I'm sorry you had to bottle up all your feelings inside in order to function. I'm sorry that's what you had to do to survive in a time where stopping to take the time to feel and express them would have had severe consequences.
I'm proud of you for making it though that time, but I need you to stop suppressing your feelings now that you're here.
Your feelings are important. They are not bad. They are not here to hurt you. They're here to tell you what you're experiencing, and you need them. So take them out of their boxes, please. Use them.
call me oversensitive or something if you want but personally as a survivor of developmental trauma that is ingrained into my sense of being in such foundational ways that i'll probably never be able to fully rid myself of its effects (and that's okay) i'd rather see more messaging along the lines of "you'll someday reach a point where you realize there is so much more to who you are as a person than your trauma/suffering" as opposed to "stop making your trauma/suffering apart of your identity that's not healthy" because, to me, the latter almost frames it as if not being able to just snap yourself out of that mindset (or if you're still being regularly subject to more trauma) is some kind of personal failing, whereas the latter seems more like the kind of compassionate sentiment that people like me need.
it's hard not to identify with suffering when that's all you've ever been given to work with. it's hard not to identify with suffering when you're still being put through it due to circumstances outside of your control. it's hard when the former happens and then the latter happens too to reinforce it. idk i really dislike the way online recovery culture often seems to implicitly moralize aspects of "recovery" like this, or acts as if recovery is solely about one's personal choices rather than other factors (like whether one is even in a safe and stable enough life circumstance) playing a role that's just as big, if not bigger.
here’s to the people who didn’t stay soft throughout trauma...
who felt like the only way to survive your trauma was to toughen up.
who’ve gotten more critical, closed off, and mistrusting.
who never felt like it was safe to stay soft, and so you didn’t.
who willingly or unwillingly changed into armour.
who, even though your world is safe again, you still stay tough.
who have to stay tough, ‘cause maybe your world is still unsafe.
who have been stereotyped as tough and decided to say fuck it and be it.
who have been coddled so much you feel you have to prove your strength.
who have been neglected and abandoned, so strength was the only option.
who is just not really a soft person to begin with.
who live, breathe, and thrive better when tough.
who doesn’t dare to open your heart or home again.
who doesn’t dare to ever give up.
who never tell anyone how much you cry when alone.
who doesn’t tell anyone how much you long for long hugs.
who can’t stand being touched.
who’ve decided to live your life solo.
who have a spouse, kids, pets, and family dinners.
to all my fellow tough cookies out there
who knows that tough doesn’t equal mean, malicious, or selfish.
who knows that tough doesn’t mean a lack of emotions and empathy.
who knows that tough doesn’t mean never scared
and soft doesn’t mean always scared.
who treasures our soft friends and their different kind of strength.
who knows that survival through trauma comes in many forms and shapes.
who knows that a tough mind
and a tough body
can house a soft heart.
hey you. im proud of you. im proud of you for overcoming all the obstacles you've faced to be here with us today. and i'll be proud of you tomorrow for the obstacles you continue to overcome.
you've put so much effort into this life, and that deserves praise. even though many of the things you had to work through should have never happened to you. you did it. you're here. you're right here. and you don't have to go anywhere.
so i hope you're proud of yourself too - or that you will be, someday. take all the time you need. everyone lives differently.
forgive yourself. forgive yourself for not being where you dreamed you would be. forgive yourself for all the wrong things you said. forgive yourself for the times you messed up even when you’ve tried your best. forgive yourself for the way you hurt, belittle, or abandon yourself in the past or in the present. forgive yourself for not being perfect. you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy (of love, understanding, compassion, kindness).
I think it's hard, especially for those who were abused or neglected as children, to not internalize everything that happens to you as a personal failing, so here's your reminder today:
Some things are beyond your control or influence. It is not always your fault.
Just because someone hurt you, doesn't mean you deserved it.
Just because you did something wrong, doesn't mean you need to be punished.
Free Trauma and Dissociation Books
This is the link to Google Drive folder containing these books. There is a list below of what is in the folder. Please consider reblogging so these resources are available.
Disclaimer: I have not read all of these to completion. I have not researched all the authors. Please do your own research if you have concerns.
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk MD
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker (edit: ableist views expressed about cluster Bs)
Complex PTSD Recovery Workbook by Kimberly Callis
Complex PTSD Workbook by Arielle Schwartz
Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation by Suzette Boon, Kathy Steele, Onno van der Hart
EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation by James Knipe
Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to Do When a Parent’s Love Rules Your Life by Patricia Love, Jo Robinson
Got Parts? An Insider’s Guide to Managing Life Successfully with Dissociative Identity Disorder by ATW
The Haunted Self by Onno Hart
Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self Alienation by Janina Fisher
In an Unspoken Voice How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness by Peter A. Levine
Life After Trauma: A Workbook for Healing by Dena Rosenbloom, Mary Beth Williams, Barbara E. Watkins
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi
The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams, Soili Poijula
Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders by James A. Chu
Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb, Christine Musello
Stoning Demons Book 1: Childhood Trauma is a Primer for Complex PTSD by Kimberly Callis
Stoning Demons Book 3: Physical Health and Complex PTSD by Kimberly Callis
The Stranger in the Mirror by Marlene Steinberg
Toxic Parents by Susan Forward, Craig Buck
Trauma and Recovery by Judith L. Herman
Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy by Pat Ogden
Waking the Tiger Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine