During this most joyful of holiday seasons we often see the overwhelming antithesis of joy; loneliness, sadness and even despair. The deepest and most harmful of traumas are ABANDONMENT and NEGLECT. The pervasive constant message that an individual is not worthy of care and attention, that no one is really available or willing to care and nurture you.
As loving, spiritual beings reaching out to one another can truly make a difference for another person. The holidays are so very painful for many, many people. And we do make a difference for one another when one heart connects with another or when we touch the wounded heart of the child within.
I love Facebook because my page is really inundated with news of our amazing Alumni. I am astounded at the lives that our Alumni have created including marriages, babies, new careers, strong recovery programs, healthy relationships and new and exciting ventures and adventures. My excitement stems from remembering how wounded and broken, hopeless and despairing they were when they admitted to The Refuge.
So many children are lost emotionally and spiritually at the time when they most need care. Often not held, hugged or celebrated; not applauded with kind and encouraging words or given positive regard and encouragement. And who are these children in their adult form?
At the core of trauma is the belief that your survival is at risk; at its deepest level being abandoned and/or neglected is life threatening. Every infant instinctively knows they are dependent on the loving kindness of a caretaker. Abandonment and neglect comes in many forms:
- The single parent who is doing the best they can raising “latch key kids”.
- The adopted child who is raised by wonderful, loving adopted parents but has a core message, ” Something was wrong with me, I was thrown away”.
- The child who is daily given negative messages that they are less then, not good enough, fat, ugly, stupid, lazy, not worthy of the air they breath.
- The child who experiences any kind of abuse or bullying. The parent might not even know but the child is unprotected and feels it at their core. What a huge and painful price we are paying today in the many “shootings” that are happening by lonely, bullied children who move into the “mentally ill”.
- The parents who are busy working, not emotionally available, or in their own abusive relationship or addictive behaviors. Children learn from parental behaviors.
- Often the children of affluence who have caretakers other then their busy, unavailable parents.
The list is long and endless, scenarios that create the energy of neglect, of abandonment.
We are not talking about just malicious abandonment and neglect, there is plenty of that, but we are talking about unawareness, pre-occupation, an inability to recognize the human pain a child is experiencing but unable to verbalize.
When I ask folks to identify traumatic events in their life abandonment and neglect seem the most harmful and pervasive, they set up a pattern of survival behaviors that make perfect sense when you Unravel the Trauma story.
The overwhelming emotion that these folks experience is loneliness. I guarantee that if you look around in your social circle and you are mindful, you will recognize these folks. The greatest gift would be kind and loving words, inclusion, an awareness of the wounded child within, this season.
Our clients overwhelmingly report that the most important part of their healing was the constant love, compassion, care and validation of the goodness and worth of their spirit and that we never gave up on them, no matter what.
So when I go to The Refuge Facebook page and see hundreds of comments from alumni and professionals who have done the deep trauma work and changed the direction of their lives, I cheer and applaud and thank God for a loving, committed staff who have directed the healing process. The biggest and best payoff is that synergistically, spiritually we help to change the energy of the world around us to a loving, healing space.
Happy Holidays, “In this season of Miracles please see the Miracles all around you.”