Remembering Past Trauma
*this post was inspired by words by David Bedrick. **I am not a trauma therapist, I am writing my own perspective on trauma, from the information I gathered through my own healing journey, and from my training.
~ My ex-boyfriend used to tell me that the way I was reacting to our intercourse, which was sometimes disassociated and avoidant, was a reaction to past trauma, likely a sexual one. Now, that is a SHOCKING thing to say to someone who has no recollection of any explicit violation in their past.
That in itself is traumatic because for a long time I was trying to recall these “explicit memories”, and being very very very afraid of what I might find.
The truth is - it doesn’t matter if there was or was not an explicit incident - violation of my physical boundaries happened; it’s very likely that my so-called “symptoms” are a reaction to those memories in my body.
It is also true that most of us have experienced something like that in our lives (or past lives) which we cannot recall or remember.
And we DON’T need to either… You don’t need to remember explicit trauma if you have no memory of it.
There are a few reasons for that, but if there was trauma, your nervous system is protecting you from re-traumatization.
The thing to know about healing trauma is that you don’t need the visual memory to feel it in the body - the way to heal is through the sensations that it brings up now.
1. what the experience felt like? (working somatically will enable you to get there) 2. how it impacted you in the past? (how you behaved as a result) 3. what does it mean for your life going forward? (how would you behave knowing this impacted you)
This kind of work is very tender and takes time to unravel. A good therapist would know to guide you safely and slowly. A trauma-informed coach would be able to keep you away from re-traumatization, and safely explore these themes.
Choose your therapist wisely and know that you don’t have to “go there” when it’s not safe.
Trust that your system will reveal the information needed for each stage of your healing, at the rate that is safe for you to hold and process.
With love Inbar