“Every woman is the architect of her own fortune”
– The Miniaturist
When we become trauma-informed, we are able to design way better futures. That is our fortune! “Underneath the traumatized persona, there is a healthy individual that never found expression of her life. If you see that, you are trauma- informed! See the human, not the problem!”
Dr. Maté in the documentary about his work, the Wisdom of Trauma.
I am no trauma-expert, other than expert on my own journey, that is. I am, however, a trauma-survivor from childhood trauma, so-called Childhood (or Complex) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, CPTSD. Many people who experience trauma are also highly sensitive, as am I. Becoming more trauma-informed has helped me, and those around me to better understand crucial puzzle-pieces about the seemingly endless challenges in our lives, and how to turn challenges into the gifts they are. It is profoundly connective and humbling to witness the appropriately informed conversations about trauma emerging on a collective level these days. These conversations heal the world! My desire is that everyone who thinks they might carry trauma, or witness someone in their lives to suffer from trauma, make sure to become more informed. Therefore, this post contain some of the things I have recently learned, and resources I value.
Perception of trauma is your resource:
The word trauma comes from Greek traumatikos and means wound, both physical or emotional. Here, we will talk about emotional wounds. When we speak of trauma, we mean disconnection from self. Why we get disconnected is because it´s too painful to be ourselves. Trauma is not a choice; it´s a survival strategy that we unconsciously chose when the trauma occurred by how we reacted to it *Maté (2021). However, a survival strategy that affects and potentially harms ourselves and others is not a good life. This means we must learn to look into how we can befriend our wounds. Trauma won´t go away, but our perception of it, and its effect on our lives can turn into deep knowledge and become resources about ourselves and the world.
Resources you might find useful:
The Hungarian- Canadian doctor Gabor Maté has dedicated his life to addiction and trauma. Being a Holocaust survivor, carrying deep trauma himself, his research and clinical work is crucial at this time in history. Science & Nonduality recently released the documentary *The Wisdom of Trauma, featuring Dr. Maté´s work. It is a highly informative and touching documentary that will make a massive difference in humanity becoming trauma-informed. Half a million people (sic!) saw the movie in the premiere week in June 2021. Alongside the film premiere, there were well-informed, enlightening, and heart-centered conversations facilitated by other experts and trauma survivors. You can access them at the link above as well.
Another critical voice on PTSD and CPTSD is Dutch M.D. and researcher Bessel van der Kolk, whose book The Body Keeps the Score is an excellent resource if you want to know more about the neuroscience and attachment-research connected to trauma. The only way to change the way we feel is to become more aware of our inner experience, and learning to befriend what is going on. Van der Kolk´s work is a great resource in such unpacking.
Last but not least, an incredibly helpful, hands-on childhood trauma survivor, coach, and teacher, is Anna Runkle and her site The Crappy Childhood Fairy. She truly is a fairy, tirelessly creating videos, practices, courses, and exercises to promote ways of healing from trauma. I have learned and continue to learn so much from her, especially on the dysregulation and re-regulation of emotions. Anna has a great sense of humor as well, and her Youtube channel is a gem for trauma-survivors!
Therapy or Coaching?
Again, I am not a trauma expert, or indeed a therapist. However, I propagate information about trauma because our relationships need it to heal! If you think a coach affected by CPTSD should not coach others, think again I say! There is deep wisdom coming from trauma, and I see my experience as a resource more than anything. Most adults have experienced some form of trauma perhaps not yet recognized. The effect of becoming trauma-informed is that we treat ourselves, and each other with more kindness, respect, and intelligence, and not fall prey to judge ourselves and each other so quickly. What would the world look like with less or no judgment?
I am happy to say that knowledge about trauma has made, and continues to make all the difference in my life. Becoming friends with what happened (it was not my fault, and I still have to take full responsibility for how it has affected me), knowing what to do when overwhelm, anxiety or dysregulation occur – feels empowering to me, and remains an ever growing skill in my toolbox – exactly why I want the same for you!
If you would like coaching on this topic or other challenges you grapple with, please reach out and book 30-minute free call with me to discover more. If you wonder whether you need a coach or a therapist, let´s have a chat about that too, or/ and also read about the difference between therapy and coaching, here.
Healing is only possible when you regain your agency.
Healing is only possible when you reclaim your agency.
-Esther Perel, in The Wisdom of Trauma talks.