on therapy/healing/telling memories and integrating them
*The telling of the memory is only a piece of the healing–it will come up again in pieces time and again as we work through stuff. I think it’s important that you say “the story is changed a little.” Bit by bit it becomes integrated into the whole of you–a piece of the past and not a continuously reoccurring hell that feels like it’s still happening.
explanation on flashbacks
*Flashbacks can be physical sensations, images, brief snippets. Trauma memories are stored differently than regular memories, so they don’t have beginnings, middles, and ends. They’re just as you describe, and to varying degrees people do keep their awareness of the present while experiencing them. This is what I was explaining about therapy helping to process these pieces that aren’t integrated as normal memories. Over time we create a coherent narrative about what happened–and then they are just memories, not these overpowering feelings, sensations, and images that feel like they’re still happening.
about responding to the abuse
*First of all, as I’ve said before we are all sexual beings. Our bodies are designed to respond sexually to touch–even when it is a child being overstimulated sexually at a time in development when they are not ready for this. This is part of the trauma–it’s too much–clearly in this dream you were defending yourself by dissociating, right? But those experiences of early sexual responses seem to imprint themselves in the human psyche
on why I never really healed from the ED and cutting behaviors
*Well, since the trauma wasn’t addressed there was no real way to get better, right? I mean, the healthy part of you kept getting healthier and developing into a competent adult, but the frozen in time parts of you remained untouched. It’s sort of like having a ball of kryptonite in your gut exerting influence over you no matter how hard you try to live your life and pretend it’s not there.
on my feelings of being difficult when I can’t talk in therapy
*You’re not being difficult–it’s a big deal to work on what you’re working on.
on what therapy is all about
* Our job is to try to understand and make meaning of this together.
on sexual abuse (this is one of those things she threw out there)
*One thing to remember–sex gets very complicated because there can be arousal and good sexual feelings associated with horrible things. Bodies react and that can be very shaming and confusing for people.
on trauma memories
*Unresolved trauma memories are kind of hanging in limbo–a bunch of scary sensations and images that were never encoded as memories the way other events are. They have to get put in their proper place.
* I don’t see having suffered trauma as being damaged. I see it as creating survivors.
on being allowed to have my feelings, no matter what they are
* You aren’t wrong to be mad at yourself! Those feelings run really, really deep and will not just instantly go away. What I’m adamant about, though, is that at some point that anger needs to move towards those who really should be the recipients of it and not towards the little girl who was in a situation she shouldn’t have been in.
in response to an email I wrote during a very triggering weekend
* What you’re going through this weekend is the result of whacking a hornet’s nest with a stick–all the hornets are out, on high alert, and buzzing around. Very hard to ignore them and function as if nothing is happening!
on childhood sexual abuse
*You didn’t know what any of this was really about, and it is almost impossible to understand these things as an adult, let alone a small child. It’s very enlightening in terms of how powerful bigger, older people are to little kids, isn’t it? We forget that we were once so small, and so at the mercy of bigger people. I always need to remember that in my work with kids. Yes, Kat is just a baby, and it’s unthinkable that this happened to you when you were just a baby too:(
on pretending to be “normal”
* I don’t think it’s who you “pretend” to be. I think more of it as your healthy “adult self” who functions much of the time. The “child self” only breaks through sometimes and begs to be heard from and released from her bonds of stuck traumatic memories. There may also be an adolescent self to conceptualize in there too. Basically, there are different “parts” that aren’t integrated, but that will become so as we create a coherent trauma narrative and ditch the trauma responses.
Bea’s belief about healing
* I believe your life will be richer and more rewarding because of the work you’re doing. And it is a gift for Kat and Hubby as well.
On accepting and understanding trauma
* I think this is just part of the process–it’s like learning really complicated math problems–for a while it makes no sense, but then you start to “get it” a bit more. Only in this case it’s a shift in you’re whole story of who you are and what your experiences have been. A whole new perspective