The Traumatised Child Within

ImageThroughout life, rather than live with childhood trauma, many of us are inclined to run from the memories that transport us back to a place we try so hard to escape.

I imagine that every survivor of abuse has awareness for the need to forgive and move on – not for the abusers benefit, but for our own peace of mind.  There is desperation to find healing of the hurt, shame and humiliation.  At the same point, there is less of a willingness to forgive the perpetrator(s).

How can we find forgiveness in our hearts for people whose self-righteous arrogance Imagecannot admit they were wrong?  How can we overcome the anger for our abusers and the impact their actions have on our entire lives?  I seem to harbour some kind of mental block against achieving that idealistic state of forgiveness. 

At the weekend, something weird happened.  I became aware of something important that has completely evaded me, until now.  It is an entirely new concept that I cannot quite get my head around.  This is where it gets a little weird. 

Somehow, ‘to forgive and move on’ does not feel as if it is all my choice. 

When my mind wanders into the past, a large part of my consciousness leaves the adult part of me behind.  Transported back there, I stand watch over that 3-9-year-old little boy.  I can see him clear as day, sitting on the edge of his bed, crying.  

I doubt that child is associated with DID, but not entirely sure.  It feels as if a part of me grew up, but the eternal child remains a prisoner within the dark corners of my mind.  He never gets the opportunity to live through and reach out beyond that trauma.

Therefore, when I say ‘to forgive and move on’ is not entirely my choice, this is what I mean.  My gut instinct tells me I need to appeal to the child to forgive those that hurt him deeply.  That little boy needs setting free, but I need to find the courage to sit with him, listen to what he has to say and then guide him to freedom through forgiveness.   It all feels a bit out my depth.Image

How do we explain forgiveness to the traumatised child within?

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18 thoughts on “The Traumatised Child Within

  1. Bourbon

    I read somewhere that it is less about forgiveness of the abusers but more about forgiveness of yourself. But forgiveness is a bit of a taboo word in my mind at the moment so I’m not quite sure how to analyse that, sorry 😦

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    1. Cat Post author

      Bourbon….thanks for your comment. I think forgiveness is a journey, but I understand why it feels a taboo word, I relate to that

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  2. myspokenheart

    Cat, I think this post is both brilliant and tender. I think that finding that place where you can come and sit with the wounded child and just be, is the place where your life will be forever altered – for the better. Loving that child, holding that child, letting that child know that there is no need for shame… IT.IS.NOT.HIS.FAULT… regardless what he has been told, what he has felt, or still feels, or what anyone else would say or lead him to believe…

    How do you explain forgiveness? Through love…

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  3. shoe1000

    What I am learning is that forgiveness comes from being kind and gentle. Yes, with others, but not necessarily the perpetrator. It is only by forgiving that we find forgiveness. So I work on forgiveness of others who have harmed me, not necessarily Mom and then I learn to allow myself to be human. If I allow me to be human, I allow you to be human.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Shoe, your words are – as always – very insightful. I think that forgiveness is a journey, which I am ready to undertake.

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  4. Aife

    Another wonderfully insightful post Cat. It’s tough work, but I believe the first step is forgiving self and loving self.

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  5. brokenbutbeingrepaired

    Cat, what insight you have.

    I think you’re right. ‘Sitting’ with that little boy and telling him that what is happening to him is not his fault, that it won’t last *forever* and he can be safe, one day is really important.
    Something that’s been suggested to me is learning to love that child, as I would an *outside* child. I’ve not managed that one, though I see how it could be so helpful.
    I wonder if forgiveness is about forgiving that child that may still be ‘blamed’ by the adult survivor (?).

    Sending safe thoughts your way.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Gosh, I don’t think I have any insight. I’ve spent years avoiding.

      It feels a little weird to say, but this morning, I tried saying ‘hello’ to the little boy and – to my surprise – in my ‘mind’s-eye’ he listened.

      Last night, I read some stuff on the ‘child within’. It seems that it is quite a common concept. I will be working on it…watch this space ;0)

      Your support is always invaluable. Thank you

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    1. Cat Post author

      The child within seems to be common amongst people who have experienced abuse in childhood. I did a bit of reading last night.

      Thanks for reading

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  6. RisingSong

    Another brilliant post. Thank you.

    Well, I must say that I did not realize how common this was among abuse survivors. This usually happens to me while I am writing. I will start out writing a post in the voice of myself the adult but then at some point this child within me takes over and the writing becomes the voice of the child. I let her speak, because I find that she tells amazing truths that I have done a great job at forgetting in order to protect myself.

    There are also times when I see her and, like you, I feel that I must sit with her, hold her and protect her. And yes, I guess these are the times when we ask permission to forgive, and then wait to see where that child is. You are so brave for even thinking in those terms. I don’t believe I have arrived at that point yet, although I do believe that much healing can happen through forgiveness.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Rising Song, for another lovely and supportive comment.

      I’m not long aware of the child within and certainly haven’t spent time with him, yet. I’m in awe of your own “interaction”. What you say about writing and the inner child taking over is something I have read on other blogs.

      I’ve only reached a point of awareness for the need to forgive – or rather, a need for the child within to forgive. Something tells me that is long haul.

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