There is now a growing body of research in the area of CPTSD and more now that is outside of what is traditionally white or North American focused. (Yay!) This is good news, because so many people suffer from complex trauma, the symptoms of which include: anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, and challenges with relationships.
A 2021 study did an online survey of 1361 Chinese college students and concluded:
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are associated with higher levels of CPTSD symptoms.
- Treating complex trauma with reducing self-judgment and increasing self-kindness works.
So a part of me is like “D’UH! That was obvious! Do we need research to tell us this? This is so core to everything I do with my clients.”
Another part of me is eagerly leaning in with a “spill the tea, tell me more” look on her face. What else is research confirming so we can better help people get through to the other side?
And then there’s the part of me who is nodding and saying, yup, good, research confirming what our intuition and experience have been telling us is great news. We can stay the course. Double down. We are on track!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
• A huge part of recovering from complex trauma includes self-compassion, self-care and self-love.
• Which ironically of course is actually the hardest thing to ask someone to do when they are not wired for it.
• If we are told, this is it, this is the answer, and we find that we are unable to do it, it is just creating a whole new (and even more devastating) way for us to conclude that we’ve failed yet again and it will never get better.
NO, BUT WHAT CAN WE DO?
We can be more aware when we are being unkind to ourselves.
We can remember that our brain got wired this way for a multitude of genetic and cultural and environmental reasons.
We can be a bit gentler with ourselves when we observe ourselves being self-critical or self-judgmental. Ah, I’m doing this again, this is very painful. (Not: I’m such a terrible person, I can’t stop doing this.)
And we can learn more about Doing the Work to find our own unique approach to recovery.
Then we can be gentle with others when they are first learning about this and can’t quite fathom what “being kind to yourself” means.
We help each find a place to start and it could look as simple as making the bed in the morning. (Yeah, that’s where I had to start at the lowest point in my life.)
We start where we start.
Let’s heal together.
You can do this.