Complex trauma has left a wound on me that I don’t know will ever heal. Or maybe it’s that there’s so much scar tissue I just need to get used to that “new normal” of who I’ve become.
Complex trauma is still a relatively new field of psychology. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder. (C-PTSD) results from enduring complex trauma.
Complex trauma is ongoing or repeated interpersonal trauma, where the victim is traumatized in captivity, and where there is no perceived way to escape. Ongoing child abuse is captivity abuse because the child cannot escape. Domestic violence is another example. Forced prostitution/sex trafficking is another.
In my particular case, I was a victim of childhood incest. It is the hardest thing to type that sentence, harder still to say it out loud. I want to delete the sentence and delete “it” from my history. Additionally, there was heavy-handed corporal punishment which by today’s standards would be considered physical abuse. There was definite emotional abuse and at times neglect. Continual domestic violence pervaded my childhood home. My home did not often feel like the safe place it should.
Later in adulthood, I was the victim of domestic violence within my two major long-terms relationships. I don’t know that I even recognized it happening as such it seemed so familiar. If that makes sense.
All of my life I have struggled with low self-esteem. Underneath my low self-esteem belies a darker feeling . There is this deep sense of shame I have carried since as long as I can remember.
Unlike ordinary shame, “internalized shame” lingers and changes our self-image. It’s shame that has become “toxic.
When a person is ruled by toxic shame it interferes with their ability to accept positive regard. For in childhood they internalized the belief of not being worthy of being loved or given any attention.
It dawned on me today as I couldn’t look into the mirror, that I just hate myself because I’m ashamed of me.
I wonder if this shame will ever leave. I’ve got a new shrink I’ve been seeing for about 9 months. I’ll call her Lee. One can’t help but feel disillusioned after 20 years in/out of therapy. I’ve ditched seeing Lee the past month. Made up some excuse or other. I mean everyone needs a mental health day from the mental health provider. Oh wait this can’t be treatment resistance this soon can it? I am feeling vulnerable because we are past the point of rapport building, and she’s a quick study. She sees through my best defense mechanisms, and is trying to dig deeper and I’m running like hell.
There’s no shame in investing in a sturdy paper bag to wear over my head to hide myself, right? Wearing bags are so much easier than facing your own demons. ‘Cause Lord knows I’m hoping for a loophole.