stay with me here.
- Be WHO that little you needs during that very difficult time. Maybe the abuser is who you needed at that specific time but of course not in that form they were in. Maybe you needed a loving and nurturing mother at that time. Maybe you needed a strong and protective dad by your side. Most of our childhood traumas stem from our very own parents and family members, so I have a surprise person who can be there for that past pain: YOUR ADULT SELF. Who you are right now, today, is what your childhood self needs. Be who you needed. You’ll see how it all connects in just a moment.
- Decide WHAT your childhood self needs from you. This is where you stop being that little child and stop reliving that painful memory. Go back to being who you actually are in the present so you can look at it like you are walking into the scene of your selected childhood memory rather than putting yourself back into those little shoes. I know it hurts but imagine you’re witnessing the “event” that happened. Now decide what that child (the younger you) needed. A huge bear hug? A shoulder to cry on? A hand to take them away? How about loving arms that surround them, making them feel secure and safe. Hear the cries. Now whisper this powerful message to your little self: I am so sorry you got hurt like this. I love you and I am going to make sure you are safe from now on. Please let this go because you do not deserve to keep hurting and suffering from it. I am here for you now, my sweet little me.
- Create a big black box with chains and a lock in your mind. After you are done comforting that child you once were, you should already feel a huge sense of emotional pressure lift off your shoulders. I know I did on my very first try! It was beautiful. It’s an art of recognizing, healing and letting go. We don’t need to hold on to what hurt us. We have to learn from it so we can be better people and raise our own kids better. Oh, back to the point… So what I like to do is envision a big, black box with chains and a lock. That’s where my painful memories go. Once I heal that little girl I once was and I know she’s okay, I put the painful part of the memory, like the event and I mentally lock it up with all of my other “negative” thoughts. What? That sounds crazy you say? Well, it works. My good thoughts and memories are free to roam my mind. However, when I come across my dark ones, I have to take care of it but I nurture it first.
Bottom line is, we ARE in control of what we choose to feel. We are in control of choosing positive things over negative and vice versa. Sometimes the negative ones are so LOUD though. That’s where exercises like this come in. It’s to help you get out of it.
Our minds are so very powerful it’s not even funny. We don’t know know how powerful our minds even are.
That’s not to say the reality of how we can’t control what has already happened. True. Despite that reality, we HAVE to manage what has caused the turmoil in our minds and hearts.
Okay, so, after you lock it up and get it out of the way, you’ll find you have more space and mental ability to focus on the good things and to focus on the present moment which is even MORE good things! Every day should be filled with hope and abundance. You can make every day be a good day. You just have to decide.
We are survivors. I hope you found this helpful. This exercise really saved me from myself so many times. I absolutely love it.
Until next time! Onwards and upwards!