This Fall I am choosing to write about Trauma Informed Models and Theories and what I think we need to know to create a world where people can be fully self expressed, free and just.
I have learned so much in my own journey and hearing all your stories and witnessing your tears as I cry my own that I had to share the “New Conversation” I am bringing to the table!
- inappropriate, ineligible,shameful, unfit, beneath, blamable, degrading, dishonorable, good-for-nothing, not deserving, not good enough, not worth
Marginalized : to treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.to relegate to an unimportant or powerless position within a society or group, to put or keep (someone) in a powerless or unimportant position within a society or group, When you push people to the edge of society by not allowing them a place within it. Synonyms
Disadvantage : an unfavorable circumstance or condition that reduces the chances of success or effectiveness, something that causes difficulty : something that makes someone or something worse or less likely to succeed than others, a bad or undesirable quality or feature,an unfavorable, inferior, or prejudicial condition. Synonyms
WOW, no matter how you cut it the words that we use to identify ourselves or others continue to create violence. Someone who is disadvantage is also damaged, someone who is marginalized can be discounted and someone who is underserved is not good enough. And from this place we treat people, we serve people, we advocate, we organize, we “help”, we listen to people and we judge people. They become the other and we know what is best for them.
It is imperative for front liners to turn Trauma Informed on its head and look within if we truly are to create another world that is responsible, accountable, integrity, humanity and dignity for all.
I can manage my triggers so they do not paralyze me and I can show up accountable for the impact that I am having on others and be responsible for the world I say I want to live in.
Today, I can honestly say that I am complete with my past. That year long journey was about LOVE, self LOVE and Love of others. To get back to being as if when that which happened didn’t. To show up in acceptance, acknowledgement and forgiveness. To Love and Dream ANWAY! The most challenging yet liberating journey one could have!
What if I told you that there is a way to wake up everyday without worrying about the future or concerned about the past?
What if I told you that there is a way to get complete with your past such that it no longer paralyzes you instead you could manage it as it comes up moment to moment?
SELF LOVE IS ABOUT KEEPING YOUR WORD TO CREATE THE WORLD WHERE YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL RIGHT NOW!
- You are experts of your life.
- Your body has the ability to heal itself.
- You have experienced, survived or witnessed some form of trauma.
- You are whole perfect and complete. There is nothing to fix about you cause there is nothing wrong with you.
- None of us have integrity.
As such when I speak of Trauma Informed in front of a group, I bring to it 3 things that will counter what you think you know and what you are being taught about victim services.
- A twist where there is victim/survivor accountability and responsibility for the world we are creating towards a completion of our story.
- Deep conversation of internalized oppression providing clear practices and ways of being so that we can show up powerfully in our lives. Speaking to the “we have done everything so why is there no change, why is she/they still in that relationship or situation” a reoccurring dialogue that we have and drives our work.
- Contextualizes personal trauma within historical violence and the internalization of poverty, neglect, violence and oppression such that if they don’t exist we still have to manage our way of being, our listening of ourselves and others.
Trauma shapes identity in the form of internalized oppression. It shows up in our communication, in our body and impacts how we show up in relationships at home, movements and (work)organizations, in how we provide services and advocate for ourselves and others.
A. Internalized oppression shows up in communication. I call that “When Trauma Speaks”
B. Internalized Oppression shows up in the BODY. I call that “When the BODY Talks”
Trauma Informed Communication “When Trauma Speaks”
Trauma shapes our identity, what we think we deserve, what we think we are worth, what we request of others and ourselves, attachments and expectations that we have and the way we relate to the world and ourselves. It shapes our opinions and creates a listening that we apply to every conversation and situation in our lives.
Truama shows up not just in our physical body but also in language and how we communicate with people.
Listening is your ability to take an experience and create it as reality in the story you create. The story then becomes your reasons and justifications for who you are and why you do what you do or what you don’t do.
Trauma affects our ability to show up in relationship authentic and with integrity. The identity victim and survivor keep you powerless and imprisoned to your past. The story you create about yourself and the world becomes your already always listening conversation in which trauma has already had this conversation and knows how to respond no matter who the person is or how many years have passed.
