In many emails to me, I am being asked how I have “overcome” my childhood trauma.
I always begin with: the word “overcome” is wrong. Overcoming may mean repressing and controlling.
I do not give advice, provide no counseling or push any theory, nor do I have anything for sale. I simply tell my story, where the reader or listener can take from a part that feels right and wholesome for them selves and begin with, “I did it myself”.
Without knowing anything about “cognitive” “primale” or “regressive therapy,” I followed an intuitive and natural process driven by my destructive disorders, mental pain and the need to become well.
I knew from an intuitive feeling that it was my abused childhood that had influenced my adult life, even though I had no clue how much and could not foresee the massive impact it had on my psyche. All I knew was that I could not continue living in fear, self-doubt, mental insecurity, and continue to please others instead of myself. Driven to end these overwhelming, stifling reactions, I had no other choice than leap toward the danger, the horror I feared most, my past, my childhood. (www.sieglindewalexander.com)
I confronted the reality of the past in 1992, by going back in time and facing the places and people who had inflicted the most horrible abuse on me. I would never recommend to anyone to go this route alone, without true, unbiased support. Nevertheless, it was the only healing process available for me. I had had enough of sweet talk, false kindness and the overwhelming support in how to repress, or why I must understand how and why abuse was inflicted on me. I also rejected life management ideas and the many theories that were invented by an individual and did not fit me. Moreso, I would not buy into the ideas or excuses that we can never really heal. True, there will always be some old and new issues we must face, the question is if we have enough strength to do it, or are we too compromised already to face the unbearable truths from the past and present.
As I searched with self-honesty the origin of my unbearable pain, I was confronted with the reality, the abuse in my childhood. Exactly this confrontation gave me a chance to follow through the long ago frozen process of trauma and I gained again what I had lost, my identity, a sense of self-worth.
To strip the layers of each disorder I was living with for over 40 years, I began with writing about everything I remembered. My next step was driven by helplessness and the need to be validated. I exposed my two hundred written pages to all my perpetrators and abusers in my immediate family. All hell broke loose. I was again condemned, ridiculed, blamed, shamed and much more, just as it was my fault as a child when my patents did not feel good. Again, I was isolated and dishonored by the same family who always wanted to cover reality with lies and deception. More pain was suffered, and more loneliness, and I received even less validation. Still, I could not stop the search for myself, in which I believed the truth lay hidden. Exposing what was hidden and carefully managed for many years, the truth came out. It could be denied but never erased.
As I addressed each layer and faced the pain that came with it, I established a new stability, a sense of myself and who “I” wanted to be. Immersed in my healing process for awhile, I traveled to my hometown in Germany. I retraced every step I had taken on the old, cobblestone street, the overwhelming feelings I knew so well from my childhood. More writing and awareness came out this experience. I reached a stage where I confronted all my abusers who were still alive, in person. This defense reaction was the first step that loosened the grip on my helplessness and strengthened me,- self-awareness begun to wake up. Slowly, the first feelings of anger and rage replaced the years of paralyzing fear. I embraced this defensive anger as my right and as a protective shield against more and new psychological pain. So far, my life was mainly dictated by surrendering all feelings and emotions to abusers. For the first time, I understood the word ‘boundaries’, and I set them for all people who tried to hurt me again. I learned and began to feel that I have needs which I never knew because of long self-denial. This new knowledge was painful to accept but also liberating, because I understood why I was hating and rejecting myself and judged others.
It was a 10-year healing ordeal. Unfortunately, the healing process was violently interrupted, numbed again by seven years on antidepressants. Psychologists, Therapists and Psychiatrists
As I said before, it was my way of healing the ever-present wounds and now I have a chance to live with the remaining scars which no longer compromise my life.
Sure, the memory of 14 years of childhood abuse has not disappeared, but the stifling “sting of pain and helplessness” that has imprisoned me, and the ever haunting shadows of the past have lost their power in the present.
I strongly believe if anyone can heal from trauma, then only by allowing the release of the trauma, the (frozen) impact of the moment the trauma was inflicted. Only this way, may we finish the process and allow real healing to take place. Only if the layers of pain are gone, will we feel again and acknowledge our needs. Only then, do we have a chance to value and fulfill them ourselves: no other person, theory, advice, or magic remedy can do this for us. Nevertheless, empathetic assistance, true human kindness und understanding can help us in this overwhelming process.
If I may compare my healing with other theories, I would like to compare it with a pressure cooker on a hot stove. The moment the steam in it whistles, someone turns it off and a little later, once again. The pressure cooker needs to get rid of what is inside but cannot, because he is not allowed to whistle. I boiled the pressure cooker to maximum and let it whistle. At the right moment, I opened the lid and let all out. From this moment on healing took place even though I was on the brink of extinction.
Please do not see my approach as advice. Regard it as another/my way, and how a desperate, injured human being wanted to heal and not repeat the violent, dominant pattern imprinted in her early childhood.