CPTSD, Fear and Intergenerational Trauma: Coming Out of Hiding and Learning to Trust Myself
Updated: Oct 22
I realized the other day that I lie to my therapist when we do a phone session. Well, not lie. But hide. Since COVID, we’ve been meeting via FaceTime. Then I switched to a phone session over the last two weeks. Conveniently, it was so I could drive while talking. Always the easiest way for me to converse over the phone. If I’m not face-to-face while talking, then I’m walking while talking or driving while talking — something always has to be moving. But when my therapist and I had a FaceTime call this week, when I could no longer hide behind the phone, I sat still. And my emotions found me. And I was able to acknowledge my fears. Something I didn’t know I hadn’t been doing.
It’s curious why the phone entices me to hide. Perhaps it’s because I’m not in view, making it easier. Perhaps it’s because, at the times in my life I talked to people on the phone besides my therapist, all I was doing was hiding. Even from myself. But it’s even more curious why I was hiding to begin with. The why is always more interesting. Always more telling.
My husband and I are getting closer to wanting to try to have a baby. And it wasn’t until my face-to-face therapy session that I realized how afraid I am. I’m afraid of not having control over my body. Like when I dissociated for over 23 years. I’m afraid of not being healthy enough to carry a baby. Of miscarrying. Of having to deal with more pain.
But mostly, I’m afraid of repeating the trauma cycles that lay in my bones. In my DNA. The same trauma cycles my ancestors had to ride out too. The karma of our lineage. I’m afraid of repeating the same patterns. Of doing the same damage. Of diminishing our child’s sense of safety in himself and in the world around him.
Then, the night after I shared my fears with my therapist via FaceTime, I had a dream of our baby. I held him and saw his face. He was beautiful. I knew when he needed to sleep. I understood both his needs and my own. He snuggled into me and I held him as he fell asleep, curled up into a ball on my chest. Just like he had been the womb.
In my dream, family members were surrounding me, all telling me what to do. But I didn’t need to follow their advice. I knew what to do. I trusted the communication between our baby and myself. Even in the beginning when communication goes unspoken.
And it made me realize, I don’t have to feel fearful of having a child anymore. I can trust myself. I can trust my body and my intuition. I can trust I’ll be a good mom. And I know I’ll do the best I can for my child. Just as I know my parents did the best they could for me.
Because when we suffer trauma starting at a young age, we don't learn how to trust ourselves. So we have to do it as adults. Which can feel impossible. So we hide. And we accept things we aren’t happy with. And we feel lonely and misunderstood. Empty. Anxious. Depressed.
But as soon as we stop hiding — as soon as we face our pain and acknowledge our fears — we learn to begin to accept them. Because only then can we let them go. Free up our minds, bodies and souls for the beautiful, magical things in life. And have complete trust within ourselves.
Photo by Luis Aquino from Pexels