How Does Trauma Impact on Your Self Worth? Are You Punishing Yourself? ( Part 3 of ‘ Surviving In a Spiritual/Emotional Wilderness’)

What Does Trauma Look Like in Reality?

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Last week, in How the Trauma of Rejection Contributes to Life Falling Apart. Part 2 of my ‘How to Survive in A Spiritual Wilderness’ Series. I shared the devastating moment when the father of my unborn child rejected both her and I just a few weeks in to the pregnancy with the immortal lines:

‘Well that’s fucked everything up. I was about to tell you that I’ve been seeing somebody else and I want to marry her.”

 

Later followed by:man-talking-on-the-phone-1582238_1920

 

 

” I don’t want to know what it is or when it is born. I don’t want any photos.”

 

 

 

I briefly alluded to the terror that washed through me with these words, particularly the latter ones, as I realised that the total responsibility for my unborn child’s welfare lay on my  shoulders.

I was so stunned by his chilling potion of cold hearted rejection.

When we are impacted so profoundly on an internal level, how does it show itself in our external world?

A Most Defining Moment.

That avalanche of  terrifying rejection became one of the defining moments of my life.

Something in me changed forever but, of course, I wasn’t aware of that at the time. It has taken many years to realise the detrimental impact those few seconds of rejection were to have on my life.

At the moment of traumatic impact we become numb. Natures way of protecting us.  As, however, the numbness wears off,  excruciating pain kicks in and we become only too aware of the many shattered emotions flailing around within us.

Initially, I didn’t have time to worry about that. Like anyone suffering the impact of a traumatic experience, there often isn’t time in the immediate aftermath to deal with those emotions. Attention and energy is required to survive the incident relating to the trauma.

In my case, I had to place all of my attention in to preparing for the baby. There were practical matters to attend to. So that’s what I did. Focussed on the practical requirements for my child alongside ensuring that, even though she was still in my womb, she was receiving the most stable emotional and psychological start in life from me possible – no matter how wobbly I felt.

When Time Catches Up With You.

Yet there comes, of course, a time where it all catches up with us. The range of suppressed emotions lurking under the surface, dragging us silently down on the inside whilst we fight so hard to keep a brave face on the outside.  

 

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As I lay in my bed, following my breakdown, ( How To Survive in a Spiritual Wilderness When Life Has Fallen Apart. Part 1.),  the emotional and practical carnage that had been left in the wake of  the rejection by  my child’s father, I could see all too clearly what had happened.

Rejecting Myself.

In those few seconds that he’d triggered something in me which caused me to reject myself.

With any rejection comes shame. When shame washes over you so many other factors come in to play: loss of confidence, sense of failure, guilt, self blame and loathing. This is all compounded by a game of punishment we can play with ourselves, isolating ourselves from others which then leads to deep loneliness and then, of course, depression.

I became an expert at all of these things. Blaming myself. Punishing myself.

I forgot that I was still a living, breathing and functioning person with needs, wants and desires. That I had rights, tastes and preferences.

I was so cross with myself for ‘choosing’ such a spineless man to be the father of my child and for letting my child down in this way, that I had entered in to a pattern of self punishment and denial where I was not allowed to feel good about myself or my life in any way.

I’m jumping ahead of myself here a little as there is so much more to the story of my breakdown but it feels right to bring this in now because, if you are reading this because you are in the midst of a breakdown,  I want you to explore this self-loathing notion and to check that you aren’t doing this to yourself.  

Are You Punishing Yourself?

How much responsibility for the situation you find yourself in have you placed upon your own shoulders rather than sharing the responsibility with all the relevant parties?

Was there some moment/second where you subconsciously decided that you needed to be punished for these events taking place in your life?

Was there a moment when you, again, subconsciously decided that you had got something so wrong that you needed to be punished for it and the only person capable of truly punishing yourself well enough was – actually and ironically, yourself?

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We can do this to ourself in seconds. It only takes a second in time for a switch to be turned on inside us that changes the course of how we are with ourselves and others.

