(Week Two) Trauma Narrative vs. Healthy Narrative in CPTSD or Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Athena: Hey, you guys. Hey, I’m live; I’m hoping that the audio
is working. I had to reboot a couple of times so I was
just going to like send you guys out a tweet and see if you can hear me. It’s hard for me to monitor everything. I’m hoping this is working. So, we’re in part two of a series on our
crafting out Trauma Narrative and I’m telling me in the where I’m little bit asking. I’m really working while I’m asking. So let me see. Yeah, hi Matt; wonderful, yeah! Ok, I’m hoping the sounds working so I have
some questions from last weeks, you guys. We’re in part two of the series on crafting
out Trauma Narrative and learning about our healthy narrative, giving ourselves permission
to add to and subtract from our narrative—that’s one thing with our survivor journey. Sometimes, we have a difficult time feeling
like we are remaining congruent and if we’re not telling the whole story how it originally
happened including how it affected us then and then that has somehow draws us back. I’m going to talk more about this in just
a second but I just wanted to remind you guys that I’m answering questions from last week
during our part one video on our Trauma Narrative and we have questions left over from… we
answered questions from John Harvey and Jack and Shelley and Janie and Poppy and Billy
and Hunter and then we have questions left over from last week that we’re going to add
to the questions that you sent this week. We have questions that we’re answering tonight
from Heroes don’t wear capes, Billy, Joey, Katie, Debra and Gary and then another one
from Billy and then one from Jess also, I believe yes. I put a little star next to that one and then,
another one from John Harvey that he sent in tonight. Awesome, ok so I want to look at you at you
guys first and I want to set this up so that you know what we’re doing and then really,
really quickly; before we get to far into this… I want to, I just want to really quickly for
anybody watching a replay… First of all, if you’re here live, thank
you for giving this video a thumbs up and thanks for giving yourselves a thumbs up and
then, thank you for sharing this video and for subscribing to this channel and for making
sure that you read everything that’s over in the chat box and then reading the video
description so that you know what it is that were, what we’re trying to talking about. So/ and then really quickly for anybody on
a replay –that’s for if you’re live; so if you’re on a replay, thanks for giving
this video thumbs up, if you, if you’ll feel that it’s helpful. Welcome to another week of No More Shame live
Q&A for adult survivors of any type of childhood trauma, incest, human trafficking, narcissistic
abuse, any type of complex trauma; cult abuse; anyone living with PTSD or CPTSD symptoms. If you’re looking to receive support and
to share and acquire new healthier skills then you have landed in the right place; this
is an excellent place for you. This is not a place for you if you are cyber-bully
or if you have nothing better to do than to come to a channel where people are trying
to heal from trauma and, and be a bully. Your-you’ll be blocked and you will be put
in timeout and you’re not welcome here so go somewhere else. We won’t, we won’t accept any of that here;
we won’t put up with it and you’ll just be banned completely forever. So tonight’s topic: Healthy Narrative and
Trauma Narrative; that is something that you guys have been curious about and asking about
and we’re, we’re moving forward in that direction. This is part two of the series that we’re
working on. So thank you for taking the time to read the
video description and for reading the public service announcement notes over in the chat
box or maybe it’s over here. It’s always backwards; I’m not sure; maybe,
it’s over here. This video, just a reminder that this video
is not intended nor will it ever be intended to be received as a therapeutic service or
diagnosis of any kind. If you need therapy, please seek a qualified
experienced professional and you guys are the reason that this community as healing
and powerfully transforming as it is –it’s because of you guys. You guys show up here every single week; you
ask excellent questions; you interact; you support one another and you cheer me on and
tell me not to stop and sometimes I need to hear those things, you know. So, again these videos are never a substitute
for professional health care. I simply openly discuss the research that
I have personally conducted over the course of my 17 year healing journey and some of
the topic research that-that is here on this channel may also be from some of our dedicated
volunteers and interns or other community members so hello trigger warning; this is
going to be very triggering for anyone who has endured any type of trauma or abuse or
maltreatment and if you’re in crisis now, please reach out for friends over at RAINN–that’s
a rape, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network @RAINN.org, 1-800-656 HOPE, H-O-P-E. If you prefer to text, you can text our friends
and get immediate support via text message from the Crisis Text Line @CrisisTextLine.org
or you can simply text the word START to 741-741 and then, our Suicide Prevention Resource
if you are actively suicidal or you have some low grade suicidal ideation, any type of suicidal
ideation, please reach out to our friends over at the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and
that’s SuicidePreventionLifeline.org; 1-800-273-8255 and if you would please take a moment and
tweet out that number –tweet out 1-800-273-8255; share it on Facebook; share it on social media
somewhere, share, share a meme on Instagram; just have anybody you know re-tweet all that
information because you really could save a life. So over in the chat box where whichever side
that’s on; all you have to do is just touch it, copy it and then it will send it out immediately
or keep it on your clipboard for anybody that might need support and you really could save
a life, I know that sounds like I’m being overly dramatic but I’m not. Thanks for being here and I really want to
say thank you to all of our volunteers especially Matt and Dawn who moderate every single week;
make this weekly live Q&A possible and then our newest volunteer, Lisa—please say thank
you to Lisa and thanks as always to Jodi B who tweets out memes all day everyday encouraging
people who are struggling and thanks to Khalisha who runs survivor community over on Instagram,
follow her. Thanks so much to Harriet; she’s amazing;
she’s our virtual assistant that helps us with everything on the YouTube channel and
everything that’s on the websites; all the content. Heather’s a great supporter; Jack does some
Storify; Poppy does amazing gif or if you say if—that’s you, I say gif and just
all you other volunteers that are just amazing and you show up every week. So, I have a whole bunch more; I could say
that I’m just going to, I’m going to move right along and just say thank you and again,
we are talking about crafting our Trauma Narrative and crafting a healthy narrative and I want
to go directly to the questions that were asked last week and begin answering those
so that I can spend most of my time answering your guy’s questions. You can simply watch other videos and listen
to me pontificate on and on about things but I want to answer your questions. So, I want to set this up really quick so
that you guys are very clear about what it is that we’re talking about and how it is
that we come to that place where we’re crafting a narrative and we are giving ourselves permission
to add to and subtract from what it is that is the story we tell ourselves inside of our
head, right? Because the story we tell ourselves; the words
that we allow ourselves to say to ourselves; they matter and they-what they do is they
cause us to act a certain way or do certain things or react certain ways and it can really
be detrimental or it can be helpful for us. So for instance, I give an example last week
about how I got suspended in banned on YouTube and I said ok, so if I’m going to talk about
how that affected me; now, I could be honest and just blurt out the you know, “Oh my
goodness! It was horrible; I felt like I just wanted
to die and like my life’s work was being attacked and I just wanted to rock myself in the corner.”
