The Tasks of The Traumatized

There are many miserable tasks to recovery from the tyranny of trauma. They are long, arduous jobs that few find out about unless they are flung into this employ by the evisceration of abuse.

(This is a non-exhaustive list in no particular order of priority.)

Task 1. Thinking Your Own Thoughts

To evict the tyrant(s) from your mental real estate. Tyrants are lousy landlords and long after you have gained physical freedom, you may not be free to think your own thoughts— rather those of your oppressor.

Task 2. Learning to Self Protect

Learning to self protect is an ongoing task that some trauma survivors must be diligent about. Abuse may have obliterated normal protective barriers — recovery rebuilds them — in some cases for the first time.

Task 3. Speaking Your Own Word

Trauma is an overwhelming and often unspeakable evil. Recovery involves quelling the traumatic tide, learning to navigate your own vessel, and saying your own word. Tyrants speak for you — in recovery you do.

Task 4. Humanize Thyself

All oppression dehumanizes. All recovery efforts must therefore must humanise — especially you to yourself. Liberty means many things… but if it means anything it means becoming fully human able to exercise yourself as an agent of change in your own world.

Task 5. Externalizing the Shame/Blame

Tyrants teach you only what they wish you to know. Recovery means knowing what you have known/coming into critical consciousness of your own oppression and it’s external roots. Recovery crucifies self blame and shame and resurrects a right relationship to the self and others.

Task 6. Grieving The Gone

Trauma truncates life — sometimes completely. Recovery is an all out resuscitation of anything and everything that can be revived. Grieving is acknowledging what has completely died.

Task 7. Safe Reconnection

Trauma detaches you from the self and others — it divides. Recovery is a slow reconnection and recognition to the self and safe others. This takes time. Remember unsafe relationships were your ruin… safe relationships will be part of your restoration.

Task 8. Seeking The Small

If you have been traumatized early and long expect the recovery to be late and long. Abuse crawls into to the small spaces and commits sacrilege. Recovery of these tender bits is the hardest and quite possibly the most horrific.

Task 9. Treating the Trauma Symptoms

Early trauma increases the risk addiction, substance use, and mental illness. These all must be triaged, treated, and tended to. If you only knew how wounded the rest of the world is you would be so much kinder to yourself — and probably others too.

10. Establishing Safety & Stability

If trauma does anything (and it does many things) it destabilizes. The ongoing task of the traumatised to recognise what safety and stability looks like, feels like, tastes like and smells life for you — and protect it life your life depends on it — because it does.

In time and with much work you will master the tasks of  living in safety and stability while appropriately self protecting, externalizing the shame and blame, and tending to the smallest bits of your broken humanity. You will become more of the you that you were meant to be.

We are all broken and beautiful — some of us have a greater measure of both.




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