The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse

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This, in turn, creates an antagonistic relationship with our own bodies. If you have a comfortable connection with your inner sensations — if you can trust them to give you accurate information — you will feel in charge of your body, your feelings, and your self. However, traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside.

They learn to hide from their selves. The more people try to push away and ignore internal warning signs, the more likely they are to take over and leave them bewildered, confused, and ashamed. People who cannot comfortably notice what is going on inside become vulnerable to respond to any sensory shift either by shutting down or by going into a panic — they develop a fear of fear itself.

The experience of fear derives from primitive responses to threat where escape is thwarted in some way. Without it you have to rely on external regulation — from medication, drugs like alcohol, constant reassurance, or compulsive compliance with the wishes of others. Because traumatized people often have trouble sensing what is going on in their bodies, they lack a nuanced response to frustration. This failure to be in touch with their bodies contributes to their well-documented lack of self-protection and high rates of revictimization and also to their remarkable difficulties feeling pleasure, sensuality, and having a sense of meaning.

One step further down on the ladder to self-oblivion is depersonalization — losing your sense of yourself. What, then, can we do to regain agency in our very selves? Pointing to decades of research with trauma survivors, Van der Kolk argues that it begins with befriending our bodies and their sensory interiority:. Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. Being frightened means that you live in a body that is always on guard. Angry people live in angry bodies.

The bodies of child-abuse victims are tense and defensive until they find a way to relax and feel safe. In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them.

Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past. The most natural way for human beings to calm themselves when they are upset is by clinging to another person.

95 Rumi Quotes on Life, Love and Strength That Will Inspire You

This means that patients who have been physically or sexually violated face a dilemma: They desperately crave touch while simultaneously being terrified of body contact. The mind needs to be reeducated to feel physical sensations, and the body needs to be helped to tolerate and enjoy the comforts of touch.

Individuals who lack emotional awareness are able, with practice, to connect their physical sensations to psychological events. Then they can slowly reconnect with themselves. How we respond to trauma, Van der Kolk asserts, is to a large extent conditioned by our formative relationships with our caretakers, whose task is to help us establish a secure base. Attunement is the foundation of secure attachment, which is in turn the scaffolding of psychoemotional health later in life.

A secure attachment combined with the cultivation of competency builds an internal locus of control , the key factor in healthy coping throughout life. Securely attached children learn what makes them feel good; they discover what makes them and others feel bad, and they acquire a sense of agency: that their actions can change how they feel and how others respond.

Securely attached kids learn the difference between situations they can control and situations where they need help. They learn that they can play an active role when faced with difficult situations. In contrast, children with histories of abuse and neglect learn that their terror, pleading, and crying do not register with their caregiver.

Nothing they can do or say stops the beating or brings attention and help. Children who lack physical attunement are vulnerable to shutting down the direct feedback from their bodies, the seat of pleasure, purpose, and direction.

Abuse Poems

The need for attachment never lessens. Most human beings simply cannot tolerate being disengaged from others for any length of time. People who cannot connect through work, friendships, or family usually find other ways of bonding, as through illnesses, lawsuits, or family feuds. Anything is preferable to that godforsaken sense of irrelevance and alienation. But what are those of us unblessed with secure attachment to do? Pointing to his mindfulness-based work with trauma survivors, Van der Kolk offers an assuring direction:. But what can be dealt with are the imprints of the trauma on body, mind, and soul: the crushing sensations in your chest that you may label as anxiety or depression; the fear of losing control; always being on alert for danger or rejection; the self-loathing; the nightmares and flashbacks; the fog that keeps you from staying on task and from engaging fully in what you are doing; being unable to fully open your heart to another human being.

The path to recovery is therefore paved with the active rebuilding of that sense.