and that’s rather, I’m cataztrophising it even though it’s an accurate description
of how it is that I felt. I can choose different words that allow me
to be empowered; instead of giving my power away to those people at YouTube or whoever
that are, that are causing me emotional distress me. Let me get some water really quick; keep it
here with me; that would be good. Ok so, so when we are crafting our narrative
and our Trauma Narrative is the truth about what happened to us and why our Trauma Narrative’s
important in our healing journey. Why do we even talk about it, Athena? What’s in the past is in the past. Should I not be over that already? Why am I going to talk about it? Why am I going to dredge up all the old stuff? Isn’t that just going to keep me stuck,
Athena? Why would I do that? Why would I talk about something that happened
a long time ago? Why wouldn’t I just move on? My pastor tells me that I should just move
on; my family tells me that I should just move on; my friends tell me that I’m making
a big deal out of nothing that I just want to stay stucked in the past and that I’m
just stuck in victim mode and I’m just feeling sorry for myself like why would I craft a
Trauma Narrative, Athena especially if I have all these people that supposedly care about
me telling me that I don’t need to be focusing on what happened a long time ago, I should
be focusing on the here and the now and so here you are telling me to craft the Trauma
Narrative, Athena? It’s counterintuitive and it’s the opposite
of what everybody else is telling me to do. So I just want to be really clear; when we
avoid our pain… we already know that when we numb through drugs and alcohol or busyness
or social media addiction, video game addiction, shopping, gambling, sex addiction, any, any
type of eating disorder over exercising like we have plenty of ways we can numb, right? And when we stuff meaning that we just sort
of just stuff it down, stomp down on it and then create a whole bunch of other good stuff
so that we never have to touch the bad stuff that we’re stomping down, right? So that’s stuffing—that’s numbing and
stuffing. So, avoiding is when we do what everybody
else is telling us to do; everybody except for trauma-informed practitioners that is. So what a lot of people are telling us to
do is they’re saying, “Well, that happened 30 years ago. What good is going to come of you shaming
the family name; bring up what happened to you a long, long time ago? Why wouldn’t you just move on? The Bible says to forgive and I’m telling
you that the same thing happened to me but much, much worse and I’m fine so you should
be fine so why don’t you just move on?” so this minimizing, right? This minimizing… Sorry, I have like, like I have like you know
how I have the ceiling fan and like everything, I’m always touching my hair when I’m talking
to you guys. Ok, so the reason I’m telling you that that
is something that is not going to be helpful for you is because the more you avoid your
feelings; the reason that you’re avoiding or you’re numbing and you’re stuffing so
this is what happens—we numb and we stuff because pain hurts and we don’t want to deal
with; we just want to numb it and we want to stuff it and we want to avoid it and then
when someone else comes along—people that we identify with and that we love and that
we want to earn their approval or their attention or we want to be friends with them or we want
them to accept us and to like us and to welcome us into the family or treat us well then when
they give us just an inkling of what we really want which is to avoid the pain, we go, “Well,
that has to be the answer.” and then we sort of jump on that bandwagon
all day and just say, “I need to get over it. Well, why am I not over it? It keeps popping up; it keeps affecting me.” So when we numb it and we stuff it and we
avoid it; any of those three, we can’t fully accept what it is that happens to us and so
it will, it will live; it will survive; it will stay in our limbic system; it will stay
in our body; it will stay like we have actual physical manifestations of trauma because
our body holds onto our trauma and so until we give that trauma a voice and we acknowledge
and we embrace it and we give it the voice that it never had then it’s going to continue
to show up and show up and show up and show up, that’s why we can’t just move on. Why can’t i just be over it by now? That happened a long time ago. We must give it the attention it deserves;
we must give it a voice; we must allow it to be what it really is and that is real. Many of us were told that our trauma wasn’t
real. Many of us were told that our—that our abuse
never happened; many of us were told that we were never held in a situation where we
couldn’t get out; many of us are told by our abusers or our enablers that we’re making
a big thing out of nothing and that we’re catastrophizing or that were exaggerating
or that it’s not how we think it is and we’re just making it up or we’re being a drama queen
or we’re being a drama king or whatever it is. People use a lot of different colorful language
to skirt the issue because they are heavily vested in us not telling the truth because
that would hold them accountable. People don’t like to be held accountable;
abusers don’t like to be held accountable; enablers don’t like to be held accountable
and people that are in the family that were on the outs that are like on the outskirts
of it all? They don’t want to be held accountable either;
they don’t even want to hear of anything bad happening because then they might have
to feel something like a little bit of guilt or like, “Oh! I had a feeling that something was happening
and I never said anything. Oh my gosh! I’m a horrible person.” and that hurts and so, many people-almost
everyone is federally vested in us never speaking up and so crafting a Trauma Narrative is so,
so vital, why? Is it—is it for your neighbor? Is it for your pastor? Is it for your mom or your dad or your spouse
or your kids? It might be for your spouse and your kids
because it will affect your spouse and it will affect your children. It will; your trauma will affect your spouse
and your trauma will affect your children. If we don’t embrace what is and we don’t give
it a voice and we don’t acknowledge it for what it is and we don’t allow it to be real
because it is real. We can’t pretend something that’s real is
fake because it will keep showing up and going, “I’m real. Hello. I’m real; you’re pretending I don’t exist
and I’m real.” And, anytime we try to move forward in our
life and do anything, it’s going to keep showing up. And so last week I mentioned the importance
of journaling and the reason journaling is so big; many of you just like grown into the,
“Here she goes with the journaling thing again. Oh my gosh!” So, the reason journaling is so big and if
you hate your own handwriting then totally fine like type it like text little notes app
like Evernote, Scribner like, like whatever floats your boat like do that. Find a way to take what is inside and get
it out. Take what’s inside, get it out. There’s a little app on my phone and it’s
called quick voice and it’s like… you guys know that I have arthritis like I’ve
told you all about my arthritis; it’s pretty nuts actually and it’s not like I have like
rheumatoid arthritis. I might like in the future, who knows but
I have arthritis and so what I have here on my phone is a –the little red one there. See the little red app over my husband’s eye? Quick voice; so quick voice is I can press
it and I can leave myself a voice memo and I can remember like that’s like my audio journal,
ok? And that’s like one of my favorite apps. There’s also Voxer; I think there’s just one
called voice pro or something like that. So at any rate, getting what’s inside and
taking it out; journaling—voice journaling, writing it out, drawing pictures, art therapy,
expressive therapies, writing a book, writing out what it is that happened to you, speaking
about what happened to you, getting it from the inside out into the outside so that it’s
real and what that does is it releases pressure. It’s been building up, building up, building
up, building up, building up and we just keep stomping it down and we keep stomping it down
because we don’t want to see it, we don’t want to feel it but once we give it life and
we give it the attention it deserves, guess what happens? It doesn’t rule our life anymore and it doesn’t
show up unannounced and unwanted. Right when we we’re starting to get sort of
intimate with like a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend; right when we’re starting this
new job and we’re like, “I finally got a new job and I’m finally making what I’m worth.”And/
or removing into like a different neighborhood that we’ve never lived in that we always
dreamed about or were purchasing a new vehicle and making a large purchase or starting a
new business, whatever then all of a sudden, guess what? Trauma’s cumulative y’all; good stress
or bad stress; it’s cumulative and it’s going to trigger all the other stuff. So all that stuff that you stomp down, stomp
it down, stomp it down, stomp it down; as soon as you go into new heights and you reach
great barriers and you go into like a new atmosphere—it comes up and it’s like,
“I want to join the party; I’m real; I’m real.” And so that’s why journaling and crafting
a trauma narrative is so imperative; it just helps everything so I just, yeah, I just,
I want, I just want to, I want you to know how imperative it is. So that’s the reason why we do it. Journaling is such a good way; voice app is
such a good way. Please be chatting with one another and sharing
your best practices as to how you have crafted your trauma narrative and then the big key
that we mentioned last week that I really want to mention again is the gift of giving
