Survivor Lessons: 10 things I learned about the way trauma impacted me in 2014!


When little girls go through trauma and one of them is being abandoned by their mothers and end up being raised by other people, relatives, foster care, kinship or adoption for a minute or a lifetime, they grow up to  be powerful adult women always looking for their mom  in every stage of  relationship they have with themselves and with other people, especially other women. 

I live my life in retrospect these days.  Connecting the dots of how I got to be who I am? I look back to see how trauma has shaped me and impacted how I create my life , how I show up in my personal relationships with other women, who I be in collectives, as a mother and in sisterhood. These are 10 things I learned about myself as trauma showed up in 2014. 

10. When I feel like I don’t have choice in any area of my life no matter where I am at I instantly go back to my mother giving me up. I get angry cause over the years I have had to reconcile it by saying the I am a gift to the world and the person who adopted me, when I am really frustrated that I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

9. I get triggered when the people that adopt little girls tell them you are lucky or priviledged that your mom gave you up cause let at all you have. You would have had a harder life if you would have stayed with her, it was for the best. And while I have had to tell myself that many times to get through and I know it doesn’t come with bad intentions when people say it, the reality is that I didn’t have a choice and if I could do it differently I would have given up privilege or being a gift to be with my mom today.  The cost of not being with her was too high.

8. I realized that there are some things I and who ever my partners have been and will be that we will always be managing, sometimes better than others,  and that is my internal war of
a. love me but do not love me too much cause i won’t know what to do if you leave.
b. see me but don’t really see me cause if you do and you don’t like me then what am I suppose to do?

I ended the year in the middle of witnessing abuse and unhealthy behavior among women who love women that are very close to me. This is what I learned about myself in the process…

7. They are me and I am them.  In my own relationships, I realized that when I date a women who has gone through trauma of any form and gotten out of an abusive relationship, I think I am dating the powerful women who left but I realize that if that trauma is incomplete then i am dating the women who stayed in the abuse all those years and the little girl who is incomplete and still in search. As a result I will be dealing with the impact of that, making me a casualty of war. Hurt people, hurt people and I always get hurt if I don’t give time for healing cause my own trauma is that I want you to love me no matter what you have gone through. .

6.  As a casualty of her internal war, I end up feeling like I am not seen or heard and my own issues of not being enough come up. I end up resentful and disappointed cause if she is not complete  she will eventually leave me to go back or she will be so caught up in her healing that she will leave on her own journey of self love. Leaving me, well alone! And I will turn around and say but look at who I have been for you and what  I have done. Discern and look at my own addictions to loving people that are not available.

5. For the most part, I am not a momentary person. i am pretty passionate and committed to long term loving but when I am in a relationship with a recent victim of abuse I have to realize that they are surviving the moment, the break up, the re-victimization, the incompleteness and will always be searching for resolution. Victims and survivors are always making moment to moment decisions. Instead, I show up and in my own trauma I am busy asking them to love me now, tomorrow and forever, or to create dreams years in advance. The reality is that I come in with possibility ready to create with someone who is still in a relationship, breaking up and grieving the abuse and in withdrawal from the addiction of the abuse. What does it cost me to love anyway?

4. Although I work with victims and survivors, it is still very hard for me to see people getting abused, mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually, especially when this happens in my community and within the lives of sisters I Iove. My first reaction is to  swoop down and support them in seeing the unhealthy behavior so they can leave. I want them to get angry at the injustice of what has happened to them so they can break patterns and be free. The reality is that for someone who has normalized abusive behavior and lived in it as an illusion of love, they cannot be angry at something that has been functional in their relationship.

In 2014 I found myself doing healing work with teen girls again, as a clinician supporting young women crossing the borders and in my personal life mothering beautiful young girls ages 13 and 9. This is what I learned about myself…

3. I realized that all those young women were me. I had a really hard time letting young women go when I didn’t know if they were going to be safe or not, or if I was ever going to see them again. I went to therapy for a moment because I couldn’t understand how yet another person (me) could leave them and never see them again. I couldn’t comprehend that I  would never know what happened to them or if they needed anything.  How could I commit to these young women and never be allowed to speak to them again.  It was as if I was also abandoning them and abandoning myself at the same time.

2. My dad told me I was adopted at the same age of those girls (btw 11-13 years old) and I was reliving that experience through them. I realized that I was still angry at my mother for me never feeling like I am good enough or always trying harder to be seen or heard.  Being with these girls in my life was divine intervention and opportunity to heal from my own past.

1. And it comes full circle again. Nobody has ever asked me if I was okay with the adoption. If I was okay with being left or with the decision adults made for me. As an adult in retrospect I get to ask, if only speak it out to the universe, how come nobody as ever asked me if their choice was really in my best interest. My biological mother or anyone else has ever asked me if I was okay? She doesn’t know what happened to me or who was that lady she gave me up to, what addiction or unhealthy thing was happening in her life that would impact me, what trauma have I experienced as a result. Would I be or was I really better off without her?


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