I would like to share a few tips from my own recovery journey that have helped me heal. I pray they provide hope and healing for you, as well.
If you experienced trauma in your childhood, know that:
* You did not deserve to be mistreated and have your innocence mishandled. The adults in your life were supposed to protect you. You are a survivor, and you are strong. You can heal, thrive, and live life to the fullest.
* How you feel, what you have experienced matters. Just because it, "could have been worse," doesn't mean it wasn't bad and less deserving of attention.
* Ask God to heal you. He has the ability and the power and the desire to heal you. He is grieved that you were hurt in your innocence. Know that God will use for good what the devil meant for evil, and the result will be the rescue of many people (Gen 50:20).
* Meditate on God's promises. He is faithful and His Word is true. His Word gives life. The truth really does set you free. When the enemy comes in with his lies, remind yourself of the truth.
* Forgive. It will help you to be better, not bitter.
* Forgive yourself for not knowing what you did not know.
* Remember that forgiveness is a key first step in your healing process, but you must consider the effects of the infractions on your life. You may have to forgive more than once.
* Don't confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Forgiveness requires the work of one - the offended person - to release to God the feelings of resentment and vengeance against the offender. Reconciliation, following the repentance of the offending party, requires the work of two emotionally healthy people. .
* Do not "forgive and forget". Forgive, but learn the lesson from the circumstance about God, yourself or life. Wisdom is found in remembering the lessons learned.
* Take inventory of your life. Consider the areas of your life where you experienced pain and really go through the process of making sure you have found healing and resolution for those areas. When you do not take the time to do this, you run the risk of stunted growth and developing destructive coping mechanisms.
* Understand that trauma does not show up as memories; they show up as behaviors. As you inventory your life, pay attention to the things you do - especially compulsive behaviors - and the things you avoid.
* Believe God's promise that trouble will not last always and joy will come in the morning. You will see brighter days and one day all of the trouble will make sense.
* Trust that it is at those times when you feel your situation is impossible that God loves to show up and accomplish what is only possible for Him. When you ask Him for more faith, remember that it's experiencing Him to do the great and impossible things that causes faith to grow.
* Experience the life-changing power of journaling. It is a very effective tool in the healing process, especially when used in combination with soaking in God's word with its beautiful promises. It can be helpful to journal the answer to three questions when something significant happens to you:
- What did I learn about God?
- What did I learn about myself?
- What did I learn about life?
* Don't go it alone. God often answers our prayers for help by providing community. Ask Him to send you a good friend and be ready when He sends them. Value that person or those individuals. Rely on your support circle and look for ways to bless them, too.
* Do the self-care work to heal so you can be your best self in mind, body, and spirit. It takes effort and intention, but it is worth it, not just for your relationships and future generations, but for your personal health. Studies show that there is a link between the effects of abuse and illnesses, including autoimmune diseases and cancer.
A few things that have helped me in this area of self-care are**:
- Earthing, aka Grounding, helps to provide a better quality of sleep.
- Eating clean helps to ensure greater clarity. When I do, I tend to think more clearly.
- Supplementing with Vitamin D3+K2, Magnesium, and Camomile/Lavender Tea near bedtime also support a better night's sleep.
- Exercise has so many benefits as it keeps the oxygen flowing, including improving sleep quality.
- Knowledge from Barbara O'Neill, including this video:
Do you see a theme? Recovering the ability to sleep is necessary for so many of the body's functions, greatly assisting the healing process.
* Know that time alone does not heal all wounds. Just like a bone needs to be reset before the cast is placed on and an arm or leg, sometimes extra, intentional healing work is needed for emotional pain.
* Commit to healing so you don't bleed on people who never cut you. I have coached so many women who are basically scapegoats for broken men who appear in public to be great husbands, but who function covertly as demons punishing their wife for the pent-up rage that is constantly fueled by an unhealed, unresolved mother wound (and sometimes father wound). Heal so you are not the toxic person.
* Manage your expectations about receiving closure. Sometimes there's not an opportunity to hash out the issues with the one who harmed you. In those instances, you must be at peace with knowing that you deserved to be treated better.
* Understand that although you may not be responsible for what hurt you, you are responsible for your healing. Give yourself grace and move forward to your brighter days.
* The following are excellent books to assist you on the healing journey.
Healing is a Choice by Steven Arterburn
Out of the Fog by Dana Morningstar
Redeeming Heartache: How Past Suffering Reveals Our True Calling by D. Allender & C. Loerzel
Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores by Dr Dr. Diane Langberg
Other resources can be found here.
Learn more here about how your journey may fit into the larger picture of generational trauma and how you can be a catalyst for healing in your family.
Have any of these tips worked for you? What can you add to the list that has helped you on your healing journey? I'd love to hear about them.
**I am not a medical professional, nor do I play one on TV. I share these suggestions from my own personal experience and not with the intention to provide medical advice.