When I listen to my life story I realise how resilient I am to have survived what I went through. And I know that, no matter what life sends my way, I will survive.

For many adults who have survived childhood trauma, there is a sense of powerlessness. After all, a child has no power over the adults in her life. That means the abused child has no power over the adults who are abusing her. Hence the sense of powerlessness.

Another thing many such adults feel is shame. From the child’s perspective, adults are right. And often the abusive adult will tell the child that the child is wrong. It is the child’s fault they are being abused. If you are so bad, and so wrong, then you will feel shame. The shamed person is powerless. So powerlessness and shame are constant companions in the life of the adult survivor of childhood trauma.

In all this feeling of powerless and shame one thing is overlooked. To have survived an abusive childhood takes great strength. To have survived a childhood where there were no adults to step up and give you the support you needed is amazing. It took great strength to achieve that. And it took a great ability to ‘roll with the punches’. That of course is resilience. Great strength involves resilience. So if you could survive your childhood and still be able to function fairly normally, you are strong and resilient. That strength and resilience is what has brought you this far in life and will bring you further. That strength and resilience will allow you to seek counselling and be able to work to heal what needs to be healed and change what needs to be changed so that you may live a more plentiful life.

Many survivors have never shared their story with anyone. They have never given their story voice. Telling your story to someone who understands trauma allows your experience to be acknowledged. That validation is important. Also, telling your story allows you to collect your thoughts, and hearing it allows you to often make connections you did not realise existed and also hear more objectively about what happened.

When seeking a counsellor, it is important to choose a trauma informed and trained counsellor. There is a lot of misunderstanding about trauma, what its effects are like and how to work with it. Misunderstandings exist in the general community but also, sadly, amongst mental health professionals without trauma training. A therapist who does not understand trauma will cause harm, not help you.

I have extensive training in trauma work and I have a passion to help people heal as well as a deep respect for those who have survived. If you would like me to assist you in your healing journey please contact me on 0409 396 60 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au.

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