"Yet a time is coming
and has now come when the true worshipers will worship
the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the
kind of worshipers the Father seeks." - John 4:23

My Heavenly Daddy is healing
me from the inside out.

Transparency is Real.
Many times painful.

Daddy let me be secure in You only!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TRAUMA and SHAME

* * * MAY TRIGGER * * *


Below is an excerpt from the book Shame to Peace by Teo van der Weele, MD. In this one particular section it deals with the survivor of sexual abuse and how often has to hide in shame. In particular incest survivors and how many a time in both secular and non-secular mental health fields counselors have often missed the signs of sexual abuse either out of not knowing how to approach the situation or out of plain ignorance. It is interesting how the author uses the phrase “roof-tile construction” when referring to one trauma covering others. I guess it is like a domino effect?

The third paragraph from the excerpt also intrigued me. Interesting how us survivors developed coping strategies in order to carry-on. So much we have incorporated them into our lives today, which have become us! Besides my avoidance of the truth that I had a problem stemming from incest and growing up in a dysfunctional family, I coped with my trauma by entering what I have been referring to as my “la-la land.” A safe make-believe world of distraction. When I was in full denial I was a constant “cut-up.” I appeared to be in control and had it all together. Once I accepted I did have a problem and began to seek some good Godly counseling, is when I ‘truly’ realized the pain that I have stuffed so many years from my childhood was real and that I needed to be real in facing the trauma:


A person who suffered in a concentration camp or – more common today – has been the victim of a series of robberies, or a rape, can still expect some sympathy. But a survivor of sexual abuse often has to hide in shame, unable to talk. Some of them even decide to take their secret along with them in a premature death. Incest survivors face not only the burden of one major trauma, but they also carry the effects of living in an environment which has caused them many other kinds of traumas.

People usually don’t suffer only one trauma. There tends to be a kind of ‘roof-tile construction’, where one trauma covers the others. This tile construction of traumas is one reason why the most deeply-felt trauma of all–incest–often remains hidden from those trying to help. Both secular mental health workers and church workers have often missed the signals of sexual abuse, as we either didn’t know about it, or we didn’t know how to ask the right questions. Often we were not ready to hear what was being said and switched topics to other traumas which we could handle better.

Without the help they need, victims find their own ways to survive. I never cease to marvel at the insight and creativity which has gone into some of their escape mechanisms and survival strategies, as they learn to deal with these flash-backs in a variety of ways. Some slip into a fantasy trip, others into prayer and many just slip into a dark, moody silence. A constant alertness to avoid any memories of the past is another survival skill. This steely thought-control also influences the way they respond to other things. This can range from rigid personal habits to clowning around, just as long as they are in control of what happens, wherever they are. For all of them, one thing is sure: whatever happened then still actively influences behavior today.

26 comments:

  1. I'm glad to pass by this way ..


    ~Silver
    from Reflections/
    One Day at a Time

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  2. triggers will always remain (or so i believe, since triggers can also bring back good memories). it's the reactions that can be changed and controlled. and aware of these one must always be... another great post!

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  3. Hey Silver, appreciate your visit. Glad that you did pass on by, thank you! Blessings.

    Shadow-Yeah, I too believe everyone in life have some kind of triggers to set them off about something. Good or bad. Appreciate you dear one!

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  4. It is rewarding to be reminded - sounds strange, doesnt it. I was the one on the fantasy trip and did all the clowning around. Fantasy trip is gone, I still sometimes clown around, however I get aware of it very quickly and adjust accordingly. We always will be work in progress and it feels good taking the lead and not being controlled by the past anymore. It is worth all the work. Pearls are made by injured lifes. Love

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  5. Great line there Paula, "Pearls are made by injured lives." Yes, we are always a work in progress, always something to adjust. Blessings dear one and I continue to pray for you and a job!

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  6. I find myself at times putting on a front when I am having a really bad day with my husband's drinking. I'm extra funny, extra kind, extra goofy just to avoid the pain. This sounds like a great book!

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  7. My way of coping with painful experiences is to do the same as you JBR. I slip into "la-la land." I can only imagine how painful your experiences must have been. You are a very strong woman. *hugs*

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  8. Dear one, AD so very sorry that you cope similar with your pain. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

    Denise, thank you dear, appreciate the comment. Blessings and hugs.

    Gin, sorry that you have to resort to your coping mechanism to survive. I do pray some day you will be able to better handle the pain of your husbands drinking and the effect it has on you. Blessings dear one.

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  9. range from rigid personal habits to clowning around.

    Heck, I got BOTH.

