Trauma Survivors: We’re not just victims and we don’t need pity
I’m excited to announce that I’m narrowing my focus to serve a very particular community of people who have incredible potential to live high quality lives, and influence and inspire others in much-needed ways: trauma survivors.
Even if you haven’t experienced trauma yourself, chances are you know or work with someone who has. Consider this:
“It is estimated that 76% of Canadians report having experienced a traumatic event during their lifetime (Ameringen, Mancini & Boyle, 2008)… Posttraumatic stress disorder, diagnosed by a registered psychologist, is a psychological reaction that can manifest itself after a traumatic event.” (Canadian Psychological Association)
“Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as: difficulty controlling your emotions, feeling very angry or distrustful towards the world, constant feelings of emptiness or hopelessness, feeling as if you are permanently damaged or worthless, feeling as if you are completely different to other people, feeling like nobody can understand what happened to you, …
The types of traumatic events that can cause complex PTSD include:
• childhood abuse, neglect or abandonment
• ongoing domestic violence or abuse
• repeatedly witnessing violence or abuse, etc… (Mind Organization UK)”
Now, the best way I know to process and heal from trauma is to speak to a good therapist. They can help you reconnect to your emotions, learn how to get your core needs met, and navigate personal relationships and circumstances with greater objectivity and understanding.
When it comes to getting out of your own way and nurturing your ambitions in your career and leadership, trauma-informed coaching is important for trauma survivors. Not all coaches are trauma-informed, and this can result in increased frustration and even harm or re-traumatization in the coaching conversation.
What I’ve discovered after years of processing my own trauma is that you have unique needs when it comes to your career and leadership development, and what is required from those who support you. Some of you might recognize these factors in yourself:
• You struggle to see yourself for who you really are and what you bring to the table
• You think of yourself as “less than” compared to everyone else
• You settle for less than what you need and deserve
• You experience frustration and even harm in conversations with people who don’t understand trauma
• You downplay and hide your strengths and uniqueness in order to stay safe
• You find yourself in environments where you can’t truly thrive
• You may find it difficult to trust others, and become suspicious quickly
• You give away your power by buying into what others tell you me or blame you for
• You ignore or dismiss your own thoughts that “this isn’t right”
• You lack confidence in your career and leadership development (but are no less motivated)
• You beat yourself up endlessly for your “mistakes”
• You’re not always clear about what you want or need, or how to attain it
We aren’t just victims, though, and we don’t need pity. In fact, the strengths that you’ve used to survive are the same strengths that will help you grow as a leader and in your career.
Being strategic, persistent, determined, observant, responsible, able to apologize, improvement-oriented, making tough choices, delaying gratification, creatively problem-solving, managing yourself in challenging circumstances – these are just a few examples of the transferable skills you may bring to the table. Our strengths are the best of who we are, and they are more than enough.
When you’re ready: to be seen and heard for all that you really are, and are becoming, without judgment or unintentional gaslighting; to create the kind of work and life you long for and be the leader you know you can be; to find peace in who you are and let go of shame and self-doubt, let’s talk. Connect with me here.
Or check out my latest offerings below by clicking on the links:
1. Career Coaching Exploration