Read time: 3 minutes 44 seconds
This week, we’re talking about healing childhood trauma as an adult. I use the word healing very...loosely here. Because we don’t ever really “heal” as that implies to move on. If you have a cut, you put a bandaid on it and it heals and it’s gone you don’t think about it. So, I guess I'm using “heal” as a way to say understand and learn and grow.
Sometimes, the past isn’t the past. This is especially true when it comes to childhood trauma. In an effort to not be triggering, I won’t bring up any specific examples but remember that what is traumatic for one person might not be for you, and that plays into environmental upbringing and just how that person thinks.
You might go months, maybe even years without thinking of something traumatic (referencing only childhood here). Then, something happens and it all floods back in. You start thinking about it again, and recognizing how you’re still being impacted by that trauma as an adult.
The reason for that is most of our childhood experiences and traumas are unresolved. Even if you went to therapy. Even if you thought you dealt with it. Our childhood years are so important to our development, this is when we learn to perceive the world and themselves and others. Those memories are always there, and they will show up at the worst times.
So, the first steps are to recognize your childhood trauma. Some of us are very aware of what happened and some of us are only aware when we are triggered.
Once that happens, or you find yourself hyper fixating on it, immediately 5 senses. Ground yourself. Imagine all your energy flowing through your body from your head into the earth or the ground wherever you’re sitting. Focus only on this until you feel heavy, and then feel light.
Remember it. Again, do this in a safe environment. What emotions are you feeling when these memories return?
Breathe deeply and intently as you feel the emotions and they turn into physical responses like increased heart rate. Explore how you feel and describe to yourself in detail how you feel. Be sure to talk to yourself through this, because that will help you stay grounded and in the moment.
Name your physical responses. Are you feeling tight in the chest? What is that? Are you getting warmer or does your head hurt? Are you anxious, angry, jealous?
Lastly, embrace it. Embrace the negative emotions. Say out loud to yourself “I love myself for feeling angry. I love myself for feeling anxious. I love myself for feeling jealous.”
We are human beings. We have feelings. We have anger and hatred and all these natural and rightful emotions for events that upset our peace.
Express your emotions in a productive way. Punch a pillow. Yell really loud. Move around the room, dance, spin, do something. You’re now taking that emotion and turning it over to physical release.
Try to understand what you’re supposed to be learning right now. Right at this moment what is the lesson? Ask yourself “what is my body and my mind trying to tell me?” Are you being given an answer to a belief you have about yourself? Is it telling you that belief is wrong?
Write them down if that helps.
Lastly, let it go. Visualize all of that rage or upset as a red ball deep inside your chest. Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds and out your mouth for 6 seconds. Every time you breathe in, visualize that red ball getting bigger and bigger as it absorbs all of the anger, and negative emotions associated with your childhood trauma from your body and your mind. As you exhale, visualize wisps of this red ball going up your throat and out of your mouth into the air. Say something positive about yourself. As you do this, imagine that those positive words are all little air negative fighting bacteria. They quickly attack the red wispy parts of your rage and turn them into white butterflies, or clouds or something else lovely. Do this until the ball is gone from your belly.
This will be uncomfortable. You should do this or something similar every time you start to remember or feel those emotions. You’ll spend more energy destroying yourself over past traumas than embracing them, realizing that they happened and they are done and you will never feel like that again.