ourselves permission to add to and subtract from what it is that we tell ourselves about
what happened to us and I want to let you know… I’ve mentioned in the beginning of this
broadcast that how sometimes that feels very incongruent when we don’t tell the whole story
how it happened originally; we have feelings of incongruence—we feel almost like we’re
being dishonest and then for many of us –not all of us but this is going to ping some of
you like right in solar plexus—many of us had abusers and one of their main character
flaws is that they were dishonest person—they lied a lot; they were dishonest; they lied
compulsively like if the sky was blue, they would say it was pink and if they arrived
to work at 4 o’clock, they would say they got there at 5 and if they had chicken for
dinner, they would say they had steak and if they had coffee that morning, they would
say they had tea like they just lie for the sake of lying and so our black and white thinking—the
two Polar’s, right? This one and this one… what, what that ends up doing in our minds—our
child’s mind where the polar opposites are all that exists, the black and white is all
that exists is if we aren’t 100% honest; 100% all the time—a hundred percent then
that means that we are just like our abuser and so what we do is we over share; we feel
the need to tell the whole truth because we just want to make sure we didn’t leave anything
else so no one can say that we were lying; so no one can say, “Well, you didn’t say
that. Well, that’s new. You never mentioned that before.” and it comes from a place of needing to not
be like our abusers. You don’t know how many clients are like,
“Athena… like I just, I ran into this girlfriend of mine at the drugstore and then
she asked me how I was and then I ended up talking to her like 30 minutes and I told
her everything, I don’t even know why I did that and/ but I just didn’t want like
I just wanted to be honest.” and, and it’s common you guys; it’s not uncommon that
this happens with us. We don’t want to be anything like our abusers
so we go the whole polar opposite and we decided if our abusers were silent and withdrawn and
emotionally unavailable, we’re going to be forward and loud and gregarious and we’re
going to be fully available; we’re going to have no boundaries and just be 100% available
for everyone all the time and we’re going to be the opposite of what our abuser but
the healthy place is in the scary middle where we’re not liars and we don’t over share. Healthy boundaries are pliable and they’re
in the middle; they ‘rein the scary middle where we allow the good things to come in
and we keep the bad stuff out and we don’t feel the need over share to every single person
that we see because we’re safe and solid in our own narrative, why? Because we crafted it and we know what happens
and it’s real and we have a big community of people that can read it and look at it
and go, “Huh! I believe you—not only do I believe you
but I lived a lot of that. My narrative is a little different than yours
but I believe you.” So there we go; we’re all set up for tonight;
we have, we have about 57 of you; we have about 57 of you here tonight. Yay! I’m so excited. Oh you guys, I talked to my son on his birthday
and he’s on twitch and twitch is just like YouTube but mostly there’s a lot of gamers
here but they have like shows like this—they have talk shows and stuff as well and he’s
like, “Mom, Why aren’t you on Twitch? They won’t kick you off the way YouTube
kicked you off. You should get on Twitch mom.” And I’m like, “I don’t know if my audience
would like me on Twitch. I don’t know if they would go there. I’m not sure.” He goes, “Mom! But you won’t get kicked off anymore.” like it just makes sense, why don’t you
go over to Twitch and he’s like telling me all about it and, and he goes, “Well,
how many people normally are there?” I’m like, “I don’t know between 20 and
70 like it just depends on like what like what mood everybody’s in or if it’s holiday
or whatever.” He goes, “Mom! Like that’s amazing. You would be a partner; you would be a Twitch
partner; you would, you would be an affiliate and then you would be a partner and like you
should be over on Twitch.” So if I get a Twitch channel…I just want
to let you guys know that, that, that might happen because my son’s cheering me off
but anyway, I’m going to switch this over to you guys now. I’m going to answer your questions and thanks
for being here; thanks to all of you who are here and I just want to say thank you and
thanks to Jess for her question. I think that was last week; Jess and Billy
Hawkins and Gary and Deborah and Joey and Heroes don’t wear capes and then for tonight,
we have another question from Heroes don’t wear capes and a question from Lisa and a
question from Willow and a question from Joey and a question from Hunter and a question
from Monica. So, I’m going to try to do rapid fire as much
as I possibly can and I just want to welcome you guys. If this is your first time here and this—you’ve
never been here with us before, it’s about like this every week. Usually, we-I talk a little bit less and then,
I answer more questions but I really needed to set this up because this is something that’s
really important. Let me just get some water really quick. I’m going to try to stay on topic tonight,
you guys which is the Trauma Narrative but if I have question… if I have time then
I’m going to go and I’m going to answer the off-topic questions as well, ok? But I just want to say thank you, you guys
because you guys are amazing and then, there’s another question from Deborah. So let me see if I can find, ok. So from last week Heroes don’t wear capes
says, “So, I’ve been intentionally checking in with myself to create some self-awareness
and I swear, I’m beginning to think that I’m just a really layered walking talking
coping mechanism, LOL!” So, Heroes don’t wear capes—you and I
have so much in common and there are a couple other questions here from you; let me see
if any of them are related –that way I can answer them all at once. Where did it go? There was another question from somewhere. Oh look! Someone’s calling right in my video. Sorry guys, it happens. So I know there was another one, where did
it go? Darn it, y’all. I’m so sorry. I know it’s there somewhere. Oh! There it is. “Does working with our trauma narrative
help with obsessive compulsive behaviors?” So, we’re going to talk a little bit about
obsessive compulsive behaviors and then you also describing yourself as a layered walking
talking coping mechanism which is interesting because when we have coping mechanisms, they’re
either healthy or unhealthy; they’re either adaptive or maladaptive, right? And then sometimes we develop compulsions. So, I don’t know if I’m going to speak to
compulsive behaviors and I’m not referring to being diagnosed by a licensed medical professional
as someone who is living with obsessive compulsive disorder; I’m not a medical professional and
I don’t live with obsessive compulsive disorder although one of my best friends does and it’s
real and I can’t speak knowledgeably and lend to that topic in a way that would be informative
or helpful because I don’t live with it myself. So, I’m going to just talk about being a walking
talking coping mechanism and then how crafting our Trauma Narrative can help with compulsive
behaviors. So maladaptive coping strategies are simply
those that –they are things that help us cope or stay alive when we were little and
they are just not helpful in our adult life. I often referred to it as like me wearing
combat boots and full flat, flat gear to the grocery store like in my childhood, I needed
to stay alive and I almost died but I’m not in a situation right now where anyone around
me where I live is going to kill me and yet I’m dressed for combat. So Heroes don’t wear capes, I have described
myself as a walking talking being with just layers of different coping strategies, adaptive
and maladaptive coping strategies; I am a complex being on some days where I am simply
coping; I’m not living; I’m barely surviving; I’m definitely not driving and that is usually
after I’ve been extremely triggered or I’ve been contacted by someone in my family of
origin who is attempting to manipulate or gaslight me or shame me for speaking my true
or complain about me or make fun of me because I publish books about abuse and telling like
or the-the one lately that really hit me hard like in the solar plexus is that I just want
to be famous and I’m lying pretending that I was abused so I can be famous like how fucking
ridiculous is that like seriously. So, I have described myself as a walking talking
coping strategy and I want to encourage you, Heroes don’t wear capes to embrace and celebrate
those coping strategies if you can even if it’s only for a few moments a day; if you
could possibly remind yourself maybe in some quiet time or journal time like maybe before
you go to sleep like sometimes I’ll lie in bed just before I go to sleep and I will try
to acknowledge, listen to and celebrate all that is me. I know that sounds quite like grandiose and
self, self-indulgent and weird but-but it’s not. I have coping strategies that have kept me
alive for 44 years; some of them older than others and some of them healthy and some of
them not healthy but I’m alive. The primary objective is to remain alive and
so sometimes, I’ll lie there at night and I will almost shame myself because I ate more
sugar than I wanted to or I didn’t drink as much water as I needed to or I didn’t rest
very much or I rush through my day or I-I had people pleasing behaviors that I’m not
proud of or I struggle with somebody dysmorphia or I bit my fingernails, you know—these
are things that I’m not proud of, right? These are things that I don’t love about myself
but they are coping strategies—my busyness and my people pleasing and my biting my finger
