When speaking of Trauma there is a lot of information about the stress response, triggers, PTSD and the pain of the trauma. There is an increasing amount of information about Dissociation and the impacts that has on functioning.
But one thing that impacts on most people with childhood trauma histories is the difficulty setting boundaries.
Trauma at any time, but especially in childhood, is very disempowering. Whereas an adult exposed to trauma can remember a time when they had the right to say now, the child exposed to trauma learns they have no right to say no.
The child with a trauma past is powerless against bigger and stronger adults who can choose whether they live or not. Children in those situations learn templates for relationships that are based on the child having no power, no ability to choose, to consent or withdraw consent. Until they can receive treatment and start to heal and learn new ways of being, the child will enact relational templates taught to them by their abusers. They will feel unable to choose when to say yes or no and will compulsively care for the other in the relationship while chronically neglecting their own needs. They will believe other people matter, where they do not.
They will not value themselves. They will believe they are a burden. They will feel guilty about spending money on themselves or putting their needs first. They will feel shame if they don’t play second fiddle to everyone else.
A major part of healing from childhood trauma is learning where you end and other people start. Learning what is your area of control. Learning what you are responsible for and what other people are responsible for. Learning how to make healthy decisions that serve you. Learning where to set your boundaries.
Often it is the difficulty setting boundaries that causes the breakdown in coping that brings people to therapy.
This is the difficulty. You can learn to set boundaries, but you need to do this work alongside treatment for your trauma. It is important you choose a someone with experience and training in trauma therapy. It doesn’t mean you will focus on your past trauma. What it does mean is that this will be taken into account when helping you learn to set boundaries. You work on your trauma only where it is important and impacting on your life and only when you are okay to do that.
If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with learning to set boundaries and work on any trauma you wish to work on, please contact me on 0409396608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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