Trauma takes a situation and creates it as an automatic recurring dialogue where we take an experience from the past and when we hear something we connect it with previous conversations, our memories, ideas, opinions, images, etc and then communicate from the place and not from the present moment dialogue.
In language trauma shows up as powerless language where one is always trying to survive a situation, fix something about or change themselves or others. In language that may look like constantly defending themselves, making you right or wrong, rationalizing everything, having a reason for why they do what they do or being righteous.
Trauma Informed Bodies “When the Body Talks”
Trauma shapes us , our bone structure, our muscles, our ability to move, wether we are hunched, standing erect or always looking down.
When I was on my year long journey. I didn’t know it at the time but I was home for 3 months with severe pain in my back, at first the doctors thought I had kidney stones, then they thought it was pelvic inflammatory disease. For two months they could not diagnose me. Later, I managed to get an MRI and what I had was a herniated disk. To doctors they had no real reason why that was happening to me at that time except that they found I had scoliosis, a curvature in my back that might be putting pressure on my spine.
While I could see what they were saying on the scans I knew there was more to it than that. I was asking myself why now? Why was this showing up in my life now? I was scared that I was never going to dance again. I went to a couple of somatic , spiritual workers and healers and what we gathered was that as I was completing with my past, my body was also going through its own metamorphoses. My body was reshaping itself, i know longer had to walk with my head down. I was training myself to be seen and heard from a place of power. My muscles could now stretch , my back can stand me upright so i can see myself. I was no longer afraid of where I had been or where I was going. I was like bring it on, I am ready to live and my body was shaping itself to mange and hold the new me.
Trauma threatens our sense of belonging, love, safety and connection. Our muscles hold memories that we don’t have language to, both personal and historical passed down through our blood. Trauma pain is passed down over generations into muscle memory. I heard someone say that our body is both a historian and a teacher. Our body is made to protect ourselves in a blink of an eye in one second when our sense of safety is threatened whether true or perceived your body will take flight, you will fight, you will flee and leave the scene literally or figuratively, your mind will save you from the experience and take you to the beach real quick or you will appease the situation, pulling out all your social work, healing tools, manipulations or survival skills to manage the situation . For survivors trauma often times remains hidden in the body until you are ready to feel it or look at it again however, it shapes the very essence of who your are, that is why there are things that you do and who you be that are inexplainable, that part of you that is like I know I should leave or eat healthy but there is a gap between what I know and what I am doing?
This is important to know because the person in front of you may be in one or all four responses at a time and you are trying to figure out why nothing you say or do works.
Trauma Informed Movements
Trauma in the movement and organization shows up as internalized oppression, a lack of integrity, responsibility or accountability. Examples of this are:
– not showing up on time
– I’m doing my part or all about me
– Talking from feelings and emotions
– Controlling, defending, protecting
– Not showing up as an ally
– Not wanting to collaborate
In the Organization
- Blame it on others actions-they didn’t do their job
- Blame it on authority – my boss told me or did not tell me
- Blame it on Institutional Policies and rules or lack there of
- Blames it on the group
- Blames it on Gender, Social roles, Age or everyone else Is doing it
- Uncontrollable impulses- I couldn’t help myself
- Diagnosis/Psychological History- I grew up
- Blame it on something else being a priority or using their story of trauma to be out of integrity
INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION SHOWS UP as a way of being and as something that we do. We show up as enraged IN ALL AREAS OF OUR LIVES and where it gets played out is IN OUR RELATIONSHIP, COMMUNITY, SCHOOL AND WORK!
So, yes Trauma informs everything we do and everything we be. Being Trauma Informed will take more than a model or another cookie cutter list of cultural practices and traits we should look after. Trauma Informed is a life long commitment and lived experience where one holds themselves accountable for how they have internalized oppression or are playing out power and privilege. A deep process of self awareness, evaluation and reflection about their embedded prejudices, stereotypes, discriminations and constant need for POC or the “others” to tell them what to do. A commitment to re-eduate themselves in the language of humanity.