nails helps me to dissociate, focusing on the parts of my body that I don’t like helped
me from focusing on the parts of my body that were in pain or that I was ashamed of or it
was just—there was just maladaptive coping strategies but if I catch myself doing that
just before I lie down to go to sleep, I really try to give voice to and acknowledge and celebrate
the ways that my body and my mind helped me –they’ve worked together in tandem today
to keep me alive and the more I do that and that I celebrate all that is me even if though,
it sounds very self-indulgent and weird to some people, those maladaptive coping strategies
don’t show up the next day or for a few days. When I acknowledge and I celebrate them and
I thank them for showing up—they don’t show up for a few days; it’s a while before they
show up again. So I hope that helps you but I also struggle
with some obsessive behaviors; I’m quite pedantic in that when like it’s part of my perfectionism
which is an obsessive behavior, I did all this research on perfectionism over the last
few years –I’ve actually been conducting it and I’m compiling it into a book and it’s
all about how we chase perfection –we chase it and perfection is a unicorn; there’s nothing
perfect and the more we try to be perfect in an effort to run away from our shame, the
more we remain paralyzed and we don’t reach our goals and so, I’m not certain what obsessive
behaviors you have… did you say obsessive compulsive behaviors or did you say obsessive
behaviors? Let me just double-check really quick, Heroes
don’t wear capes. Does working with our Trauma Narrative help
with obsessive compulsive behaviors? So, we obsess over something and we compulsively
do things. So I obsess over the length of my fingernails
because my main abusers fingernails and toenails and hair was always perfect and I had to always
be perfect and if I bit my finger… I got in trouble when I had to soak them in
horse manure and carry a bag of horse manure to school and so I had obsess about my fingernails
and then I compulsively bite my fingernails and it’s, it’s a way to dissociate which
means I still don’t have to be fully present and I still, that’s still a coping mechanism
and it’s still something that is obsessive and compulsive in my daily life like today
like just today, November 6th, 2017 and so if I were to journal about it and give it
voice and talk about why I was doing it –it would help me to not do it. Have I journal about it lately? Have I walked my talk? Am I doing all these things that I’m telling
you guys to do? I usually do but it was a rough week man and
if you’re in my group, you saw my debrief. So, yes –crafting our Trauma Narrative does
help with obsessive compulsive behaviors because some of those obsessive compulsive behaviors
are coping strategies and they just remain as something that we
do on a regular basis and so as we give life to what it is and what was and we give it
a voice and let it have the voice that it needs to tell the story it needs to tell,
it often times just doesn’t show up anymore. I’ve had clients craft their trauma narrative
and they were stuck in some patterns of self-harming behaviors for 20 years and their self-harming
urges literally tapered off to nothing after the crafting of their Trauma Narrative and
oftentimes, when we craft are Trauma Narrative, we find that there are younger versions of
us that sort of have their own little personality and I’ve been talking a lot about this during
my EMDR debrief videos but you know… I have a young teenage part of me that’s like
that little white girl in the back of the room that like dyes her hair and wears all
black and she’s really, really smart and she like memorizes textbooks and she knows,
she can call BS on any adult anywhere and she is sassy and she has a mouth, right? And she’s like a teenage part of me; now,
was I ever heard that girl that was sitting in the back of the room with like my hair
dyed black where you know cool clothes and whatever, like no! Because I was too busy needing to be like
a little clone of one of my abusers and trying to like be people pleasing and talking and
like thinking that I needed to be like you know someone else and so I never got to sort
of embrace that little like smart girl/ that little Goth girl in the back of the room,
right? But I have that part of me that sort of shows
up and then I have a young, young, young, young part of me and all she ever said is,
“You don’t understand. You don’t understand. You don’t understand.” and like she’s really, really small and she’s
terrified and then I have like a—like a business side of me that’s like she can
do anything like she’s not afraid of anybody and she can do anything but then like here’s
me, right? And I’m sitting and I’m making these videos
with you guys. If it wasn’t for me giving voice to the trauma
that I’ve survived and deciding to heal in public which is totally humiliating then
I probably would be you know still stuck and still struggling on a daily basis. Yes, I still have things that I struggle with;
I still bite my fingernails; I still have maladaptive coping strategies but for the
most part like you know 18 hours out of every day, I feel pretty fully functioning and I
feel pretty healthy for the most part –maybe not 18 hours, maybe like 12 hours—maybe
12 hours out of every day, maybe 50% of the time of like I feel pretty awesome but, but
it’s because I’m giving voice to that which was and acknowledging it and making
sure that it knows that it was—that I know that is was real because many times our truth
is denied. Our truth is denied like for decades, sometimes
for our whole lives. So I hope that was helpful and you know, it
really does help. We need to give voice to those things. Billy Hawkins says, “I’m trying to find
a trauma therapist in Melbourne, Australia. I want to work on shame issues but I find
it hard because self-talk is so bad and I sabotage myself. Would I be wasting their time?” Oh Billy! Oh my goodness, Billy Hawkins, let me look
at you. Billy, you’re not going to waste their time. No! They work for you; you keep their lights on
and interestingly, if you’re living with PTSD, CPTSD sort of attacks itself like we heal
and then as a part of our healing journey feeling better is triggering and so then we
sabotage our own healing journey and end up back to where we feel bad again. And so sometimes, after you just break past
that, it’s almost like lurching forward a little bit. So you know, self-sabotaging behaviors are
quite common with survivors especially if you’re living with CPSTD because again, CPSTD
sabotages itself; it just does. It’s part of the journey and it’s not until
you are sabotaging yourself over and over and over and over again not you but your trauma;
your trauma is sabotaging itself over and over and over again –it’s part of what it
does and until we get past that and we sort of acknowledge it and we’re surrounded by
other people that are going through the same thing and we’re, we’re with a really good
you know trauma informed practitioner and we’re healing in safe community with other
people and we’re, we’re, we’re seeing that they’re reflecting back to us –the healing
that we’re you know going through. It’s not until we do all of those things and
put all the pieces together that we really feel and experience the healing. So anyone of you that’s feeling like you
might be wasting anybody’s time; you’re never wasting anybody’s time, I promise you. Please don’t stop healing; please don’t
give up because it’s really worth it, I promise and you’re going to get there. It’s just going to take a while longer than
you thought it was going to. You know what I’m saying? And we want it now, right? I do. Joey says, “I was telling my therapist last
session that I want to start writing my story but I was scared too and, and I won’t get
far and she told me not to stop and to push through it because if I stop because of the
pain, I will never go back. Is she right?” Well, there are two things. Part of it, she’s right about and the other
part she’s not. So she’s right to tell you to push through
the pain. We never can go over or around or under the
pain, right? We have to move through the pain because if
we go over it or around it or under it –it’s going to pop back up because we’re not actually
fully experiencing like the pain—there’s an indicator. The pain is an indicator; feelings are indicators,
right? There, they’re just telling us a story –our,
our, our pain tells us a story and remember what I shared with you how Sonia said to me,
“If it hurts, it’s real.” Right? And then, I added on to that, “And if it’s
real, you’re going to heal.” so you can’t heal from something that never happened. So if you’re in pain about something and it’s
hurting you then that means it was real and if you went through something and it hurts
and its real then you’re going to heal. You just have to make sure that you’re, you’re
moving towards healing and not away from it and the way we move towards healing is by
giving voice to that which was and not avoiding or numbing or stuffing, right? And that’s like the hardest thing in the world. So Joey, don’t give up. Definitely continue; definitely, don’t give
up but if you do stop like you pause, it doesn’t mean you’re never going to come back to it;
you must be intentional. If what she meant to say was, “Healing doesn’t
happen on accident, Joey. We have to be intentional about healing so
be intentional about writing your truth.” Then in that case, she’s right but if she’s
trying to say, “If you pause because you need to—you’re never going to come back
to it. Push through and re-traumatize yourself.” Then that’s not true. You know, I don’t know anybody who would say
that; she probably means well and she probably means like, “Hey, don’t give up.” she’s probably just trying to cheer you on;
you know what I’m saying? So I hope that’s helpful. Let’s see. Katie Leigh, Katie Leigh says, “Does self-sabotaging,
