Healing from Childhood Trauma

As promised, we are starting this new chapter of Lost in the Adventure with a topic that I am still working on in my life. I am hoping that sharing my thoughts and feelings about my past might help someone down the road. I knew when I wanted to go in this new direction that this would be a centerpiece topic for me, but even as I am beginning to write and open up, I’m still nervous about laying it all out there. But, here goes nothing. 

I went through childhood trauma with my biological maternal parent. She put me through emotional, mental, and physical abuse for years. Obviously, at the time, I did not know the extent of what was happening to me and what would continue to affect me for years to come. She and my dad divorced when I was seven I think. No separation when kids are involved is ever easy, but this was more brutal than most. I was scared and confused during this time and didn’t understand why they couldn’t be together anymore. Nowadays, it hurts my brain to even try to picture them together, which is so bizarre. I mean, you have these two people that created you and you can’t imagine a couple that is more wrong together than them. As my new normal settled in, I wish I could have seen the ways that the person I was supposed to trust the most was manipulating and using me for a personal agenda. She would make up lies about my dad and tell them to me to turn me against him. So I would go to his house thinking these awful things, but realize they weren’t true as I spent time with him and my family. Then, it would come crashing down. When I went back to her house, I was given the third degree about everything I did at my dad’s and told I shouldn’t like him or my family. As a child, it felt like picking sides and I felt that I was always picking the wrong one. 

The physical abuse didn’t start until I started standing up for myself, my dad, and my family. When I was 12 and 13, I recognized that her behavior and mental state were not normal. As soon as I stopped agreeing with her every word, I turned into enemy number one. I was pushed down, had my hair pulled, and grabbed at when we got into arguments. She even locked me out of the house one night when things got really heated. The emotional and mental abuse, along with the physical abuse, made entering my teenage years a chore. She would try to make me feel bad for her and then get mad again in a matter of minutes. It all came to a head in the spring of 2008. She was admitted to receive psychiatric care and I started living with my dad and family full-time. You would think that this would be the end, that nothing else note-worthy would happen after this. So much more has happened since then, things that have shaken me to my core, but I’ll skip that for now and move on to how I processed it and tried moved on.

For the rest of jr. high and high school, I honestly thought everything was all better. She wasn’t in my life except for the occasional small-town run-in, birthday card, or voicemail since I didn’t answer her calls. Looking back, I think I was sweeping my trauma under the rug. If I didn’t think about it, it wasn’t there and it didn’t matter. It sure did come out in other ways such as my constant need to people please and never wanting to be alone. I was (sometimes still am) a mess if someone I care about is upset with me. My relationships failed because of my constant neediness and insecurities. It took a long time and being alone with my feelings to figure out I had some shit to work through. 

Fun fact: healing is not linear. Of course, I did not know this starting out and would get frustrated when I had worked through something I thought I was done getting upset about only to find myself bawling over it. As I was working through things in therapy, I kept having these little epiphanies about why I acted the way that I acted. The woman that married my dad is who I call mom now. She had a big job handed to her when it came to me and my baggage. Once I started living with them full-time, we developed a natural mother-daughter bond with half of the time acting like best friends and the other half being mad at one another. I never knew why I would cry every time my mom got upset with me. Then, one day in therapy, it clicked. When I would disappoint her, I thought that meant she didn’t love me anymore and I didn’t want to lose another mom. With the biological one, her love was very fickle, so as a child, I learned to do everything she said in order to receive her praise. That’s what I thought a mother’s love was. It never occurred to me that my mom would love me no matter what, even if I did my own thing that she might not agree with.

I’m a work in progress. I still get upset when I think of my past sometimes. Mostly, my heart hurts for the little girl that had to go through the hardest years of her life when they were supposed to be the happiest. I try to remember the good to outweigh the bad. All the memories I have with the woman that birthed me are tarnished with lies and manipulation. I moved to get away and start new. No one knew me as the girl who had a crazy mom whom she chose not to talk to. No one to ask me how she was doing or say “oh aren’t you her daughter?”. I’ll continue to work on healing myself and re-wiring my brain 600 miles away from her.

One thought on “Healing from Childhood Trauma

  1. U are never alone u have a lot of people that love you very much. Sometimes we are all a hot mess.I pray that u have a blessed day hugs 🎆


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