What Did Trauma Do To You?

Have you ever been watching TV or a movie, or listening to a song, and something someone says hits home more than you ever could have imagined? Where it resonates down to your very core? It happened to me a couple days ago. I was watching “Code Black”, a new ER-based television show, and two doctors had both recently lost family members. One of them said something like, “Trauma and pain can either soften you or harden you.”  I sat there taking it in, suddenly realizing that my life traumas have greatly hardened me.

I think what trauma does to you has a lot to do with how you were before the trauma. If you were soft before, it hardens you.  If you were hard before, it softens you. I’m sure there are exceptions of course but I truly believe trauma almost forces you in the opposite direction. For me, prior to the family estrangements, I was what I believe was soft – cared too much, loved too much and too easily, had high hopes, had dreams to achieve and I believed in all the good in the world. But after?  The trauma, it hardened me.  It didn’t happen immediately but rather over time. I remember the moment when I knew I was different, when I felt something click off inside me, when I felt a part of me die. That was when the hardening took over and I became a different person:

https://breakingsarah.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/the-beginning-of-family-estrangement/

With all the memories I have lost, that day in my backyard, the day I died and someone else emerged, is burned into my mind, imprinted on my soul. I haven’t much liked who I have been since then – lost, negative, no hope left, dreams lost, self-doubt, fear, quick to anger and impatience, hiding as life passes me by. I jump to conclusions, expect the worst, only see the bad in the world, lost my faith, am suspicious of everyone and won’t let love in – I am hardened.

Oh how I wish I could have been one of those that trauma softened, opened up. Instead, I shut down inside. I had to take a moment and let this truth sink in. I had never looked at it like this before. Now that I am aware of it, it is time to change it. I’m not sure how but I have to. I can’t let this be my life any longer, can’t let this be me any longer.

Since the wedding, I have felt much better, less worry and stress. My mind is clearer. I have noticed though that I am still very impatience and quick to anger. I guess I can’t expect everything to go back to normal so quickly. I have years worth of a specific thought process to change. And I want to – oh how I want to. I didn’t have a choice in becoming hardened; that was completely on a subconscious level. But I do have a choice now!

So I ask you, my dears friends, what has your trauma done to you? Did is soften you – or harden you? It’s a question worth considering and exploring. HUGS to you all!

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16 thoughts on “What Did Trauma Do To You?

  1. My trauma hardened me to the point I was a solid piece of granite. My fears were faced in 2010 when my trauma occurred as I seen my grandmother literally suffer from S4 cancer. She had taken a huge fall in my small bathroom and it definitely traumatized me. The pain of seeing her collapse was enough trauma to last me months. What also hardened me, was that I Was always the soft shelled girl who was loving everybody and always never worrying of anything. But then that changed when I was fourteen. 2010 was by far a traumatizing year, and I cannot shake it.

    Thank you Sarah for literally opening up, and posting this.

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    1. Your welcome my dear and thank you for opening up as well. I’m sorry to hear of your pain and hope you are working through it. Being hardened is a harsh thing. And you put it best, to the point of a solid piece of granite – hard, solid, weighing us down, no one can break through it. I know that type of pain and I hope yours is starting to heal. I am always here if you need to talk. HUGS!

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      1. Agreed! It is something we face daily. Piece by fragile piece, I am trying to break through that granite interior. It will be a long process but I have to do it, for me. I look forward to a day that I can say I brought myself back to life, on my own terms and under my power. I so hope the same for you sweetness!

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      2. I know that feeling. Even though I have recently started healing and seeing life differently, I still carry all the emotions and pain with me. I think they will always be a part of me, just to a much lesser extent. In those moments that you feel you cannot stay strong, let yourself know that it’s ok! It’s ok to feel! Take it one day, one moment at a time. It is too overwhelming to look too far forward. You have such a long and GOOD life ahead of you – and you will get better – I believe in you!

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    1. Both is definitely possible. Such a juxtaposition – that something can both soften AND harden you at the same time. It’s why I try not to judge others – we never know what someone else has been through and even more so, we never know how it affected them and in what what they are dealing with it.

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  2. I have been traumatized too many times to count. I lived in Foster Care from four years old until I was adopted at six.I was placed in seventeen different foster homes and during that time I was sexually molested many times. I told my Social Worker, but instead of doing anything to the perpetrator, she simply moved me to another home. When I was adopted, I was placed with a family that had many problems of their own. The father was an abusive alcoholic, the mother was extremely strict on me and I was not allowed to have friends over, she used me as a slave; cleaning and picking up after her, her husband and son. She told everyone who entered our home that I was a chronic liar and not to believe anything I said. I was punished so often for things that her son did…I probably spent more time in punishment than anything else. More horribly, her son molested me many, many times. He threatened me and told me that if I said anything he would kill me, not to mention that no one would believe me because everyone knew I was a “chronic liar”. I finally told her about the abuse ten years ago…the first time. She said that since her son had died he had no way to defend himself, so, she refused to believe it. I told her, again, a bout a year ago and she said, “O.k. Stacy, he probably did rape you! He wasn’t a good kid sometimes! Now what do you want me to do about it?” She then, a few weeks later, said that “No one wants to hear anything bad about their child.” She was referring to her son, not me. I asked her if she considered me her child and she never answered back. We have been estranged ever since. Not long after, I was sexually assaulted at the grocery store and had to go to court to testify against the man that assaulted me. It was horrible and I felt as if it was happening all over again. I’m not sure how all of this has actually affected me. I know I have lost sleep. I’m nervous about men coming up behind me in public places and I get hyper-sensitive when someone comments on the way a woman is dressed and talk about why women get raped…I can’t stand it when some women suggest that it’s a way a woman is dressed as to why she was raped! A rapist will rape regardless of what one is wearing!!!!

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    1. Awe sweetie, I am so sorry to hear that all this happened to you. The fact that you are still here and can actually talk about it shows me that you have true strength inside of you. We have to have it in order to get through such terrible things – it’s just that most often, we can’t see it in ourselves. I feel for you as it is such a terrible thing to be telling the truth and not believed. That alone will fester inside of me if I let it. I have had so much of that in my life and I see that you have too. I’m so sorry no one believed you – their denial stabs us in the heart, hearts that are already so very tender and bleeding.

      It sure seems like many of us who were abused as children continue to be abused in many ways as we grow into adulthood. Having somewhat uncaring parents, and in your case many parents, doesn’t help. My family protecting my abusers instead of me was a harsh reality, one you know as well. Honestly, it wasn’t until after almost everyone in my life lied, turned away and left me that I finally found my own strength. I had always cursed myself – something must be wrong with me that so many people have tossed me aside. But then I somehow realized that all those people were bad people! Yes, I had an unusually high number of them in my life, but I can’t judge my life and who I am based on or in comparison to bad people. I am a good person, as I am sure you are too, and we deserve better than they gave us, even if we have to find it on our own. Easier said than done, I know, but I have just recently started doing just that.

      You reactions to the abuse and emotional pain will not instantly go away; it will always be a process. But I hope you are taking baby steps to be who YOU want to be and not who others think you are. My heart is with you and I am always here if you need to talk. Please know I get it – I understand completely. HUGS to you my dear!

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      1. Thank you so much! I’m working day by day to understand and accept the fact that I didn’t do anything to deserve what was done to me! I will continue to write my poetry and push for better child abuse laws!!! Blessings to you!

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      2. You should be so very proud of the progress you are making! I don’t think people who haven’t experienced real trauma can ever understand what it is we go through to deal with it and find our lives separate from it. PLEASE keep writing! It is more of an inspiration and help to others, to me, than you know. HUGS!

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