I can handle this.
I’m tough as hell.
This is fine.
Everything is fine.
Everything is fine…until it’s very clearly not.
Sometimes it takes being drunk as fuck, blood running down your leg onto the floor from a few (intentional) missteps with a razor blade, hazily looking into the horrified eyes of your lover, to realize…everything is NOT fine. You are NOT fine. This…this is not fine. This is trauma taken over.
Empaths are trauma collectors. Not only do many of us have storied pasts filled with pain and abuse, but we also collect the trauma from others. Trauma seems to cozy itself right into the curves of our bodies and the cracks in our minds. We inherit it from our grandmothers, and their grandmothers before that. Our natural openness and compassion, plus the influence (or lack thereof) of boundaries, make us the perfect candidates to be energetic unloading zones.
We learn how to carry the trauma. We adjust to it. We become trauma management systems rather than trauma clearing systems. Usually, this way of living is learned very early on, and by the time we’re adults, we often don’t realize how much trauma we’re actually carrying.
...until you are so subconsciously loaded with trauma, that a simple trigger could initiate a terrifying domino effect in your psyche that carries you to an involuntary breaking point. And if you’re anything like me, your breaking point can become very dangerous very quickly.
You might be thinking, “How could this witch woman who comes off as so fierce and so strong ever reach a point of self-harm or insanity?”
And the truth is…none of us can be strong all the time.
None of us can have our shit together at all times. The times when I’ve been able to show up as a strong and fierce woman have been times when I’ve respected my mind and body and spirit, and respected where and when my trauma presented itself.
But when I keep pushing past traumatic or stressful events, when I keep telling myself that it will all pass as long as I keep going and hustling past it, the trauma slowly builds up in my system. And while in that forced strength mindset, I often find myself in situations or places that I know are triggering for me, but I think, Oh, I’m strong. I can handle this. This is fine.
But it’s not fine. It’s not fine to push ourselves past our limits of self-respect. It’s not fine to shove our trauma down, thinking that we’ll be able to pull it out in small pieces, intentionally, when we’re ready. Trauma doesn’t work that way.
If you disrespect your trauma, it will swallow you whole, I promise you that.
When I disrespect my trauma, it rises up with a vengeance. I fall into old programming that I was brainwashed with in a past abusive relationship, and it quickly leads me to make unsafe decisions. My manic depression roars and I find myself looking at the world through eyes that I no longer recognize as my own. I am filled with a frantic urge to leave this planet that I love. All because I couldn’t listen to my intuition, listen to my trauma, about what I needed.
It took reaching a terrible breaking point for me to hear what it was saying:
Process your recent experiences in a neutral environment.
Limit your information input and output.
Be in nature.
Let yourself grieve.
Let yourself breathe. Alone.
The less we listen to what our trauma needs to heal, the more likely we are to unintentionally re-traumatize ourselves, sending us into unhealthy and dangerous cycles of behavior and thought patterns. Our stubbornness to be fierce and powerful goddesses all the time can end up hurting us if we’re not taking the steps to stop and listen and heal.
It’s okay to avoid situations that you know are triggering for you. It’s okay to avoid places or people or activities that could potentially re-traumatize you. Forcing yourself into a stressful or traumatizing situation is not strength, it’s disrespect.
You don’t have to prove to yourself or anyone else what you can handle.
You don’t have to prove to yourself or anyone else that you’re an indestructible force of nature.
You don’t have to prove to yourself or anyone else that you are one tough bitch for ‘overcoming’ your trauma.
(I don’t believe that we ‘overcome’ our trauma. I don’t believe that we ‘triumph’ over our trauma. It exists for a reason, and I believe that we develop a relationship with it, and a loving understanding of it, and then it plays less and less of a role in our lives as a result.)
What you do have to prove, is that you can love and honor yourself, wherever you’re at.
What is your trauma saying?
I will be listening to my trauma and taking a little social media break. I need to get some space in nature and work on my book about living as an empath and how to navigate the empath’s shadow. I’m real excited to bring this into the world, both for myself, and for all of my empath readers and friends. I’m not sure of the exact timeline, as I’m not sure if I’ll be self-publishing or going through the process of finding a publisher, but I will definitely keep all of you in the loop. Thank you for sharing this space with me here.