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Identifying with Our Trauma

When we are working to recover from our addictions and mental health issues, one of the things we must address is how we identify with our trauma. Many of us completely suppress our trauma. We refuse to admit that it has affected us in any way, or even that it happened at all. We haven’t developed healthy ways of expressing or processing our pain. We block out memories of our trauma. We avoid anything or anyone that might remind us of it. We are afraid of identifying with our trauma because we think that will mean we are weak, powerless over the bad things that have happened to us, or somehow inadequate. We want to stay as far removed from our trauma as possible. We mentally and emotionally distance ourselves from it, never learning the lessons it was meant to teach us. We use our drugs of choice not realizing that our dependence issues are often a manifestation of our relationship with our trauma. We use avoidance, denial, silence and secrecy as our default coping mechanisms.

While some of us refuse to identify with our trauma in any way, others of us may identify with it so much so that it becomes our main source of self-identification. We see ourselves as nothing more than trauma victims or survivors. We don’t see anything else redeeming about ourselves. We forget the complexities of who we are as individuals because they’ve been wiped out and replaced with our fixation on our trauma. We forget all the things we loved about ourselves and our lives, choosing, sometimes unconsciously, to focus on our trauma instead. We dwell on the past, we obsess about our problems, and we have a hard time thinking positively about the future or any solutions we might be able to come up with. We hold our pain so close to us that it defines us. We allow it to inform and direct our lives. It becomes a companion of sorts, how we mentally and emotionally comfort and nurture ourselves. Our pain becomes our refuge.

Both suppression and over-identification with our trauma can hurt us in the long run. We want to have a balanced, healthy relationship with our trauma. We want to be able to acknowledge its existence and learn from it. We want to be able to process it and work through it, without letting it define, derail or dictate our lives. We want to be able to identify with our trauma, and all the ways in which we’ve been impacted by it, without letting it overpower us and continue to hurt us. We want to be able to find healthy ways of healing, grieving, processing, releasing and moving forward.

At The Guest House Ocala, you will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.