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Trauma is, among many things, a teacher. Through trauma, we learn many lessons about ourselves, the world, and our place in the world. Some of those lessons are positive. Trauma can show us our strength, even when we don’t feel strong and our endurance even when we feel like giving up. Trauma can bring people together and teach us how to have unparalleled empathy and compassion toward others. However, some trauma can also teach us lessons that aren’t true, lessons that are negative. These lessons tend to embed themselves deep within our neural networks, changing our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.

The best teachers makes their lessons fun and engaging, constructive and positive, memorable for all the right reasons. Many people have memories of teachers who were just plain terrible- teachers who were mean, cruel, humiliating, and punishing. Most often, it wasn’t the lessons in their lesson planner or textbooks which caused the biggest impact, but the lessons taught about the students themselves. When trauma is the latter kind of teacher, we pick up lessons about ourselves we feel as though we cannot forget. A shared experience in trauma among many trauma survivors is learning, at some point in their lives, that they are not loved. Worse, the trauma many people face teaches them that they are not lovable.

We have peculiar beliefs as humans about crime and punishment, along moral lines. Struggling with our lack of existential security, we look to sources outside of ourselves to provide rhyme and reason. Ultimately that adds up to a simple equation: bad people who do bad things are punished. Good people who do good things are rewarded. Trauma feels like and most certainly can be a very bad thing that happens to all kinds of people who behave in all kinds of way. By our simple formulaic understanding of why things happen, we learn that because trauma is bad and happens to us, we must be bad people. Moreover, any of the things we thought were good about us, including the things we do, must be bad as well. Overtime, these beliefs dictate our feelings of self-worth and self-esteem, culminating in the most harmful belief of all: I am not loved, because I am not lovable.

If you have experienced trauma, you may be living with a number of harmful lessons. Spending time in treatment is an opportunity to unlearn lessons that harm you and relearnt he lessons you need to help you recover. The Guest House Ocala offers residential treatment programs for trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800