Why do I feel like I’m 10-15 years behind everyone else my age?
Hi Love! I'm Morgan and I'm a childhood trauma survivor, certified trauma-informed coach, and the creator of Rising Warrior Collective, a safe community for survivors of childhood trauma to begin healing. If you're ready to take your healing to the next level, let's connect and talk about what it looks like to work 1:1.
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It’s not just you, it’s common for childhood trauma to create a developmental delay, causing survivors to feel stuck and behind long after childhood.
As a trauma survivor, one of the most challenging internal obstacles that I faced was a chronic feeling of being “behind” and “stuck.” For so long, it felt as if no matter what I did, I could never move forward. It was like being caught in a pit of quicksand. No matter what I did, I’d always find myself right back in the same place, feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and hopeless.
I remember looking around and feeling as if everyone around me was figuring their shit out and progressing forward as functioning adults on the “normal path” of adulthood. Over the years, I’d watch friends and acquaintances navigate through a normal college experience, choose careers, get into long-term relationships, land good jobs, save money, buy houses, travel, get married, and have kids. (the funny thing is, I never even wanted most of those things, but that’s for another blog).
All the while, I seemed to remain stuck in a never-ending loop of survival. This loop caused me tons of anxiety, depression, overwhelm, lack of self-worth, and self-doubt while constantly making me believe that something was innately wrong with me. I remained stuck in a holding pattern for nearly two decades after my traumatic childhood. Because of this, I made all my decisions from a place of fear, lack, doubt, and unworthiness.
I know that I’m not alone in my story or experiences. Nearly every single discovery call that I have had with a potential coaching client and clients that I have worked with express these same feelings of being stuck, behind, broken, and damaged. If you are feeling this way, please know that you are not alone. This is extremely common for a trauma survivor.
You are not lazy, unmotivated, or stuck. After years of living your life in survival mode, you are exhausted. There is a difference.~Nakeia Homer
What we don’t see is that people who did not experience life altering developmental trauma had higher chances for thriving. They likely had stronger foundations, support systems, and tools to help them through their life. Unlike trauma survivors, they were not navigating toxic and dysfunctional families or old demons, memories, and flashbacks from childhood. They had obvious advantages over us. While our brains were stuck and hyper focused on safety and survival, theirs allowed them to develop, thrive, and grow.
Like most developmental trauma survivors who grew up with dysfunctional families, I had no one to help me understand any of this and I bet you didn’t either. Essentially, I was living with an undiagnosed developmental delay and the lack of awareness or understanding caused me to feel broken, isolated, and less than. I believe that this lack of awareness and understanding keeps survivors feeling stuck and behind. A dysfunctional and traumatic childhood leaves us feeling helpless, hopeless, and powerless.
In order to regain balance, we can choose to understand what actually happened to us and how it continued to affect the rest of our lives. Knowledge gives us our power back. I become a trauma recovery coach because I know that if I can help you connect the dots, then you can re-build the strength to heal yourself.
“The human brain is designed to sense, process, store, perceive, and act on information from the external and the internal environment. All of these complex systems and activities work together for one overarching purpose—survival”~ Goldstein, 1995 cited in Perry, et al., 1995
In order to understand our adult struggles as survivors, we have to understand what happened to us. This doesn’t mean that we have to go back in time and relive our trauma, it just means we have to get curious about how it’s still showing up and living within us. Understanding helps support us in moving the past out of our bodies so that we can start moving into the present – feeling less stuck, broken, and alone.
Exposure to chronic, prolonged traumatic experiences has the potential to alter a child’s brain. This can then cause long-term effects in the following areas of our adolescent and adult lives:
Source: Cook, et al, 2005
The good news is, we CAN re-wire our brains and heal from the past. Recognizing and identifying our trauma responses and patterns is the first step. From there, we slowly interrupt them by questioning our old stories and the way we see the world while simultaneously building new habits, routines, and patterns which create the foundation that helps us to pull out of the quicksand.
More often than not the reason we stay stuck in the quicksand, is that it’s “safe.” The quicksand is familiar to us. Keeping our heads just high enough to breathe is something we know how to do. We don’t like it, but we know what to expect. For many of us, this feels much easier than navigating the fear and unknown that comes with unpacking our emotional pain.
Here are some questions that I had to ask myself in order to pull myself out of the quicksand. I recognize these questions can feel hard and triggering. However, I can tell you from personal experience, if you can navigate the hard things, the process will eventually get easier and you will be more likely to build momentum.
“You became who you needed to be in order to survive, but now it’s time to become who you need to be so you can thrive in life.”~ Topher Kearby
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions – there’s just your answers. The more honest you can be with yourself, the greater the chance for insight and healing. It’s also ok if it still feels hard to come face to face with these questions from a place of honesty. The healing journey of a childhood trauma survivor is not an easy one and only you will know when you are truly ready. Healing from trauma is not just a matter of growing, it’s a complete lifestyle change and it will probably challenge you on every level along the way.
Are you ready to pull yourself out of the quicksand? Do you want to gain new tools to harness the power you already have inside of you? I would love to support you. My 1:1 coaching container creates a compassionate, non-judgmental, and safe space that meets you right where you are today. From there we move at a pace that supports your life, goals, and visions for your unique and beautiful future, a future that can look anyway you CHOOSE.
Click here to book your free 1-hour discovery call.
You never know how one conversation could shift the direction of your life.
Lots of love ~ Morgan
July 4, 2022
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA RECOVERY COACHING