Why Do Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma Need Advocates?
It’s a question I asked of readers a few weeks ago. Many wonderful–and heartbreaking— responses arrived, which I will share in an upcoming blog post. One of the most moving answers came from my friend, Barb Johns. Her poetic piece perfectly captures the incredible challenges that arise from a history of childhood trauma and abuse. Here is her response.
Why do I, as an adult survivor of childhood trauma, need an advocate?
I lost my voice at the time of the abuse. In fact, I didn’t have a voice….I was pre-verbal.
I need someone to be a voice for me.
I don’t know my own story..it was lost at the time of the abuse. It went away.
I need someone to help me find my story.
I feel lost and don’t really know who I am.
I need someone to be a mirror for me to reflect the truth of my identity. It got lost when it had to go into hiding.
I need someone to stand up for me because I’m little and weak inside.
I need someone to tell me that it’s ok….and that I’m safe now.
I feel it was my fault.
I need someone to give me a bigger picture of what happened to me.
I don’t know the way out of this darkness.
I need someone to point the way for me.
I’m not easily coaxed.
I need someone who is gentle and not bossy to be my advocate.
I don’t really know how to trust.
I need an advocate to draw me out and let me learn to trust.
I’m wounded, confused, and unable to fight.
I need someone to take care of the threat and show me that it’s safe now.
I have bad reactions that I feel guilty about.
I need an advocate to show me forgiveness.
I need to have a place to feel even if it means I will be really loud and scream. I need an advocate that can understand that need because not everyone will.
This is why adult survivors of childhood trauma need advocates.
Barb Johns is a survivor of pre-verbal trauma and has come to understand the power and effects of dissociation. She began an intentional healing journey some 17 years ago and has not stopped following the Way towards freedom ever since. She has been a teacher and practitioner of Theophostic (Transformational) prayer. She is a spiritual director having recently completed certification with Sustainable Faith. Barb lives in Winnipeg, Canada with her husband of 39 years. One of her greatest joys is spending time with any of her seven grandchildren.