The Effects of Trauma & Steps For Breakthrough
Dissociation and Isolation
Feeling as if the world around you is surreal and that you are here but in many ways absent and detached. You may have been feeling like this for days, months or even years.
Sometimes you may have gaps in your memory and feel disconnected from your emotions and not be able to express them, causing you to withdraw and feel isolated and lonely. You may feel like you are not really yourself and taking on a different identity. These are all often ways of coping with past or present traumatic events.
Being misunderstood - after all who will understand anyway?
You may not be able to convey feelings/emotions and probably your experience has been that people have not been able to empathize with deep-seated trauma. It may have taken every ounce of courage within you to try and tell someone your pain, only to find that it was dismissed with phrases like ‘get over it, it was such a long time ago’ or ‘just be positive about life’.
Abuse can make you feel as if you have been spoiled, contaminated, and tampered with, like a treasure chest that has just been emptied – it’s robbery in kind and like your own internal prison.
Flashbacks and triggers
A place, smell, sound, or person can trigger paralyzing painful memories and feelings of utter despair. You might feel like you are reliving all of what was done to you or what you have been through.
Shame and guilt
‘I am dirty and disgusting’, ‘What will people think of me?’, ‘I should have stopped it’, ‘I could have done better’ These thoughts can be very hard to deal with as we all have some level of self-worth that gets violated when abuse/trauma strikes.
Quite often sinful acts of abuse are carried out by those we trust, the familiar people in our lives that come with a smile and words of love and comfort, only to find in an instant they are a person we no longer recognise; sin has overtaken them and any type of relational connection means nothing.
Just not good enough
‘Who is going to want me?’, ‘I have nothing to show for my life’, ‘I could have done better’, ‘I’ll never amount to anything’. These are just a few of the thoughts you may be having because trauma and abuse can leave you empty with thoughts that you really have nothing to offer anyone.
Abuse can create a tainted view of love and people often do not know how to receive love, as trauma and abuse oversteps the bounds of what we consider to be true love. We all long for acceptance and love thinking that in some way that will mend the emotional and physical scars that we carry.
Difficulty in maintaining relationships
Your confidence may have been broken - trust and security departs and leaves you feeling fragile and vulnerable.
Loss of joy
Have you been putting on a brave face? It can be wearisome putting on a smile for the world around you, but inside there is a huge cavern of sorrow and sadness.
Oftentimes, nightmares/night terrors may be commonplace after all that you’ve been through. They can be distressing and leave you feeling unable to function normally as you are not getting peaceful sleep.
INTIAL STEPS FOR BREAKTHROUGH
You may resonate with some or all these things (and countless more that are not listed above) – how can you move from brokenness to healing for each and every trauma?
Jesus Christ is the healer and deliverer
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
As the verse above so beautifully conveys, the Lord wants to give you a life beyond your broken experiences. He is one that can be trusted with your very life, a friend that sticks closer than a brother and one that rescues and keeps on rescuing.
Here are some keys for your journey to freedom and a new life:
TRUTH vs LIES
Pontius Pilate in his discourse with Jesus before His crucifixion, asked ‘What is truth?’ (John 18:38), not realising that truth was standing right in from of Him! Can you imagine that!
Knowing, believing, and accepting that Jesus Himself is truth and died to set you free, is a fundamental key and the foundation upon which your journey to freedom begins.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
All our lives we are subjected to many voices – think about it, in a day how many do you hear; well-meaning friends, family, co-workers, your boss, spouse etc., and then there’s that internal narrative in your heart and mind that is ever present and has a strong influence over your emotions, thoughts and actions. However, which of these voices speak truth?
Jesus said ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’ (John 10:27)
If someone was to tell you every day you had purple skin with orange spots, I am sure your reply would vehemently be ‘No I don’t!’. In the same way refuse to accept the lies that do not line up with what the Lord says about you.
- Knowing truth from lies is your ‘get out of jail free card’
- Choose to believe and stand on the word of God and not the lies the devil will have
you believe about yourself and your future – do not to be deceived
- The Bible is truth and full of exceedingly great and precious promises for your life;
connecting to that truth is where healing begins
- Read the word slowly, magnify it, visualise what it means and use it to frame your
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
One of the most beautiful truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is that if you have trusted Him as Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of you – you are no longer alone.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13
So, all those feelings of dissociation and isolation start to be broken down as you embrace this reality. It is not an overnight process, but as you journey with the Lord you begin to know the comfort and ever presence of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps try this as a visual - you are no longer adrift in a small boat on a rough open ocean where no one can reach you, but on still waters on a beautiful summer’s day accompanied by the safest, loving companion, the God of all the earth.