self-sacrificing and others focus people pleasing behavior improve as the narrative becomes
healthier?”Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Will someone tag Katie Leigh—it’s K-A-T-I-E
L-E-I-G-H. She might not be here this week because she
left this message last week at around like 3:30 in the afternoon, I think. Yeah like around 3:30 in the afternoon. So yes when we… now, being other centered
and not being self-centered; there’s nothing wrong with that but if we are focused on other
people and we have people pleasing behaviors that are up to the detriment of our own mental
and emotional well-being—that is not healthy, that’s codependent behaviors and it’s toxic
and it’s—it’s a learned trait. I want to—I want to make, I want to be really,
really clear about that –we don’t sacrifice ourselves on the altar of other people’s needs
and wishes and wants and thoughts for fun; we do it because we were expertly trained
to do it and so if someone who is a manipulator or a toxic individual taught us that the only
way that we could get love, affection, acceptance, food, time, kindness, anything –was to do
whatever they told us to do or to be psychic and anticipate their expressed and unexpressed
wishes then that’s a behavior that’s going to follow us through to adulthood and that’s
not necessarily a healthy thing if it’s to our detriment, right? To the detriment of our own mental and emotional
well-being so as we craft that trauma narrative and as we speak about what was and we give
it a voice then we begin to see our adult self feels a little bit more solid and a little
bit less wobbly and we can look at it with fresh eyes, right? And we can go, “Wow! I did those things.” and then we will know like the way I’m feeling
in my body right now when I’m writing about this. The way I’m feeling in my body right now
when I think about doing these things; it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel congruent,
it doesn’t feel like it’s the healthiest thing for me to do and so then we move forward
and we adjust accordingly, we pivot, right? We talked last week about pivoting. Let me take a drink of water and then, I’ll
be right back. Ok, so I hope that was helpful, Katie. It most definitely does help for sure. We begin to focus less on people pleasing
when we give a voice to what was and we acknowledge are truth. So this question is from Deborah and Deborah
says, “How do I create a healthy trauma narrative with those three negative core beliefs?” Oh! I think what Deborah is referring to is I
am unlovable, I am bad and I am not worth good things or I’m not worth any, I don’t
deserve to receive good things, ok? And if those are your three core beliefs,
the way to craft a healthy trauma narrative is a good old fashioned, it’s almost so simple
that you’re going to roll your eyes and be irritated with me but I’m going to say it
anyway the way that I tackled it because I have those three core beliefs and it’s really
hard to overcome them. You got to draw the line in the middle of
the paper; you have to write your core beliefs out and then you have to find the opposite
that feels in your body like it’s something that’s healthy for you. Does that help? Does that help you, Deborah? I want to know; I want to know if that helps
you. Let me see here. Drawing the line on the middle of the paper
and challenging those things is hard to do but it works and you know, there is a journey;
there is a path that each of us are on and we are not all on the same path. Everybody’s recovery journey is different
but there are a few core principles that must be interwoven into everyone’s journey and
that is acknowledging what was, giving it a voice, grieving, feeling the pain that is
associated with not having what we wish we had—anything that you wish was different. I wish blank was different. Allowing yourself to really acknowledge that
and feel it –that’s all grieving is. I didn’t have blank. I wish that I would have had blank and not
just saying it but really feeling it, allowing yourself to really feel what it feels like
to wish that you had something and to know that you can’t fix it, you can’t, you can’t
will it to existence because it’s in the past and remember, we can’t unbake the cake,
right? And it’s so, so, so, so painful but anything
you wish was different, we need to be able to acknowledge that we wish that it was different
and you must acknowledge that it was real and then once we’ve cross those two really,
really painful bridges then we must begin to practice healthy habits and I want to share
this with you guys really briefly, ok? I want to tell you something. Some of the most disturbing messages I received
in our community privately –obviously, these are all anonymous and I would never share
anyone’s name without them wanting me to but the most common message I’ve received in our
community is that someone is not actively suicidal but they just wake up every day and
they would be really ok if they were just dead. You don’t really have any desire to just go
on like and live; they’re not planning their own suicide and like how they’ll die, how
they will take their own life; they’re not buying pills or purchasing a firearm or planning
and plotting and writing what that would be in their suicide note but they have low grade
suicidal ideation on a daily basis and they’ve been living that way for decades and some
of those messages that I receive which I do receive messages just like that on an almost
daily basis, one version or another of that type of a message. Those are some of the most painful messages
I receive and until we can say those things out loud, acknowledge where they come from,
why we feel that way. We don’t feel that way for fun; we’re not
just making something up so that we can get attention; we really just feel like it might
be better to just not be here. Why do I feel that way? When did I start feeling that way? What caused these feelings of indifference,
ambivalence, apathy? Where did they come from? Question those things, question why it is
that we think the thoughts that we’re thinking and then find a way for others to hear your
voice. It’s counterintuitive when you’re feeling
suicidal; when you have low grade suicidal ideation on a regular basis for years, you’re
in a place where you’re kind of like, “Why would I talk about it? No one really cares and when I tell them,
they either think that I’m just trying to like get attention or they try to tell me
all the flowery things or then they freak out.” or you know and the point is—the point I’m
making with this you guys is there’s a reason that we feel these things. I was abused as a child; I was not loved;
I was not accepted; I didn’t have food; I didn’t have clothing; I didn’t have safety;
I don’t have family –my family of origin scapegoated me; I was bullied; I’ve been in
tons of toxic relationships; the very people that were supposed to love me were the people
that abused me; I was lied to; I was betrayed; I feel alone; I feel hopeless; I feel worthless. We need to give depth to that which causes
these feelings of low grade suicidal ideation; we need to give them a voice and we need to
see what it is that they are trying to say and we need to be bold enough to allow others
to see what it is that we’re feeling –safe people not unhealthy people that we wish loved
us that never, never did or will but like safe people like the people in our groups
and something transformational happens when we do that because we are acknowledge for
who we are. We’re living breathing beings and we have
pain and when someone bears witness to our pain and our truth, something transformational
happens –it helps someone else. Every time you speak up about what it is that
you’re struggling with; if you do so boldly in the presence of other people that are safe,
you help other people, you help save lives whether you know it or not. So as we choose to craft our trauma narrative
and share, we don’t only help ourselves we help others, we help others that we don’t
even know that we’re helping because you could help someone who ends up helping someone who
ends helping someone. Did you ever see that movie Pat It Forward
like with Kevin Spacey and that little boy and what’s his name? J something, Jamie Moore? I mean, it’s a really good movie and it’s
just true there is an exponential effect when we have the courage to use our voice. It’s terrifying and it’s counterintuitive—our
pain tells us to isolate; our pain tells us, “Why would you say anything? No one cares. No one’s going to believe you.” Our shame tells us, “Run away. Don’t say anything. Eew! You’re gross.” but when we are courageous and we stand up
and we use our voice, we help other people and that’s really important. I have those three negative core beliefs,
Deborah. And as I chose to craft my trauma narrative–those
three negative core beliefs, I was challenging those beliefs –draw a line down the paper
and I built a case against those core beliefs: all the things that prove that I’m worthy
of good things; all the things that prove that I am not bad; all the things that prove
that I am not lovable; all the things that prove that I am not unwanted, that I should
have never been born. You know, I had to build a case and the evidence
was stronger over here than it was on my negative beliefs and it really helped. I believe it could help a lot of people. Gary says, “When I’m triggered, I sometimes
take my negative narrative that was forced onto me by my abusers and then I use it to
dig up and heal parts of my mind. How useful is doing this?” Well, I would say it’s very useful if it’s
helping you. I think I understand what you’re saying Gary. Perhaps like if you’re triggered and you’re
remembering something that was done to you or said to you then you go back and you sort
of find that version of yourself that was harmed or hurt and then you, you become more
