What does “trauma informed” really mean?


Trauma does not mean “that shit that happened”.

Trauma means “wound”.

Trauma is the effect left within us.

The essential experience of that effect- “trauma” – is being left feeling disempowered and disconnected .

That’s the nature of wound.

Thorns in The Spirit
“Thorns in the Spirit” – that’s what William James called it.

It can lead to all kinds of shit. Which of course leads to more wounding, wounds woundedness.

Freezing the conversation in talking about events – those that either do or do not qualify as trauma – or,  more accurately, that qualify us for treatment-  is itself traumatizing. It freezes us in a state of disempowered and disconnected state.

Sometimes what happens – is happening to affect us that way is so subtle, pervasive, endemic that we forget or blind ourselves and each other to awareness that it affecting us that way.

We can’t do much about what happened.

We can stop telling lies.
We can stop telling people who are struggling to feel safe in the world that they have a disorder, illness, biological deficit

We can learn to accept and understand how what did happen and especially how left us feeling unsafe in this world.
We can understand how that leaves us experiencing this world as one in which it is difficult to feel safe. 

The essential experience of living with trauma is being left feeling disempowered and disconnected – and when we feel like that it is difficult to feel safe. 

We can heal.

It takes time but we can
It takes as long as it takes.
We can learn to heal the wounds- our own.
And we can learn to support others in healing theirs,
at their own pace.

Pushing Trauma
Pushing “trauma” – goading us into telling retelling what happened to us  is itself traumatising.

Pushing people to fix themselves without first addressing what they need to feel safe- whatever that is-  that really is not “help”.

If you’re seeking to support someone who’s struggling to feel safe in the world then one thing you can do is stop making it about you and stop making it about what you can do and how you can fix them.

Then, you can recognize your desire to fix them as a sign
– of the woundedness within you and of your own need for healing.

That’s what “trauma informed” really means.

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About recoverynetwork:Toronto

We believe people can and do recover from "mental illness" - because we are living it. We believe in the power of supporting each other: learning from and with each other. You are welcome to join us..
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