 

 

 

 

This took me a long time to work out and, to be honest, I’m still a ‘recovering self punisher’. I’m still on the journey of trying to believe that I am allowed nice things in life again.

It took my childs father probably no less than sixty seconds to utter those words to me yet 14 years on, I’m still recovering from the devastating impact I allowed them to have on my personal well-being and self-esteem.

Why?

Why had  I let myself take responsibility for the appalling actions of one man to penetrate so harshly in to my own psyche and well-being?

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Discovering the answer to that question was to lead me back many years.

To the summer of 1977 when I was just 12 years old. I’ll be sharing that story in a future blog. For now it’s enough to know that when we experience incidents in adulthood that affect us deeply and traumatically, it can sometimes be because we have not yet healed a terrible experience that was reaped upon us in our innocent youth.

 

 

 

 

 

But first, I need to tell you what happened next with my baby. About her birth. About what came next. I’ll be sharing that with you in my next blog.

Until then, wishing you peace,  self nourishing love and tranquility.

Karen xxx

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Karen is a #1 Best Selling Author & Spiritual Healer who runs on-line and live wilderness retreats for adults who are in the midst of their own spiritual wilderness so that that they can re-claim their joy and purpose in life.

She is currently writing the book: The Love Millionaire – Cultivating the Art of Inner Richness.

To find out more about Karen, visit: About Karen!

To work with Karen, visit: Work With Karen

To connect on Facebook, visit: https://www.facebook.com/thelovemillionaire/

To connect on Twitter, visit: https://twitter.com/karen_packwood

Email Karen at karenpackwood@gmail.com

© No part of this blog may be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

Karen would like to thank her daughter for giving permission to publish the story of her birth within this blog series.

 

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My Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How the Trauma of Rejection Contributes to Life Falling Apart. Part 2 of my ‘How to Survive in A Spiritual Wilderness’ Series.

Trauma:  ” … A deeply distressing or disturbing experience…”

Rejection: ” … the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc…. the action of spurning a person’s affections.”

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Trauma visits most of us at some point in life. Often, by it’s very nature, it arrives out of the blue, taking us unawares, leaving us rocked, shocked and quaking in it’s wake. The physical, emotional, psychological and often practical impact on us can be long lasting.

I’ve often pondered on the fact that some people seem to suffer more trauma than others.

Or, more truthfully, that my life seems to have experienced more trauma than others.

 In Part 1 of  my  How To Survive in a Spiritual Wilderness When Life Has Fallen Apart. Part 1. , I briefly outlined the time following my breakdown, specifically the immediate aftermath of waking up one evening and discovering that something within me had broken so irresolutely that I was scared to breath for fear that the fragility within would bring me to a final, deathly breakage. 

Questions. Questions.

It’s now several years since that fateful night yet I’ve never forgotten how, once I began my slow crawl to recovery, there were two questions that kept turning over in my mind:

 Why had this happened to me?

How was I ever going to recover?

I found myself focussing, inevitably, on the first question:

Why had this happened to me?

 What a journey that questioning was to lead me on.

 A Journey Into The Caves of the Past.

A journey in to the caves of my past where all my hidden hurts and sorrows, losses and grief were hidden.  A journey back in time, uprooting pretty much every pain I had gathered along the way. A journey in to the depths and breadths of my core wounds.     

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 Is, however, it right to drag up the past?

Many people might wonder if that was the right thing to do. When life was already in such a difficult place, why drag up pain from the past? Wouldn’t that be detrimental, keeping me stuck in a state of un-wellness, prolonging my journey back to wellness?

 I’m sure others might feel that to be true and there does come a time to release the past and welcome in the future but, at that point, for me, it was the only way. I had to try and make sense of all that had happened to bring my life crashing down.  My healing instinct left me in know doubt: 

the past was the road to the future.      

   

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 Although this journey was to eventually take me back many years to when I was just a tiny child, it was to the life of another child that my journey initially led me. A more recent traumatising event. An event that had taken place just three years before my breakdown.

To the birth of my own child.

Motherhood.

 September 2002.

