Make it About the Growth
Post-traumatic stress can be developed when a person witnessed, experienced or was repeatedly exposed to major trauma that includes a threat to one’s life, serious injury or violence. It resets the brain to be in an ongoing active state that can’t be turned off easily.
Some acknowledge that a person can experience post-traumatic stress from even less horrific incidents such as getting fired, a relationship ending or chronic illness. While these events are not of the same magnitude as the ones mentioned before they nevertheless leave their marks, including lingering negative emotions such as fear, despair, horror, lack of control, vulnerability etc. Both create a perpetual stress level in the body.
Whether you experienced the “classic” version of post-traumatic stress or the “alternative” one you got to know hurt and what it’s like to be a victim. It destabilized you. You need to find the appropriate way to heal this wound, just like you would with a physical injury, and accept that healing takes time.
If after taking the needed steps to heal you seem to not be able to make a full comeback you can ask yourself: Am I perpetuating my victim role by victimizing myself? “Why would I do that?” you might ask now. Staying in the victim role might not be comfortable, but it surely is safe. It is what you already know, and you often get sympathy and understanding for it. It can also protect you from your own or other people’s expectation to perform or you might feel that this is the way to keep the perpetrator be guilty. Unfortunately you also keep yourself from living your full potential.
If you have a hard time telling whether or not you willingly remain in the victim role you can ask yourself questions such as:
- Is my story still about the perpetrator instead of about who I am and what I want?
- Am I being continually fed victim mentality?
- Am I more interested in the opinion of others about me then I am in my own?
- Am I willing to take ownership of my life and the results I create?
- Am I staying small or am I willing to step out into the world in the full glory I own?
- Do I doubt that I have what it takes to accomplish my dreams?
- How well am I treating myself?
- Do I feel like I need to keep on healing before I can move on?
- Do I focus on experiences where I feel offended?
It is important to take note of painful feelings you may hold inside instead of suppressing them. Just as important is it though to see yourself for what you truly are: not a victim that anybody can take advantage of, but a strong indestructible woman who survived. When you have experienced post-traumatic stress you have the opportunity to also experience post-traumatic growth. You have the chance to re-define yourself. So who are you after the post-traumatic growth?