It wasn’t until I went to therapy that I realized I had endured childhood trauma. That’s the stealth of it, it eases in and affects you without letting you know. How could I have solved a problem that I didn’t know I had?
Okay, but JussSoul what even is childhood trauma? It’s what it’s name implies. It’s any event or situation that is frightening, dangerous or painful experienced by a child.
There are three main types of trauma: acute, chronic, or complex.
- Acute trauma results from a single incident.
- Chronic trauma is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence or abuse.
- Complex trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature.
My acute trauma was being in a park when suddenly some dude shot his gun off. My acute trauma was witnessing a dude burned alive in his car by gang members and my mother saying we shouldn’t call the police because we’d didn’t want to be involved or tangled up. The next two are tricky. I’ve luckily didn’t experience chronic trauma, but I endured complex trauma.
It’s hard to explain but my “stepfather” was whew, I don’t even know where to start. He’s a narcissist, pathological liar, and asshole. All in one. Lucky me, right? The sad part was I never really realized it until much much later. He was an emotional piranha. I had a nice upbringing. I won’t lie. Weren’t the richest but also not the poorest. There were bad days – having the power off for a couple weeks tops that list. But there were good days where I’d get to raid Toys-R-Us and get whateverrrrr I wanted. I was able to pursue any hobby I wanted, my mother could stay home so I always had her there, whatever field trip, after school activity, etc. I was also nurtured to grow academically. If it’s one thing Africans don’t play about, it’s education. I thought I had a nice little childhood cause I didn’t know any better. There was always something off. I tried to run away twice. Once in second grade and another time in 5th. The first time I think I was just tired of getting beat for little things. the second, I can’t remember why but I remember having my ass beat with a REMOTE after the police dragged me home. A nice talk understanding why I was unhappy would have sufficed but I guess that beating was enough since I never tried that shit again.
Anyways, there was always some mega-dissapointing situation followed up by some shiny new toy. Always. I now understand why my uncles despise(d) this man. Years of watching my mother’s heart break to then it all being swept under some new rug he bought. This is technically a story for another post, but when I had gotten my mother committed she ended up having a heart attack. I had just wanted to get her some help. There didn’t seem to be any end to her erratic episode on the horizon and nothing else I could do but get help beyond the family. She ended up having a heart attack. If you know me in real life, you know my mother and I suffer from heart problems.
& there was my dumbass putting her in a position that caused her to end up in the I.C.U. Nobody said it out loud, but I was to blame. Well, almost nobody. There came Bruno’s jolly fat ass blaming me for doing this to her. It’s crazy because I know this is where my story, in his eyes, should have ended…..My mother would never be the same again, I no longer would have his financial support for tuition, I had never had a job, He would no longer provide, food, shelter, etc for me. He presumed I’d amount up to nothing. I wouldn’t be able to get myself together. You know what? I shouldn’t have. I recognize that much.
A year later was the next time I saw him. My mother and him were tangled up in the court system. He gaslit me.Hard. He was all bubbly and acted like we were the best of buddies. Like 10 years of him swooping into our lives and being a piece of shit never happened. It’s not my place to give him his karma. I owe myself not misplacing energy towards him. So I said nothing, did nothing, was just cordial. He went on a smear campaign calling everyone in my family and telling them I bitched at him. That sums up Bruno in a nutshell. A gaslighter. I decided that was that and I’d never give him any thought. I suppressed the turmoil at his hand.
Except, I didn’t realize it was showing up in my adult life. Trust and control were hard for me. Let me tell you why. In high school, my parents said if I got into Spelman I could go. I WAS JUST A KID lmaooooo I didn’t know Bruno couldn’t actually afford to send me there. So I worked my butt off. I did high school in 3 years. I even was a finalist in a full ride scholarship to Maryland. Then my acceptance letter from Spelman came in. Bruno bragged to everyone he met – from the gas station attendant to people who lived in Tanzania and had never met me. We were going to go down there so I could tour the school. My dream fucking school. He even went down a day before and allegedly my aunt, my mother, and I would take the train down. YA’LL we waited hours for a trip that never happened. I think he leased my mother a new shiny car right after and she was then in my ear telling me how much better UMD would be anyways.
It was hard for me to ever believe in people. I also always existed in chaos. I made plans spur of the moment. I knew how to just erratically deal with things as they came because that’s how I was raised. It was hard for me to plan trips. My first trip with Jay, I didn’t even pack until the night before and thus ended up actually forgetting a bunch of shit I would end up needing lolololololololololololol Shoutouttt Vegas TSA for letting me slide on a plane with my yearbook photo. In all seriousness though, my trauma bred me in thinking something bad would happen. Always. Cause that’s how it’s always been. Good thing followed by catastrophic thing is what I was programmed to. Anger, lashing out and throwing shit is how I learned to process my emotions. Blowing money fast after something upsets me is how I was taught to heal myself.
Bruno would explode anytime I expressed a need. I always got said thing. Let’s say there was a field trip coming up – it’d be two days of him annoyed, saying how just an education isn’t enough for me when some kids in Africa didn’t have one, how I’m a brat, etc. Then just on the last day, he’d pay it. I internalized that and taught myself to take up as little space or ask for as little things as I needed. Only the necessities. I felt guilt being this child who had to depend on adult and adult me, in turn, said never again. It’s hard for me to ask for help.
I overlove. I overpour. Since I never was truly emotionally cared for, I in turn try to give the love I wish I had received. God, that felt pathetic to write. I used to go to hell and back for those I loved. Until I was drained.
& the trait I used to hate about myself the most, I over apologize. It was secondhand nature and so any little thing and I’m vomiting out a slew of sorry’s whether I’m at fault or not.
I don’t want to bore you to deaf moaning on about myself. You didn’t sign up for a novel, but a blog post. Childhood trauma is real. It’s not healable until you sit down and recognize it’s there and how it affects you in your day to day. It won’t be overwhelming but will pop up from time to time without you realizing it. Disassociation, Passive Aggressive behavior, Poor concentration, Memory Problems, and cognitive issues are just a few of the consequences that show up in adulthood.
So what do you do? You can just curve it and repeat the same toxic cycles….but that’s not what we’re about here at Meraki.
Here are ways to tackle and heal childhood trauma:
- Tell yourself you’re safe now. You’re no longer a child. you aren’t responsible for the shit you grew up with, but you are responsible for your own happiness now.
- Cut out toxic people – how you gon leave toxicity if you get going around it?
- Think of all the coping methods you utilize. How many are actually conducive to the new, better you that is to come? If any aren’t, stop.
- FEEL them. Feel your trauma, your memories, and all the motions that come with it. Curving them does nothing but just cause it to build up. What happened when things just keep building up? One day you’ll blow and overflow.
- Find a therapist, if you can. Having a professional assist you in your healing journey can help you learn a lot about yourself and help you better understand yourself
- OPEN UP. Tell those close to you, especially your significant other about it. One of the greatest ways we’ve learned to water our relationship is by opening up about our childhoods and understanding why we are how we are. Nothing swells my heart up more than knowing Jay understands me on a deeper level and holds me accountable on my self-love journey.
- Let Go. After you’ve unraveled your childhood trauma, learned it, understood it and tackled it all that is left to do is let it go. Unshackle yourself and move on. Don’t let it be this looming cloud taking over your life.
Let it goooooo and live your best life