 

The clear blue line gently came to life, resting strongly in parallel synchronicity with the model line to it’s left.

 

Positive.

 

Pregnant.

 

A new life growing inside me.

 

I’d just left the security of my teaching job and opened a restaurant, working long days often finishing in the early hours of the morning. I’d also just relocated from the South of England to the Midlands, buying a new home in a small and isolated rural village, leaving behind friends and community. Ready to begin afresh.

My life was on the cusp of so many new uncertainties that had felt, at the time of the change to be big adventures yet now here was the biggest cusp of all.

 Motherhood.

 I instantly loved this unborn child with every fibre of my being. I had no doubt:

 This child coming to life was heaven sent, my soul purpose in life, my reason for living.

 Knowing what I now know of what was to come, it was good that I felt so strong and positive.

 The Father Receives the News.

I spent a few days taking in the news in my own personal way, quietly sitting by myself. Not speaking, just being and feeling. Connecting with my child. I wanted this sacred time with my child before bringing the news of my pregnancy out in to the world. I had no idea how anyone would react, most of all the child’s father whom I’d only been dating for just a short while.

 One afternoon a few days later, sitting on the floor of my dining room with a shaft of bright afternoon sun streaming on to the floor in front of me, I called him.

man-talking-on-the-phone-1582238_1920 He answered in a nonchalant manner. It was hard to know what to say, so I thought it best just to get on with it:

 “ I have something to tell you.” Deep breath.  “I’m pregnant.”

 Without a pause, he replied:

 

“ Well, that’s fucked everything up. I was going to tell you that I’ve been seeing someone else and I want to marry her.”

 

I hadn’t really known what to expect but, as you can imagine, I wasn’t expecting exactly that as a response.

 

Numb with shock, I don’t remember too much about the ensuing conversation. It was clear that he wasn’t interested in becoming a father. He decided to take some time to explore what kind of a role he wanted to play in the child’s life agreeing to ” … get back to me …”  

Terror 

Needless to say, he didn’t ‘get back to me’. Several weeks later, I called him again where, once more, he made it clear that he wanted nothing further to do with me or his child:

 “ I don’t want to know when it’s born or what it is. I don’t want any photos. I don’t want to know anything.”

 

I held the receiver to my ear taking in this rejection, my hand placed protectively over

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 my stomach shielding my child’s ears from these harsh words from it’s cruel father, aware of only one sensation:

 

Terror.

 

The overwhelming awareness that I was now solely responsible for this precious unborn child growing within me.

 

No words will ever describe the awareness that such a responsibility brings with it.

 

But there was something else too.

Resolve 

Washed in with this terror was a resoluteness, a silent promise to my child:

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 I will never let you down. I will do everything in my power to bring you in to this world safely and to provide you with everything you need. You will never go without and that includes sufficient love. I will love you with the love of a mother and a father. I will never allow you to feel anything other than what you are:

the most precious gift to this world and the most precious gift to my life.

 

 

Little did I know, however,that my life was about to spiral further out of control. Little did I know that in a just a few short months, three months too early in fact, my child was about to make an early and traumatic arrival in to this world.

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 Whilst I kept my promise about love, I was soon to learn, as I’ll share with you in my next blog, that a fragile young premature baby needs a whole lot more than love. 

And so does her mother.

 Sending You All My Love, 

Karen

xxx

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Karen is a #1 Best Selling Author & Spiritual Healer who runs on-line and live wilderness retreats for adults who are in the midst of their own spiritual wilderness so that that they can re-claim their joy and purpose in life.

She is currently writing the book: The Love Millionaire – Cultivating the Art of Inner Richness.

To find out more about Karen, visit: About Karen!

To work with Karen, visit: Work With Karen

To connect on Facebook, visit: https://www.facebook.com/thelovemillionaire/

To connect on Twitter, visit: https://twitter.com/karen_packwood

Email Karen at karenpackwood@gmail.com

© No part of this blog may be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

Karen would like to thank her daughter for giving permission to publish the story of her birth within this blog series.

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My Life.