There are many ways in which you can become traumatized, especially in childhood. Trauma is caused by events that destroy your sense of security, your trust in everyone around you and even threaten your life.
The more fear there is involved, the more intense the trauma is likely to be. It can be caused by a one-time event like a car crash, a natural disaster or a violent attack. Sexual abuse is almost always intensely traumatic.
Trauma can also come from being in an ongoing, highly stressful situation, such as living with an abusive dysfunctional family or in a crime-ridden area. Fighting a diagnosis of cancer or similar serious illness is very stressful. The sudden death of a loved one is often traumatic, too.
We all have natural defense mechanisms that help us cope with the shock and the fear experienced in traumatic situations.
Denial, going out of body or disassociating, and suppression of emotional pain are typical mechanisms, and they work well as a temporary fix.
Some people come out of it after using these mechanisms for a while. Others don’t.
They become depressed, addicted to mind-numbing substances, and often exhibit mental and behavioral problems. This becomes identified as post traumatic stress syndrome.
Of course, anyone who has been severely traumatized and has not yet come out of it should seek qualified professional help.
However, let me explain why I think Radical Forgiveness Therapy should be at least part of your protocol if you have been traumatized.
If your trauma was, or is, less severe and you are functional, it might well be sufficient. Let me explain why.
When we look at trauma from a Radical Forgiveness perspective, the suffering is reduced if we can begin to be open to the idea that the traumatic experience could possibly have been what your soul created for its learning.
If you can go there – and it is a very big step – you might find yourself able to wean yourself off some of the defense mechanisms so you can find a way to talk about it.
That’s always the first step in dealing with a trauma. That’s also the first step in the Radical Forgiveness process.
The more you talk, the more the tension is released from your mind and body. Being encouraged to focus on body sensations as you talk gets you more in touch with the memories and feelings you experienced at the time, as well as those you feel as they relate to your story. (Feeling the feelings is the second step in the Radical Forgiveness process.)
One of the effects of having some of the defense mechanisms made permanent is that you may have numbed out. You are unable to feel your feelings. It’s not that the feelings are not there. You just are unable to access them.
Again, doing something physical helps discharge pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy – something explosive and fast moving like beating some cushions with a tennis racquet.
Beating the cushion is a technique I use all the time in Radical Forgiveness Therapy. You have to get in touch with the raw emotion behind what happened. You cannot heal what you don’t feel. That’s especially true when there is real trauma involved.
But I never recommend that you do it on your own without having support from someone who can hold the space for you to go through your anger.
The 3rd stage in the Radical Forgiveness Process is where we try to take some of the heat out of the trauma by trying to rationalize it, understand why it happened, and so on.
The fourth step is where we go into overdrive in the healing process. It is the part where we introduce the idea to the traumatized person that their Higher Self had a hand in creating the situation for it’s own learning and growth.
However, the timing has to be right. The Radical Forgiveness reframe has to be introduced carefully and with due respect for the person’s existing consciousness at the time.
If it is proposed too early, the person can be re-traumatized. The idea that they created it and that, from a spiritual perspective, it was entirely perfect might be just too radical.
My main experience over the years has been with people traumatized through sexual abuse and other relationship-based traumas, as well as those having lost someone in tragic circumstances.
But no matter whether a person has been traumatized by a car accident, a severe injury, or a breakup of a relationship so difficult they can’t move on, or when people in any way feel they are unable to have a normal life because of what happened to them, I am totally convinced that Radical Forgiveness Therapy is at least part of the answer.
It saddens me that so many people remain burdened by a trauma all their lives just because they haven’t been given the chance to see it from the Radical Forgiveness perspective. I hope this will change when we all start to wake up to this truth.
P.S. I am presently running a contest where someone can win a free one hour coaching session with me. All you have to do is write a testimonial about one or more of the Radical Living tools you have used. The contest ends July 31, 2014. Follow the link below if you wish to enter.
Click the arrow above to play a two minute sampling from the chapter, Release the Trauma and Let’s Get on with Life” from the audio book, 25 Practical Uses for Radical Forgiveness.