In order to fundamentally deal with any ongoing physical or emotional issue, problem or trauma, we have to work across the three levels of body, mind and soul.
Without knowing the details of the childhood trauma, I can share some broad ideas that will hopefully help you get to grips with what happened, however traumatic it actually was.
Stage 1: The soul level
If your childhood traumas involved been betrayed, abused, severely neglected or hurt by your primary caregivers, probably the most important part of this stage is developing a spiritual framework, or perspective that will enable you to put your childhood trauma into a context that will enable you to heal from it as quickly as possible.
When we view our suffering as random or meaningless, then it can be very hard to bounce back from it, or to pick ourselves up from the floor and start over. What’s helped me with my issues is the understanding that whatever difficult things I went through (and I’ve gone through plenty…) they were all meaningful in some way, and they were all serving some useful purpose, and were designed to bring the best out in me, in some way, and to become a more refined, developed person.
Clearly, this doesn’t happen overnight, and it involves a great deal of hard inner work, and it’s also not a linear process. It involves many ups and downs, and requires a great deal of patience, acceptance (particularly of ourselves and our own frailties and weaknesses) and belief in a higher reality, and a ‘higher self’ to help us get through it all.
If God isn’t in the picture, in whatever what you’re most comfortable relating to God, then it’s very difficult to overcome the feelings of hate, vengeance, blame, shame and guilt that continue to pull us back into ‘victim’ mode, and prevent us from cutting free from the hardships we’ve suffered.
Even when God IS in the picture, it’s still not easy. Childhood traumas of all types – illnesses, poverty, abuse, war, divorce, whatever it is – leave deep, potentially permanent scars on our psyche. With God’s help, everything can be healed and turned around for the best. Without God’s help, I won’t say it’s impossible, but I personally can’t see how you can truly heal 100% from childhood trauma, and from the negative emotions and beliefs that accompany it.
Stage 2: Emotional / mind level
This is where a lot of people will tell you ‘therapy!’, and sometimes having a wise, caring friend, mentor or therapist to speak to really is very useful. But ‘therapy’ per se has its limits, and as so much of childhood trauma, particularly early childhood trauma, can occur before the intellect is fully developed, the ‘speaking cure’ as it’s known, has some big limitations (not to mention long time frames and often prohibitive costs.)
If you’re going to go down the therapy route, I’d suggest a behavioral therapy like CBT that deals with changing behaviours without going into years of ‘tell me about your mother’ stuff. Alternatively, you might want to try the logotherapy approach pioneered by Viktor Frankl, that focuses on finding meaning in life, as opposed to happiness (with the understanding that meaning leads to happiness.)
Other options you can explore are finding a mentor you can share things with, preferably someone who’s been through similar experiences and is out the other side of them now, and / or talking to God about stuff, if you feel you need to get something off your chest.
Next, I’d encourage you to explore energy psychology methods like EFT (tapping) the Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT), NAEM and others, which can often achieve very fast and effective results in undoing the physiological basis of the psychological and emotional traumas we’ve experienced in life.
Trauma often results in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which energy psychology is proving itself to be particularly effective at treating.
If you take a look at the following articles, they’ll explain more about PTSD, it’s symptoms, its causes and how to treat it:
What is PTSD?
You can find out more about tapping here:
And more about TAT here:
The TAT pose
I highly recommend the book the Promise of Energy Psychology, if you want to learn more about how to apply the techniques to your own healing.
I also highly recommend the book: Running on Empty by Jonice Webb, which does a great job of explaining the phenomenon of childhood emotional neglect – which can have a bigger negative impact on a person than clear-cut physical abuse.
Stage 3: The body level
Regular exercise is a crucial part of the recovery process, and has been proven to be the deciding factor in helping emotional illnesses like depression and even schizophrenia to ameliorate and disappear.
Ideally, aim for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week.
A good night’s sleep is also crucial for maintaining an even keel. Lack of sleep can often exacerbate an underlying emotional weakness or tendency, making it much harder to deal with.
Good nutrition is also vital, as childhood traumas of all stripes often leave people feeling very fatigued and wiped-out, and having a good diet can at least prevent physical exhaustion and lack of energy from exacerbating the problem.
Lastly, I’d suggest working on building a network of supportive, loving and generous relationships. Depending on the type of trauma you experienced, this is often easier said than done, because we can often get ‘programmed’ to cater to the needs of disturbed people as children (ie our parents and other family members) and then get stuck catering to the needs of other disturbed people when we grow up, who can seemingly spot us, and our frailties, from a mile off.
The following articles on my website could help give you some food for thought on the types of people to avoid, and how to build healthy relationship boundaries that will nurture you, and encourage your healing process.
The three rules of setting healthy boundaries
The seven types of negative people and how they're affecting your health
The last thing to tell you is that you definitely will heal with time, effort and a lot of self-love, acceptance and patience and by approaching the issue across all three levels as described above.