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Trauma-Responsive New Zealand

Growth through trauma


There is growth through trauma.

Hard as it is, there IS growth through trauma. Very often, we do not see it at the time. It is not until we reflect on what happened and find possible reasons why we faced a flashback or responded so badly to a trigger.

I have been forcing myself to attend the Royal Commission Inquiry into Abuse in Care hearings because I wanted to discover WHY professionals working in our State institutions would cause harm to children and youth.

I wanted to discover WHY they would harm me.

A friend also attending switched from being a caring person to someone I did not know. I felt the full force of their anger upon me, and I was confused.

I felt angry and hurt.

At the end of the day, I felt exhausted.

Every morning I reset. By reset, I mean, I start the day again. I tell myself that what happened the day before has ended and a new day brings new beginnings. To learn from the past and move forward.

That is what I do as part of my recovery.

This morning I discovered this, and I will take it forward with me.

I often face flashbacks and intrusive thoughts from my adverse experiences. When I have a flashback, I return to my past and relive it. I am right back there in time and space. The problem is that only I go back. Those who surround me are still in the present. They do not know that I am having a flashback. They just see me switch. Sometimes my flashbacks are so bad that I hurt them.

Sometimes I trigger them, and sometimes they have a flashback.

The growth happens when we reconnect.

We forgive each other for what we did and move forward together.

Slowly, we learn our triggers and develop strategies to help us manage them. We help each other to become more self-aware.

This strengthens our connection, relationship, trust, and capacity to communicate with authenticity and vulnerability.

Safety comes from strengthened connections and relationships.

I have learned that I may not be able to stop my flashbacks, but I can learn to listen to my body and to respond more appropriately to my body's responses to triggers.

I have learned that I have friends and whanau who are willing to walk with me to help me to become aware of my signs if I do not have awareness.

That is the power of relationships through the power of connection.

We can all help others on their journey of recovery and healing by seeking to understand and be willing to forgive us when we relapse back to a time and space we do not want to go.

We learn to grow together through our trauma when we do this with others.

It is so much easier for us all when we know we are never alone and that people will accept us as we are and believe that we have the capacity to learn and grow.

I guess that is what we call HOPE - the belief that we will overcome because we can.

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