integrated you heal. I want to make sure that I’m not putting
words in your mouth and saying something that you’re not saying so let me know if I have
it right but I would say that it’s very—it’s very helpful especially if it’s helping you
and if it’s helping you heal parts of your mind, oh my goodness! I would say that it’s most definitely helpful. As long as you’re not triggering—triggering
yourself on purpose; it’s never helpful for us to trigger ourselves on purpose like allow
yourself the peace if the peace is with you and peace is not escaping you then please,
please, please allow yourself to experience that peace. Don’t ever trigger yourself on purpose which
I don’t think you ever would but if you’re already triggered and you’re trying to find
like a usefulness for the trigger, I kind of do the same thing like if I’m feeling super
triggered and not well like I’ll find a way to like I need to do something with this—I’ll
either journal or I’ll speak into my quick voice app or I will reach up to support someone
in our community that has message me that I haven’t had time to message them back because
I’m so inundated. I’ll find a way to use what it is that I’m
going through to like help either myself or someone else so I definitely continue doing
that, I think it’s super helpful. Billy says, “Did you or do you find it hard
to include God in the healing process?” Oh, yes. There is a question. Yes, it’s hard. It’s hard all the time. Oh my gosh! Billy, it’s super hard. So this is why it’s hard, just so you know. Let me put my water down really quick so I
can talk with my hands because I talk all the time with my hands, right? So, for you guys here that are curious about
the whole God thing and like, “Is it hard to include God in your healing and why and
whatever?” Trauma especially childhood trauma by its
very nature is sinister and evil and wicked and horrible and detestable and disgusting
and wrong and it begs the question, “If there is a God and he is who he says he is
and he is all powerful and he’s all loving, why couldn’t he stop it?” and so it’s this
pitfall that I have, right? I mean I’m a woman of faith and my faith
I believe is what and is the reason that I didn’t complete my suicide attempts, right? I believe it was an act of God. So I have a hard time though because for anyone
out there who knows that there is childhood trauma specifically childhood sexual trauma,
complex trauma, trauma over a long period of time, any type of childhood maltreatment
and if you’re like, “Yeah! God is good all the time. All the time God is good.” it’s like, “Really? Let’s pull that apart, shall we?” you know? So, I’ve had a really hard time. Personally, my faith has been rocked like
seriously and it’s either well either God is… either he’s all loving or he’s all powerful
and therefore, he will seek vengeance and everything and he’ll make it right or is
he all loving like God is Love, you know? And the reason I have a hard time with all
of this, I’m convinced is that I have this finite brain and I am bound by time and space
and I have my ways of processing information most of the time which are black and white
because I’m stuck in child mood where my trauma happened and I don’t have the luxury
of this infinite God who can be all places at all times and be all loving and all powerful
and ultimately everything’s working together in a way that it’s supposed to and if this
didn’t happen then this would not have happened and if this didn’t happen then this would
never happened or this or this or this or this or this or this so bottom line, I have
–this is the way that I’ve been able to cope to answer your question, Billy. I hope I’m answering your question properly
and not like if you’re looking for a different type of answer. So the way that I’ve been able to cope and
deal with any of this is I believe that… how do I say what I believe? Hate when I walk on eggshells and I try to
like, “What’s the most socially acceptable way that I can possibly say this right now?” So, I believe that everyone has a free will
choice including my abusers and I believe that they chose to abuse me and exploit me
and caused me to almost miss suicide. I also believe that, “Had my life been totally
different and my abuse never happened?” I find it hard to believe that I would be
doing the work that I’m doing now which is like the joy of my life and it’s like my
life’s work and I love it so much. Now, would I wish that nothing bad ever happened
to me and that I was never abused and I could be living some other life and you know, never
know what abuse felt like and all that, I guess and I wish it for you and you and you
and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you –all 4 thousand
of you in a hundred eighty eight countries. Yeah, that’s what I wish but I can’t unbake
the cake and so all I’m doing is doing the best that I’ve been dealt and unless I had
experienced what I believe to be like a full-blown miracle more than once, I would have a hard
time believing that there was any type of the God but I have experience what I think
is/ was a total miracle more than once. So, I’m choosing to be ok with not knowing
everything –I think is where I’m at but do I find it hard to incorporate God of my
healing journey? Yes, I do. First of all, actually not first of all because
I’ve been talking and pontificating on this point for about 5 minutes or 10 so lastly,
I’ll say this; a huge percentage of you watching this video found me because you were abused
in the church. There are people out there saying that they’re,
you know, they love God and they know God and they are, you know, they’re God followers—they’re
Jesus followers and yet they are practice religious abuse, cult abuse, other types of
abuse while pretending to be Christians and going to church every Sunday or preaching
a message every Sunday or leading a youth group every week; all while they were doing
other horrible things and those are the ones that I am disgusted by and make healings so
difficult in this community because that’s not what happened to me. I was abused by really evil gross people who
said they were Catholic but they never went to church and they had holy statues everywhere
with holy water and all kinds of little like little lace things that go in your hair and
these little Bibles that aren’t really Bibles, they are called missiles and like palm leaves
and like rosary beads and like but they never went to church and so like I have clients
who were sexually abused in the church while they were youth group like I have a problem
with all of that. It’s very messy and there’s no delineation
of what is right and what is wrong; what’s ok; what’s not ok—all I know is I’m here
and I love being here and I’m going to continue to be here and if all, however many thousands
of us there are on this YouTube channel in over a hundred eighty countries—if every
single one of us believes in a different God and we love this person and/or we love this
person or we practice this faith or that faith or we identify with this gender or that gender,
this sexual preference, that sexual orientation, whatever it is; I’m going to, I going to
continue to show up and I’m going to continue to be here for every single one of you because
I believe that we have all been brought together for a reason and I’m going to make something
good come out of this shit that I’ve been given. So I’m a woman of faith and I believe in
God and I pray for our whole community on a daily basis but I still struggle with the
whole God thing and incorporating my faith and my recovery and all of that because there
are still days when I don’t feel like God is good and honestly, you guys, honestly I
think he can handle that. I think the God that I believe in can handle
the fact that I’m just not sure on some days and I’m angry on other days and I’m ambivalent
on other days and I’m just not ok on most days with all of it and that I’m hobbling
along as best as I can, helping as many people as I can along the way. So, yes it’s hard; it’s difficult; it’s horrible;
it’s painful and I hate it but I’m going to continue to do it no matter what any of you
guys believe or love or care about or want or need or whatever, I’m just going to continue
doing me and if you guys continue showing up then cool, it’s a party but I’m going
to just continue what I’m doing but yes, it’s hard, it’s very hard, it’s beyond
hard. Billy Hawkins says, “Thank you, Athena for
answering my questions.” You’re welcome. Jess says… hi, Jess. Oh, you know what? Jess sent this last week you guys. Could someone tag her and let her know that
I’m answering her question. So Jess says, “Discarding negative narratives
is one of the hardest parts of healing but sometimes I’m being a realist accepting limits
and it’s confused as negative. People cause stress arguing my reality.” Oh! I think I understand what you’re saying, Jess. So I think what Jess is saying here is, you
know, discarding our negative narrative is one of the hardest things to do and sometimes,
we’re just being realistic and people are like, “You’re so negative like that’s
why you’re not healing; it’s cause you’re being so negative.” and you’re like, “I’m not being negative
like I’m just being real like this is real.” Right? And that is hard because a lot of people can’t
understand our narrative. My husband has lived like one of the healthiest
lives ever and has like the healthiest family that I… I mean, all families are dysfunctional; I’m
convinced but he has one of the healthiest families ever that I’ve ever met and they’re
amazing and he will never understand my narrative and his answer to parts of my narrative is
like God is good all the time and I’ll pray for you and you know, God’s going to work
everything together for good and blah-blah and you know and I’m just like dude, that’s
