While I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve mentioned my C-PTSD and my childhood. In all honesty, I haven’t fully shared what my childhood looked like. For one, I’m not fully comfortable. I’m also still trying to recognize the my trauma is valid. At times, I still feel like my trauma isn’t “big enough” or “traumatic enough.”
One thing I do want to acknowledge and talk about is my current relationship with my parents. Growing up, I was really only around my mom, dad, and younger sister. While my family is big, we mostly kept to ourselves. On top of this, I wasn’t allowed out by myself… even in my teenage years. Friends were allowed to come over, but overall, I was kept supervised from the “evils” of the world. This means that a lot of my connection had to come from my direct family.
This type of dynamic made it very difficult for me to separate myself from my family. I’m still living in close proximity. I have contact with them multiple times a week, if not daily. I’m also very aware of the toxic environment that I grew up in, and trying very hard to heal from it. So how can I heal in that environment? I honestly can’t.
Since I’ve moved out of my parents house 4 years ago, I’ve placed boundaries around myself. I do not visit when they’re fighting, and if they are, I leave. If I’m visiting and I become the center of criticism, I leave. If I cannot handle contact, I ignore phone calls and text messages. There are many other boundaries in place.
I’ve been on a healing journey for many years. I’ve read a lot of psychology and self-help books. I’ve used my spiritual practice to heal. I’ve tried many things including therapy. I’ve been able to logically understand that I was raised by broken adults. I understand that everything that is being said to me is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. I can see the wounds that live within them. I can see the generational trauma that has been passed down for generations. Until recently, I haven’t been able to feel into it. When I sought out a therapist, I was at a dead end. I could explain my trauma. I could logically understand it. I could logically forgive. What I couldn’t do was feel into it for fear.
So how can I be around the people/environment that caused the trauma? It’s sometimes simple and sometimes impossible. It’s a mix of codependency that still exists within me, love, forgiveness, understanding, and lots of boundaries. It’s knowing when to acknowledge that I can feel hurt or sad for them and for me. It’s knowing when to walk away. It’s knowing when to limit contact. Most importantly, it’s knowing that I can accept them for who they are as long as I love myself enough to leave.