HE KNOWS YOU AND SEES YOU
For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. Psalm 139:4
Take comfort in knowing that all the inexpressible things locked up inside you, He knows already. Like sitting in a room with someone you love deeply - you just know that they know your heart, no words need to be uttered.
Let’s pause and consider Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. A woman rejected and misunderstood by society, He interrupted her world in the most loving and powerful way and voiced all the things she simply could not say herself.
Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ? John 4:29
If silence has been your friend up to now, know that is safe to voice all your deepest pain to the Lord, He longs to hear what’s on your heart.
Expression is like a ticket to freedom because through it, the light of Christ comes flooding in and dispels the darkness, much like an express train emerging out of a dark tunnel into the light of open-air tracks.
If at first the words don’t come easily, try writing them down. He will make sense of them and speak tenderly to you.
A NEW IDENTITY
We all tend to have wrong/distorted perceptions of ourselves and even more if we have experienced traumatic events, like looking in a fairground mirror!
Up to now, you may have taken on any identity that was given to you, been what everyone else wanted you to be, always conforming to someone else’s will or demands. Here are some identities that may sound familiar – damaged, abused, unclean, worthless, useless, rejected and the like.
Now ponder on this for a moment - imagine a skilled painter with a pure white blank canvas with an array of paint colours and brush of every kind at his disposal ready to create his finest work of art. He gets to work and creates a piece that he is proud of.
Now see yourself as that blank canvas, no false identities, nothing superimposed, no marks or blemishes. The Lord gets to work creating His masterpiece and gives you a new identity.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Look in the mirror that you have been afraid to look at and look beyond what you have seen up to now. He will give you vision to see what He sees – beauty!
Remember you are reclaiming your TRUE identity – the one the devil stole through all that you have been through.
You may be saying what do I do with all the horrible memories and flashbacks that rush in disturbing my days and nights like intruders?
Replace the image!
For ‘who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16
As you cultivate dwelling on the word and knowing you have the mind of Christ, those memories and images become less frequent and NEW and EXCITING memories are created.
It’s like divine/heavenly deposits in your memory bank! Glory to God.
Jesus in the most perfect expression of love came to your rescue by defeating all the works of the devil at the cross. Every trauma and the effects of it were dealt with right there in the single most powerful event in history.
The deepest need at the core of each person is love. If you have never known love, take a moment to reflect on the cross – there love for you is personified.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. I John 4:18
Let go, allow yourself to be loved by the Saviour – it is safe there.
A NEW FAMILY/RELATIONSHIPS
For some, being in a family and the word ‘belong’ may conjure up feelings of sheer despair, maybe through words spoken by a controlling person who claimed rights over you and held you hostage physically and emotionally.
But there is good news, belonging in Christ is liberty.
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. Isaiah 43:1
having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will Ephesians 1:5
You are adopted into a family with Christ at the centre. Know that you are no longer a fragment, a spare wheel, the one left standing alone at a party – you are needed, have purpose, set apart for the master that is Jesus Christ.
It is said that it takes fewer facial muscles to smile than it does to frown!
An exercise for you - take an image that brings you joy, or a Bible verse that speaks to your heart, ponder on it and smile. You’ll find the image or verse opens up and you’ll start to see the glory of the Lord in it.
You may have found this difficult at the moment but know that the Lord has a future for you full of true smiles, not the ones that you may have very bravely created for the world to see.
That genuine smile comes from a place of eternal security in Him, secure in the knowledge that you are a conqueror, because He says you are!
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. I John 4:4
… Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
A well-known contemporary worship song begins this way..
Are you past the point of weary
Is your burden weighing heavy
Is it all too much to carry
Let me tell you ‘bout my Jesus
Come to Jesus, He alone will give you the rest that you have been seeking. Allow Him to take the weight you have been carrying all this time.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
Quite often the hardest part to healing and wholeness is making that first step. Seek counsel from the Lord. Please feel free to get in touch in confidence. Contact us