like me walking into a hospital spurting blood everywhere and someone being like, “Gosh. You really could use a doctor, you know? It’s like, “Yeah! No shit.” like you know, when you speak
the obvious, something that our—someone already knows or you judge their reality like,
“You’re being so negative.” It’s like, “I’m not being negative; I’m
being real like I just am.” you know. I want to encourage you, Jess that you’re
not alone in that and then also in time… I swear this is true because I’m right there
with you… In time, the narrative that you feel the need
to share; it’s going to change. Allow yourself permission to add to or subtract
from the narrative you’ve shared. It doesn’t make it any less congruent. It doesn’t make it any less true. You’re just choosing what you share with some
people and what you don’t, whatever you feel authentic and good; sharing with this person
versus this person –it’s all your truth and what you choose to share is going to change
over time. So my narrative—I’ve been in a place where
you, where you’re describing and lately just sense this new way to EMDR like I don’t
know. It’s not that I’m more positive in my narrative;
I think it’s this that I choose to share less than I used to or something maybe. I don’t know but it definitely shifts over
time and I want to encourage you and anyone out there to allow your narrative to shift
over time; allow yourself permission to add to or subtract from your trauma narrative
as you’re transitioning into a healthier narrative or whatever it is that feels congruent with
you. As long as you don’t hold yourself to something,
“Well. I said this and I don’t want to unsay it because
then it seems like I was lying and this is my truth,” you know? It doesn’t have to be that way so if something
is shifting in you, I want to encourage all of us that the pain is just as real if we
talk about it a lot or if we don’t mention it. Your pain is just as real; what happens still
happens and we just end up choosing to share more or less at one time or another so I just
want you to know that that’s ok no matter what. John Harvey says… and by the way, Jess,
I hope that you’re here today and if you’re not, that’s totally cool but you know, let
me know if that answer is helpful for you or not… I really, I really want to know you guys if
my answers are helpful or not. So John Harvey says, “How do you stable
–stabilize yourself when your negative narrative is in control of you?” This is so hard so here you are and you’re
like trauma, trauma, trauma, trauma, trauma; this is my trauma, trauma, trauma; this is
my truth and it’s so traumatizing and it feels like you are sort of in a negative spiral
–this is that part where journaling really comes in key you guys and I’m going to lose
half of you right now because you’re going to roll your eyes; there’s going to be this
collective sigh when I mention journaling because everybody hates it that every practitioner
talks about journaling but it because something magical happens when you write down what happens
to you or you type it out or you do what I was sharing with you like you use the app
and you talk into it and you talk about what it is that happened to you and then you challenge
anything that you don’t want to be feeling anymore. I’m feeling this way because these things
happen and this is affecting me in the following ways and I feel this way and not only do I
feel this way but I feel this way, this way and this way, give it 3 layers like remember
Richard Grannon talking about emotional intelligence—emotional literacy rather and that’s important, giving
our feelings and our descriptors depths and then anything that you don’t want to be feeling
that is not a good feeling then let’s challenge it and let’s at least give it a voice, give
it the voice that it never had and we’ll challenge it and we’ll find ways to intentionally
shift our daily behavior so that we’re feeling that way less and it happens over a period
of time and your, your question is one that is; it really deserves almost like an entire
hour in itself because that’s why we’re doing a series on crafting our trauma narrative
and a healthy… trauma narrative versus a healthy narrative because over the course
of this series that we’re doing for several hours on the YouTube channel here –we’re
going to really be able to grasp and each person is going to be able to pluck the tools
that they like or, “Yeah. That was helpful; what she said about that
and I like that part; I didn’t really care for that –I tried that, it didn’t work for
me before but I do want to try these things and then, I’m going to try this and this
and I like what she said about drawing the line and then challenging those negative beliefs
and proving—disproving those, those, those negative beliefs that I have about myself. That’s actually very helpful and you know,
I’ve never tried talking into an app before; I’ve only tried journaling and I hate my hand
writings. I think, I’m going to download that app.”
and see what I’m saying like each person through the course of the series here on this channel;
they’re going to find what works for them in their recovery journey; they’re going to—they’re
going to approach it intentionally and hopefully passionately and chase after their health,
chase after their mental health because you guys deserve it. You guys deserve to be mentally and emotionally
well and the more we chase after our mental and emotional well-being the healthier we’re
going to feel more and our relationships are going to be healthier. So it was an excellent question John Harvey. Maya says, “I, Athena. How do you know when you’re ready to let go
of the trauma?” I don’t know that, I don’t know that I’ve
ever met anybody that’s ready to just let go of it, right? Like it’s something we move through and it’s
almost like it’s a fluid motion and I know Maya for instance, I know you’re an artist… So, for instance, the word you used, “How
do you know when you’re ready to let go of the trauma?” and so like if, if you’re working
on a piece of art like I’m not sure what your favorite medium is to use but let’s see you
used oils or acrylics and you know, you add to and you add to and you add to, right? Or you—you change or you pivot or you use,
you use different colors or maybe, you mixed media. I don’t think there’s ever a point in which
you’re just like you know; I don’t know that there is—that there’s ever a point when
you’re ready to just let go of it completely and there and I want to, I really want to
be clear when I say this Maya, ok? The reason why I’m saying I don’t think there’s
ever a time when we ever just let go because it’s who we are like deep, deep, deep down
it’s something that really did happen and so if we run from it in order to get away
from it then it will continue to show up but if we’re running towards it and we’re feeling
all of our feelings and we’re allowing ourselves to grieve; we’re allowing ourselves to think
about and feel, “I wish this was different.” and we allow our whole body to experience
what it feels like to wish something would have been different then I would say we don’t
live with our trauma full-time and that it’s not something that we spend a lot of time
thinking about or talking about but it sort of like always there. It’s kind of just like on the shelf maybe;
it’s, it’s not the main focus of our lives anymore; it’s sort of in the peripheral and
it’s something that used to be but no longer is but it’s definitely been acknowledged and
given a voice and it’s also something that has helped us to help other people and it’s
something we sort of draw from; this is a good example, Maya. I was extremely heartbroken and devastated
when my son left for the military; emptiness then took over my life. I didn’t know how people dealt with the fact
that their kids were gone and then to make—to make things worse; whenever I would leave
the house; every time I left my house to this day when I leave my house –I’ll go somewhere
whether it’s the gas station or to the market or to the drug store or like wherever, Starbucks
like anywhere and the first question people ask me is, “How’s Jordan? How is your son?” And it’s like I don’t really know how he’s
doing like I don’t see him; we talk like once a year and we text and we see each other when
we see each other and we keep up on social media and I’m just not an active part of his
life –he’s married. You know what I mean like I’m not that mom
that’s like you better text me; you better call me like what’s going on and like I try
to allow him to initiate the relationship with me. I’m getting to a point here, Maya; I swear
I am. So for a really long time –for about the
first 5 years, maybe even 5 and a half years after he left, it was hard for me; I would
really brace myself when I would leave the house and be like, “I hope nobody asked
me about my son like I don’t have any answers.” right? And over the past year and a half or so like
once I need piece with the fact that he’s married and everything’s good and I made
sure that his in my relationship are ok just like this past June, he came here and we scattered
my dad’s ashes and we had and we had a meeting and we got together and you know, it was hard. It was hard for quite some time for me. Hi, Honey. My husband’s getting home; he’s like trying
to sneak. I’m live right now; if you want to come say
hi, you can otherwise I’m just going to be working. So, so what I’m getting at my is like I’m
not ever going to be done with the whole like it was hard for me when my son left for the
military thing but it doesn’t control my thoughts and my emotions or my behaviors anymore because
I allowed myself to really feel it and process it and I actually brought it with me to EMDR. I actually talked with Sonia about it and
shared with her how painful it was and once, I reprocessed that memory and she actually
was like, “You know, wow! That was like; that would be painful for anyone.”
