Childhood Trauma and Dissociation

Yesterday a link on Facebook sent me here https://lucidwitness.com/2015/09/25/peek-inside-a-classroom-jose/ – A poignant, powerful account of a young child’s dissociation during lessons on account of traumatic events unfolding in their life.

It reminded me of my own childhood in class, the ultra-quiet one, the spacey one. Working in education now, these are the children I am mindful of, the ones who are just too quiet. They may be the joy of their teachers in the midst of an otherwise unruly bunch of young people, but the extremes of withdrawal are not normal, and should be flagged up.

Children experiencing abuse at home may not even know what they are being subjected to, due to stronger depths of dissociation; one self functioning at school and in the outside world generally, while another part tries as best as a child can do to survive the abuse.

Thank you, Daun Koffman, for writing about – and caring about – traumatised children.

 

 

 

Bear & Gratitude

This post is in gratitude to Bear, who has walked with me longer than I knew.

Bear came to me around 5 years ago in a shamanic journey/meditation. When I trained in Reiki Drum a couple of years ago 2 male black Bear came to me.  

Today in therapy I faced up to some truly sadistic behaviour from my parents as a child. Bear came and flanked me on either side as I worked through this, leading me gently away and above a body in extreme pain.

Bear communicated he had been with me then, had been with me throughout my life. My sense of gratitude to Bear is deeper than any words can express. Thank you Bear.

Prayer and Dissociation

Repeated early trauma will frequently lead to dissociation, a separation of the self from the body in order to survive the reality of what the body is being subjected to. Structural Dissociation in some degree may occur (for more on this, I found http://www.complex-trauma.eu/?p=307 to be of great help).

In indigenous shamanic cultures dissociation is seen as soul loss, where a part of the soul takes flight. This fragmented soul-part can be brought back through practices such as soul retrieval.

In prayer, I have always struggled with the sense that there is a veil between myself and God/divinity; a veil I would now term a dissociative veil.

In my 20s I spent five years as a Carmelite nun, five immensely rich years, intending to dedicate myself to God for the rest of my life. What I did not realise at the time was just how devastating the trauma I had experienced as a child through abuse had been,  and the impact that had had on me as an adult.  Living in community was highly triggering, but I had little idea of what it was triggering back to; what the emotional flashbacks were all pointing to. It became clear that I could not continue my life as a Carmelite, as I had been too damaged by my childhood; left too unstable for community life.

Now I know just how traumatised I was, and am grateful indeed for the trauma therapy (EMDR) I am now going for. I would liken this to the process of soul retrival, placed within a modern psychological framework. Fragmented parts of the soul are brought back. Yes, they are the dissociated emotional parts which carry traumatic memories, but specialist trauma therapy is able to put these in the past, where they belong.

Today I spent an hour in prayer in another Carmelite monastery chapel. A place of deep Healing, of Light, of Peace, and of Hope. Carmel stands as a witness to the Eternal, the Absolute, the One. It is uncompromising; asking that we give ourselves totally to that One. Yet that Eternal One does not want a mere sliver of who we are, a tiny fragment of who we are, a superficial persona. What that One calls us to be is the fullness of ourselves – because how can we relate to any B/being if we are splintered into dissociative fragments? The relationship will only be with a tiny part of who we are.

Called into the fullness of Life by that One, I know that One will also give me the strength to continue in this path of recovery, no matter how tough it is.

Amen.

 

Straif

Straif (Blackthorn) is associated with trauma, with pain.

A few days ago I went on a shamanic journey in search of a ghost-child  soul-fragment of my 12-year-old self.

I found her – Gray – Frozen in time. She spoke her first words to me since leaving me at that age, when my grandmother died. It is too soon for her to return fully to me; she has yet to trust me with the full memory of what caused her to leave, but I can visit her, talk with her, whenever I want.

Returning to myself, I listened to some deeply relaxing binaural music, and sent Straif as an essence back in time to my ghost-child. While I knew Reiki could be sent back in time, this was not something I had ever done before.

Now I know that sending Reiki to those fragmented parts of us is deeply healing. My ghost-child is no longer gray. She is returning to life.

Yesterday I saw the first Blackthorn out as I went on a day course entitled  ‘Child Sexual Abuse:  Hope for Healing’.  A timely omen from nature.