Someone once asked me who I thought I’d be if not for trauma. I know not — it formed and fashioned me. However, who I have become in spite of trauma, is thought provoking.
Personhood formed in non nutritive environment is teratogenic. I coped. I clung to the few compensatory mechanics I had. I lived small and loved large. I engaged in #betrayalblindness of my own brutality. Loving blindly cost me dearly.
Abuse amputates you from all sense of agency; all proclivities of personhood; and most normal human needs. It often aborts growth before it can even be. Recovery restores anything and everything that can be restored. Not all can be rebuilt.
Somethings about your own early trauma may not be known or understood by you until they are observed as an adult — often of other children who live in liberty, safety, and stability.
Their freedom of expression may reveal your oppression; their voice, your silence; their joy, your grief; their assurance, your insecurity; their trust, your utter lack of trustworthy people; their vulnerability and fragility may make you face your own.
Safe and stable observation and engagement with children may help you to see the you that you may have been — indeed doing so has made me more the me that I ought to be.
Perhaps like most people I have built, renovated and rebuilt on what little strengths I had — they cover my manifold weaknesses. Yet when I listen to others speak of their callings and their careers — I know for certain that not only would I never choose to do what they do — trauma would never permit it. I do what I can — I wish my can was more capable.
There is yet residue of ruin that is resistant to removal. I still live small and love large — but with much more reserve and restraint. I live with very real limitations that I can attribute to my “personality” but I know they are from the amputation of abuse.
With the help of professionals, I have fitted my personhood with prosthetics. Periodically they loosen and I limp with the loss — it is the wobble of the wounded. I live also with the sensitivity that amputation can bring — phantom pain. Most survivors know that well, even if they look intact. It is a hypersensitivity to what was lost or what should have been. Periodic neurological flair ups are normal.
As you move through the lanscape of your life you too may find that you live with a limp; that abuse has amputated something you needed, something necessary to your ambulation; something that you must now live without. I write to acknowledge the amputation, to name the phantom pain, and so doing — bring you closer to being the you — you were meant to be.