Emotional distress is not always toxic, sometimes emotional neglect is due to inter- generational pain that is unhealed and waiting for a ‘sensitive’ in the family to be brave enough to speak out, face the trauma and heal the family pattern. Whatever the cause, Laura rightly says that; We need to start educating ourselves on how important childhood is. Nurturing and empathy are key. We need to help each other understand we can heal from toxic stress from our childhood.
As Laura says, this kind of trauma is little spoken about and needs some attention. Trauma changes our neurology, and the recovery journey needs an holistic approach. If we are to heal the world, we have a responsibility to heal ourselves – we can only do that if we have The Courage to Tell. Laura thankfully did, as she recounts here…
Finding God? is a chapter in my book My Courage to Tell. You see, I’m working backwards.
That sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, let me back up.
Since I was a child, I have been praying. I have always had a special connection to the Universe. I know I have many special “gifts”. I have been told by psychics for many years that I have healing hands.
I was taught since childhood that prayer will fix everything. I believed it. But, almost three years ago, I had something happen to me that I never thought would happen. My mother stopped talking to me. She turned her back on me and completely shut me out of her life. I was stonewalled. I was so hurt and betrayed, I sought help from a psychologist who specialized in toxic personalities and psychological abuse.
There is a saying: “Don’t judge me by the chapter you walked in on.” And it’s true. I am in my mid-fifties. My mother was my best friend. I trusted her.
You may ask “What happened? What could have possibly happened for a mother to stop speaking to her child?”
That’s why I wrote my book, My Courage to Tell. It is a long story, and it needed to be told.
I had been taught for many years, that I was not to talk about my childhood abuse. I was to not “make waves”. But I have learned that when you hold onto secrets, humans suffer mentally and physically. That may work for the people who are abusive, but that does not work for sensitive people like me.
My childhood was traumatic. I was shutting down at nine years old and hiding in my closet. I was extremely introverted and shy. I couldn’t make friends. I was having nightmares. I had a sibling who was mean-spirited. I had threats on my life. I witnessed animal abuse. I lived with constant intimidation and mind control. I was not protected by my parents. In fact, one parent laughed when I was bullied. It was not the best of childhoods.
I was brought up in a time where I heard “children are to be seen and not heard” and sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.
At nine, my piano teacher finally alerted my mother that she had better do something, or she would end up losing me. My mother listened. Thank God. Through the guidance of the teacher, she started to do what she could to try and catch my brother with his never-ending lies.
But my story did not end there. My awakening happened in my fifties when a semi-famous aunt passed away. It set off a series of events that lead to a diagnosis of Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.
—American Psychological Association, 2014
I talk about subjects that are often not talked about: psychological abuse and it’s harmful effects; physical abuse without the bruises and cuts; silent treatment; stonewalling; childhood emotional neglect; emotional abuse; Complex PTSD; Adverse Childhood Experiences; being ostracized from family; scapegoating; gaslighting and much more.
Psychological abuse definitely deserves some much-needed attention. Sexual and physical abuse have been receiving a lot of attention in recent years, which is extremely important. Now, it’s time to talk about psychological abuse.
No physical signs. Psychological abuse is hidden and very hard to recognize, however, it is every bit as damaging as physical and sexual abuse. The American Psychological Association (APA) revisited a study that was published in the Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy publication in 2014. The APA paper was titled: Unseen Wounds: The Contribution of Psychological Maltreatment to Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Risk Outcomes.
What the study confirmed was that children who experienced psychological maltreatment were dealing with the same, or perhaps even worse, mental health problems than those children that had experienced physical and sexual abuse. The study also found that children who experienced psychological abuse experienced post-traumatic stress disorder just as often as children experiencing other forms of maltreatment and abuse. The paper concluded that there was a need for greater attention to psychological maltreatment.
My book is now being recommended as a teaching tool for people to recognize the types of abuse and neglect that I have mentioned.
I believe it is time we put science and prayer together.
Prayer will not solve all our problems. It is very important to me. But time and prayer will not heal trauma; trauma changes our brain. If babies and children are exposed to toxic stress for a long period of time, their brain structure changes and it affects the person long-term.
What is going to help humankind, is if we humans start helping other humans. We need to start educating ourselves on how important childhood is. Nurturing and empathy are key. We need to help each other understand we can heal from toxic stress from our childhood.
The science of early brain development can inform investments in early childhood. These basic concepts, established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, help illustrate why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.
—Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
We rise by lifting others. I now bring awareness of what I’ve learned to help others feel that they are not alone.
My Courage to Tell, the revised edition, is now available. And I am a spiritual and life coach to those who have read my book need help in their healing journey.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Thank you Laura for being much – needed awareness to this subject ❤