    BTW, I simply L.O.V.E. SWEET STEVIE!!!!!!!

    It always makes my day!

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  10. Very good post. Yes, I lived in a fantasy world. And I am such a control freak!! Keeping that secret is part of the pain we have had to live with. It is like poison. And that shame, I still feel it sometimes.

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  11. Good way of describing the secret as a poison Colleen. As always, appreciate you! (((hugs)))

    Sweet Stevie-yeah I know, need to keep your ego going, huh? ;)

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  12. stuck-in-the-middleJune 11, 2009

    Even though I can't relate so much, I am understanding more and more of your pain and the others who also post. Hang in there JBR!

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  13. To some degree I agree with the doctor of this article. An experienced therapist will know what to look for in an abused individual. There are usually red flags. Thanks for posting on this topic.

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  14. "Roof-tile construction" is a great description to show that trauma covers another one. If one is not an expert with roofing, they wouldn't know how to undo that part where fixing is needed.

    But then, sometimes, it's hard to go to an experienced therapist, too, still because of shame that abuse had caused or the financial cost.

    JBR, your post always blesses me as I learn more and more about the courage you have shown in overcoming this hurdle. God bless you and I truly appreciate your visits. The Lord's strength is your strength!

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  15. See you've been quite busy. May God always grant you the peace and strength you need to enable you to continue through your journey.

    "I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS" (Mt 28:20)

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  16. Thank you. Thank you. I think I'm still learning that my hurt is real. That the past is not only real, but that it's *my* past. Thank you for being so honest, and caring.
    Much love
    Broken

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  17. Broken, so glad to see your comment dear! Give your past time to heal.....as long as it may take. Blessings dear one.

    Hey Ron, nice to see you again. Appreciate the encouragement of strength and peace! Blessings.

    RCUBEs, thank you for your very sweet comment dear. Appreciate your thoughts. Blessings.

    Janet, experience can make all the difference in the world, but then again, you can have a lot of experience and still miss the mark. Even some therapist are in denial with their 'own stuff.'

    Thanks for your comment dear!

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing your feelings and those excerpts! It just makes me tear up thinking of how so many have layers of pain and shame from what trauma they have experienced. I'm so proud of everyone who is working through their pain. That takes so much courage!

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  19. I ditto what you said!

    Does take courage and I too am proud for anyone who comes out of denial and wants to be set free. Thank you for your comment dear one!

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  20. thank you for writing this. i remember having courage finally, i am still seeking to be free. this was really wonderful, and you are so amazing. i miss you, i haven't been on the computer much lately, i really miss the reading and healing that comes from support that you give me. hugs.

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  21. Mile, I am really glad to see you here! You are always a bright spot for me also dear one! Blessings and (((Mile)))

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  22. Wow, this post hits very close to home for me. Only now that I am talking about the abuse itself am I finding out the ramifications of how it has affected my life aside from the "obvious" reasons. So glad I found your site.

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  23. Hi Lisa Marie. Appreciate your visit once again. So very sorry you suffer with the effects of abuse. Sounds like you are on a positive road to recovery! Blessings.

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  24. JBR, the more you seek Him, the more you'll know that love "too deep to stand." The more of Him you'll see and the less of the past. Whether or not the shame is forgotten this side of heaven, it IS covered by His love and righteousness.

    Never forget that Jesus knows our shame. He not only endured the shame of hanging naked (the Romans did not use loincloths), but He took upon Himself the greater shame of all sin. He never did anything wrong, yet He accepted every sin—its pain, its death to the soul, its intense shame. That includes the shame of every violation in every sexual sin.

    He knows our shame firsthand. He makes a trade. He takes our shame and gives us His righteousness. When the blood of Jesus covers our shame, we are as pure in God's eyes as Mary the virgin when she received His Spirit to conceive the life of Jesus. His Spirit could not enter us as (it did her) unless we were first pure. Now pure, in us is conceived the life of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Satan wants us to believe we're still filthy and covered with shame. That's a lie from the pit of hell.

    You've just been added to my prayer list. I'm asking the Lord to reveal to you the purity and righteousness that is yours in Him.

    Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

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  25. Hello,

    You just started following my blog so I came over to “meet” you. I have been reading your recent post from the top down to here. I am encouraged to see how you are turning to God for your strength. I want to encourage you too, but anything I can think of right now just sounds weak. I see you have a little note at the left of your blog which says, “I hate fake people”, well I do too. I do not want to come across as being one of those fake people. So for now…I will just get to know you better before I attempt to say anything meaningful.

    Keep seeking Jesus…the Truth and the Life.

    ♥Hope

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