and just the way that it all sort of went down and how like any time I go anywhere it’s
like the first thing people ask me you know. So, I’ve never just sort of like let it go
but it doesn’t dominate my every thought or my actions anymore and I think it’s because
I gave it the attention and the voice that it deserved. And I’ve gotten to know you pretty well over
the years, Maya and I believe that I see you giving what happened in your life, the voice
that it deserves and it will no longer dominate your thoughts and your time and you don’t
have to like manufacture reasons to talk about your share because it’s already been validated;
it’s been given a voice; it’s been experienced; it’s been given the attention it deserves. I hope that makes sense, hope that makes sense;
let me know, Maya; if someone could tag, Maya. I don’t really know if that answer is helpful
but I hope it was. Lisa says, “I love the idea that we can
add to or subtract from our trauma narrative as it fits for us. Is it necessary to compile our complete trauma
narrative first?” Oh! This is a good question. Oh, you guys I have 6 minutes left so, there’s
a lot of questions. Oh my goodness! So, we’re going to have part three next week
but I’m going to continue to answer questions until we run out of time, ok? So Lisa… I know you asked your question like probably
an hour ago so if someone could let Lisa know I’m answering her question. So, it is not necessary for us to… so good
question by the way but like the thing about trauma is that there’s no timeline that’s
nice and pretty in linear. Trauma is not linear, right? And healing is not linear and so it’s not
necessary for us to have a linear picture of what we humans see as a full trauma history. So for instance, I’m going to use my hands
when I describe this Lisa. So this is—this is the best way that it
was taught to me when I was, when I was studying this. Ok, so for—for a survivor of childhood trauma
that had a period of their life that was traumatic like they were abused when they were 4 through
when they were 8 and then their grandfather passed away and they were no longer being
abused type of a thing. So their timeline would be like you know first
cognizant memory, you know and then, a couple fuzzy memories or whatever in between and
then perhaps like this is when I was 4th and I was 8 and these are the things that I think
happened and then, there’s like the rest of their like this relationship was toxic but
this one wasn’t and I had this job, etc., etc. so that’s easier to do like a linear
timeline because the trauma was singular or few but if for, if for instance like many
people in our community, trauma has been present from birth and they’re in their thirty’s forty’s
fifty’s sixty’s and 70’s, having a linear narrative is not helpful for you because your
trauma is complex in nature; it’s all over the place so what happens, what’s best is
if you were to get a piece of paper like a poster board or whatever, and you were to
do like soft bubbles or post it notes with different feelings or memories on them and
you write down on the post it note and you post it down there, different post it notes
and different colors and different areas and different whatever… make it, make a shape;
make a, you know –the red ones over here, the blue ones, yellow ones, the green ones,
the purple ones, the white ones, the whatever and these, these match different feelings
or however it is. Something that is more creative in nature
is going to help you access because the pressure of needing to have something linear will cause
you to freeze and then likely flee or depending on your trauma response type –you could
sit there for days and months and years trying to figure it out if you’re freeze, fawn or
if you’re, if you’re a fight flee—you could be like, “Screw this. I’m done with this stupid timeline.” and
then you’re like out of there or maybe you’re a fight fawn where you’re just like, “Screw
this. I hate this.” and you throw the markers
and the post it notes and everything across, the ruler to draw the timeline, throw it across
the room and then you’re like ok and then you obsess over it for like 6 months, you
what I mean, depending on your trauma response type. You could really be stucked if you are limiting
yourself to a linear narrative. So for any of us here on this channel, hello
CPTSD, complex trauma; getting the poster board and getting the post it notes or different
color pens or different shapes or whatever and allowing yourself some creative or even… I don’t know youguys if you’ve ever done
this before but it’s quite powerful so when you touch things that are moist with your
hands –there is a, there is an effect that happens that triggers childhood; something
about moist–it does something to our… I believe it’s our limbic system. Is it our limbic system or is it basal ganglia? I can’t remember; there’s a part of the
brain; there’s a part of our neurological makeup that causes us to revert back to younger
parts, younger thinking when we touch things that are moist. So if you have ever have the opportunity to
participate in like an art type workshop not necessarily by someone who’s an art therapist
or they have to be a professional like maybe, it’s something you just do yourself and you
get like the finger paints that you can get at the drugstore or like a poster board from
like the CVS or from Wal-Mart and you know, allow yourself to really feel the things that
you’re feeling—drop things, splash things, throw things whatever it is; mixed media. It can be very, very, very healing and allow
yourself to add to and subtract from whatever it is. That could be like your first draft of like,
“This is everything.” and then you could actually craft a written
trauma narrative or a spoken trauma narrative or something different after you get it all
out because the point is for us to give voice to that which was so that it doesn’t control
us any longer. So I hope that was helpful Lisa. Goodness! I hope all this is helpful you guys. I really love being here with you and I want
to answer all your questions. Let me see, there’s one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight, nine; oh my goodness. There’s a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot. Ok so I want to… you guys, were right at
time. I want to be respectful of your time. It’s been 90 minutes. I want to just say really quick thank you
to Jack and to Willow and to Joey… I’m trying, oh here we go … and to Hunter
and to Monica and to Deborah. Oh! You guys love Twitch. Yes! So, my son’s really cheering me on to do
that, you guys so I need to know if you guys are all abandon me if I go to Twitch… and
then say, I want to say thank you to Shannon and to Billy and to JW Suicide and to Lou,
pretty Lou and Billy and Keera and Angela and to Sarah and I just want to say thank
you to you guys. I’m going to answer your questions at the
beginning of the video next week after I do the public service announcements and set up
what it is that we’re talking about. So, I’m sorry if you’re upset that your question
didn’t get answered; we’re limited to time and I like to give everybody the attention
and the time that they deserve but that’s why we’re doing a series. So if your question wasn’t answered, no need
to, no need to get angry and thumbs down and be mean to everybody and be mean to me and
get me throw off YouTube again, good Lord but I will answer your question, it’s just
going to be next week. So I hope this is been helpful for you guys
and please let me know down in the comments if you are here on a replay what questions
you might have and you’re welcome to join us, Monday 6 PM Pacific, 9 PM Eastern for
live Q&A for our survivor community and I started a daily vlog channel just on like
healing from CPTSD and it’s just me –it’s just me talking about healing. Its vlog and it’s a new channel and it’s,
its, its YouTube.com/MostlyAthena. I got my vanity link today orYouTube.com/MostlyAthena. I think c stands for channel. So I got my vanity linked today and I got
the ability to record live if I want to go and that happened today because it’s been
30 days. So I don’t know when I’m going to start
but that it would be great if you subscribed to that channel. Thanks for thumbs uping this video and subscribing
to this channel. If it’s been helpful for you, please share
these videos even though they’re long but for with anyone you know that might be healing
from CPTSD or you think that they might enjoy being a part of a global community of other
people who are healing. So thank you so much and I’m honored that
you’ve spent some time here tonight and I really enjoy answering your questions and
I will indeed answer more of your questions next week on part three of trauma narrative
and healthy narrative right here on this YouTube channel so thanks so much you guys. I love you and I’m so grateful for all of
you and I look forward to seeing you next week. Bye.


  1. we missed ya, yes I love helping people I find it so weird that people have gone on to get married and have kids its so weird to me lol

  2. Thanks Athena, Talking and questioning core beliefs at around 45-50 minutes was so helpful for me. Thanks for helping me feel my feels.

  3. The past year has been the most challenging and physically stressful for me in this ‘recovery journey’ I’m on, but it’s also been the most transformative… I’m convinced it’s primarily due to sharing my experiences (via anonymous blogging, with a safe person, my art and drum roll… journaling!). I’ve only been able to learn about all the disfunction and sift through what exactly it was and why I am the way that I am after sharing the details of what happened. Blogging helped me work through a lot, and intentionally journaling (like you’re saying, asking questions and dissecting my core beliefs) didn’t feel like it was doing much in the moment, and I am exhausted. But I can actually SEE progress.

    I think that’s why it isn’t always a desirable thing to do, journaling, because it takes so much conscious effort. But we need to remember that it took years of daily abuse to ingrain these false, negative self-beliefs; it only stands to reason that it will take intentional, directed effort to replace them with the positive truth that we are lovable, good, worthy. And it’s not only worth it for us, it’s worth it for our relationships with others. I REFUSE to pass on that toxicity to my children.

  4. Athena, i would love to hear your thoughts about how to tell your trauma narrative when you have so many large gaps in your memory from dissociation. thank you 💜

  5. As someone new to your channel, I have gotten so much good information from you. But when I listened to this recording today I really connected with you on your thoughts on God and how you incorporate Him into your recovery. This is so real for me. I feel so blessed to have found you… yet another of His miracles. Thank you for your support!

  6. Completely honest sharing, I have had problems believing I am not being honest because there is no proof. So I must be a lying. Except there is proof, I'm not lying! Go to twitch!

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