Understanding Trauma

Heal In Your Own Time

Last week, I wrote about how trauma is an individualized thing. No two people have exactly the same experiences, and no two people will respond or react to similar experiences in the same way.

Just as how one reacts to trauma and whether one is traumatized by an experience is individual, so is the healing journey. How–and whether–someone heals from trauma depends on a number of factors. How old they are when the experience occurs. What type of support, both personal and professional, they have. How long the experience lasted; for example, was there a single traumatic incident or long-term abuse? Was the abuse verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, more than one of those types?

I experienced abuse in my home beginning in early childhood. Even though I grew up and moved out of that home, I married someone who was even more abusive. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30s that I ended up living in an environment where I didn’t receive, or at least fear, daily verbal and emotional abuse.

After over three decades of abuse, and given the deep impact and scars emotional abuse leaves, of course I haven’t been able to “fully heal.” I don’t believe “fully healed” is a thing anyway; no matter what you’re healing from, you will make progress but will always find deeper “wounds” underneath the things you heal. Healing is a journey that lasts a lifetime, and that’s okay. We don’t have to be fully healed and whole; we just need to be learning and growing and progressing.

People heal from physical illness and injury at different rates; it’s the same with healing from trauma. Your healing journey is your own. The amount of time you need is okay, no matter how long it is, because it is what you need. The methods you use are okay, as long as no one is harmed by them, because they are what works for you.

It is no one’s right to tell anyone else they’re “taking too long” to heal, or to accuse them of “not wanting to get better” because their journey is a longer one. Everyone is different and needs different things, and everyone deserves to have their journey respected and accepted.