The Science of How Our Minds and Our Bodies Converge in the Healing of Trauma | Brain Pickings

The challenge of recovery is to reestablish ownership of your body and your mind — of your self. This means feeling free to know what you know and to feel what you feel without becoming overwhelmed, enraged, ashamed, or collapsed. For most people this involves 1 finding a way to become calm and focused, 2 learning to maintain that calm in response to images, thoughts, sounds, or physical sensations that remind you of the past, 3 finding a way to be fully alive in the present and engaged with the people around you, 4 not having to keep secrets from yourself, including secrets about the ways that you have managed to survive.

One of the paradoxical necessities of the recovery process is the need to revisit the trauma without becoming so overwhelmed by sensations as to be retraumatized. The way to accomplish this, Van der Kolk argues, is by learning to be present with these overwhelming emotions and their sensorial counterparts in the body. Traumatized people live with seemingly unbearable sensations: They feel heartbroken and suffer from intolerable sensations in the pit of their stomach or tightness in their chest.


Yet avoiding feeling these sensations in our bodies increases our vulnerability to being overwhelmed by them. Traumatized people are often afraid of feeling. It is not so much the perpetrators who, hopefully, are no longer around to hurt them but their own physical sensations that now are the enemy. Apprehension about being hijacked by uncomfortable sensations keeps the body frozen and the mind shut.

Even though the trauma is a thing of the past, the emotional brain keeps generating sensations that make the sufferer feel scared and helpless. Another paradox of healing is that although contact and connection are often terrifying to the traumatized, social support and a sense of community are the foundation upon which a health relationship with our own feelings and sensations is built. All of us, but especially children, need … confidence that others will know, affirm, and cherish us. Children and adults will do anything for people they trust and whose opinion they value.

But if we feel abandoned, worthless, or invisible, nothing seems to matter. Fear destroys curiosity and playfulness. In order to have a healthy society we must raise children who can safely play and learn. There can be no growth without curiosity and no adaptability without being able to explore, through trial and error, who you are and what matters to you. The pathways, both practical and psychological, to doing that is what Van der Kolk goes on to explore in the remainder of the revelatory, redemptive, and immensely helpful The Body Keeps the Score.

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Privacy policy. Art by Simona Ciraolo from Hug Me Trauma, Van der Kolk notes, affects not only those who have suffered it but also those who surround them and, especially, those who love them. He writes: One does not have be a combat soldier, or visit a refugee camp in Syria or the Congo to encounter trauma. Van der Kolk writes: Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.

Art by Wolf Erlbruch from Duck, Death and the Tulip Paradoxically, what normalizes and repairs our ability to read danger and safety correctly is human connection. Van der Kolk writes: Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. Hush, little sister Please don't cry I wish I could be there To sing you a lullaby. I've also been abused when I was little not only me, but my little brother and sister as well.

This reminded me so much but instead of being abused by my dad I was abused by my stepmother who The frigerator is full of beer, And the couch is full of crumbs. I go to bed and in my head, I just know he's going to come.

I used to be my brother's doll. It was just a game to him. He hurt me and would say he loved me. I covered for him for years, both because I didn't want to remember and because I knew no one Late on the dishes, food still on the plate. Mommy is mad; Daddy's home late. I'm in the corner crying all alone, Wishing to myself get me out of this home. My whole life, my father abused me. For as long as I can remember, he'd hit me, touch me, and say terrible things to me. I always thought I was alone. I felt like no one felt my pain. I felt From the Depths of despair when my world fell apart I felt all alone and heavy in heart My life had been shattered by a tight fisted hand who could I turn to, Who'd understand?

I can't leave. I have no one. He loves me. Suck it up. These are the things I would tell myself. I used to have so much confidence, so much go. I met him and it was instant love. The first Tears, tears go away. Why must you come back almost every day? You remind me of my pain. You remind me of my past.

Sierra DeMulder - "After Googling Affirmations for Abuse Survivors"

You're definitely not alone in your suffering. Like you, I was abused by my stepfather and an uncle and have struggled daily to deal with the pain. I was in the third grade when mine started

The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse
The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse
The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse
The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse
The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse The Human Heart Made Whole: Inspirational Poems of Healing from Abuse

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