If I made it out alive gunsblazing, you can heal from your childhood trauma too
– Sheila Bennati
I recently shared a post on Instagram that got me thinking about this healing journey I decided to embark on, unaware of the repercussions this turmoil would bring. I learnt that healing doesn’t start from your current situation, it stems from your childhood and goes as far as your past life.
I know for one, I suffered from communication problems, that forced me to take a long hard look in the mirror, faced it and deal with it in the coldest and meanest way possible. That’s just how much self-truth hurts because we choose to survive on the ego and dualities of life.
I was ever so grateful to my higher-self for acknowledging this but wasn’t quite ready to go back in time to revive the trauma, I was content living “abnormally-normal”. Growing up with divorced parents left a serious dent on my life which meant never idolizing a genetic father figure but searching for father figures all my life instead of lovers. I’m still in awe at the strength of my mother walking out of an abusive marriage, (the only one in the family who had the guts to put her life first above all). Physical abuse was all we knew in the early years of our lives (my sister and I), so we had to grow up pretty fast.
I was about 5 or 6 years old at the time when my mother gained her self-independence. I unapologetically have no tales to tell of growing up poor, we lived a pretty comfortable life and went to the best schools and the fruits of my mothers’ labour has us conquering the cities we live in.
We adapted to growing up with a single parent, embracing the co-parenting atmosphere while enduring sexual abuse in kindergarten, nothing really made sense. Let’s just say I didn’t know better (I was only a minor), so I just went through it as silent as could be. That silence was a safety net and hook that would change my perspective on life forever. As expected, life went on, people came and went (friends, relationships, teachers, classmates, etc.) and all that chaos stayed beautifully hidden in a black box. Before I knew it, I was married, a mother, graduate and employed. Sounded like the perfect ending to the turmoil, right? Quite contrary!
Within the realm of all these events, I perused through life with emptiness, I didn’t quite figure out what it was nor how to fill in the holes. So, I ignored it all like most people would and fed into the matrix of how life ought to be. I went through an adulterous and emotionally abusive marriage silently, lived with anxiety and depression silently and just existed silently. I hid so much pain behind my smile. That was the person I became and that’s how communication became a challenge. Hence why therapy, energy healing and yoga were my business options, I listened and spoke little, did energy/crystal healings as patients dosed off and taught yoga because there was no interaction needed just instruction. That was heaven enough for me.
Behind closed doors, my efforts to express self verbally went unnoticed, I found it much easier to express myself through writing. I expressed issues via email or letters when things weren’t up to par with my husband. Verbal communication was tedious, I felt attacked majority of the time, and having to take it all in with a narcissist just made it harder. Those who have dated or married narcissists know this far too well. My silence caused physical issues, where else would all these unexpressed thoughts and emotions manifest if not in the physical body? My health took a turn for the worst, from blood-related issues arising, peptic ulcers, severe stomach pain that had me hospitalized atleast twice a month to weakness and dizziness. My body was boiling up and hitting the danger button ever so often, and that’s when I realized something needed to change. I did some serious soul searching that took me back to my childhood and recovered the black box that held all the data pertaining to the wreckage.
I envisioned looking at my 6-year-old self and as I gathered the words to speak, I came to the realization that I had to talk to my younger self the way I would with any child. I had to feel the confusion, pain and loneliness and approached this innocent being as a trusted friend.
I took those little hands into my mine and told her, Sheila it’s ok to talk, it’s ok to open up and tell those closest to you what’s happening”. You are not the blame for this, you are not to blame for mommy and daddy fighting. Mr Moyo (the caretaker/abuser) has done very bad things to you and that is not your fault either. Tell aunty Evelyn (nanny) everything because you need a friend. Tomorrow is going to be a better day, keep smiling and be happy.
Just with this energy work (something anybody can do; you don’t need to be a healer) I came to the realization that my silence in relationships with the opposite sex was subject to the sexual abuse I experienced in kindergarten. I was always the first child to school in the mornings as my mother had to dash to work early. I always ran for the swings as I waited for kids to stream in, that’s when my abuser orchestrated his plan. How else would he lure a child into the teacher’s office without using every child’s weakness, yap candy! It started with seeing his penis, to touching it, him playing with my genitalia, molestation to eventually sex. While during the course of the day, he would catch a glimpse of me, smile and wink his potbelly away.
I was young, I didn’t really know what to think of it and it felt good that I had a secret no one knew, I felt special. Then one day, we crossed paths, it was about a year after I started primary school, we were leaving Dr Olongo’s office when my mom spotted him. He looked overly delighted to see us, shook my mom’s hand and my sisters but for some reason, I refused to hand him mine, I felt unsafe and exploited but he just smiled and hopped in the car as my mom gave him a push. I never saw him again after that but his words were engraved in my subconscious
I never forgot his whispers, “shhh don’t tell anyone, it’s our little secret, here’s the candy I promised you”.
So, I kept his dirty little secret and got awarded candy, attention and hushed it all through life. Carried this secret into adulthood and when communication was in full effect I always felt attacked, the urge to defend my silence over the emotional, mental and physical path towards healing. All this while my inner child was screaming and that was 25 years of walking dead through unresolved trauma, toxic men, exploitative friends, unfulfilled jobs to just existing.
I knew then that the only person who needed to change was me. So, I slowly started practising inner reflection, letting go of the childhood trauma and as a result, I’m currently suffering from “verbal diarrhoea”. As part of my healing journey, I speak my mind, speak my soul, even speak the dead to life. I express myself (shamelessly sometimes) and quickly exit toxic situations.
People start to respect you as soon as you start to respect yourself, many will test you of course, but your wisdom will be your guide over those worth the mental space. Self-expression is so liberating, as is sharing my story as a victor, not a victim. We all have a story to share, childhood wounds to heal and the capacity to practise self-love because no one else can love you the way you do. It’s time to break the silence and let go!
Start your healing journey today with these 5 effective tips to heal childhood trauma.