Until my early adult years, I wasn’t aware that I’d experienced trauma. I went through life pushing through one day at a time, not fully acknowledging what was happening to me. Even when I’d finally owned the experiences, I continued to live in denial for quite some time. I was just “tough,” I thought. I had thick skin and walled-off emotions because that was just who I was. The misnomer that some people are affected by “bad things” and others aren’t had to be true. I was, of course, wrong.
There are many surviving mechanisms as well as numbing and medicating avenues to escape the cognitive memories of trauma; such mechanisms attempt to sever that cognitive memory from the feeling in the body. However, trauma is stored in our muscles and our joints much like memories stored in the brain. Only by releasing these stored emotions can a person move beyond trauma and heal. That’s where inner child work comes in.
Inner child work is a therapeutic modality that treats trauma stuck and stored in the body. By recreating a memory and then rescuing ourselves, repairing what has been hurt, and reparenting our inner child, we can create a different outcome for our stories. The once severed path from the head to the heart, the dissociation that occurs to avoid and numb pain, is reunited and healed.
We can embrace who we are, broken as we are, and look forward to who we are becoming.
It’s taken years for me to embrace my broken self and move beyond my trauma. Recovery for me has looked like reparenting my nervous system to undo the conditioning that I’d been accustomed to. Now, when I am triggered, I use tools to provide love, support, and boundaries for my inner child so she receives the message of comfort and safety.
Hands-on activities play a large role in this, and that’s why I’m teaming up with Jenn Radcliffe on April 15th to offer a workshop called “Embracing Your Broken Self.” In this workshop, participants will explore the core wounds that have caused them to abandon their inner child. We’ll use art specifically to begin repairing the relationship between us and ourselves.
Want to take part in this workshop that employs art to embrace your broken self? Register by April 7th. Follow the link below for more details and to register!