My Trauma Story: Integration v Shame

In case you missed it or aren’t on our Facebook page, I posted a video yesterday about my own trauma story (see below). Actually, just one piece of the story that came back to me after 20 years. I was inspired because many survivors of trauma who I meet are still carrying around feelings of shame. Which is understandable, since shock and trauma can leave us disoriented, frozen, fearful, and ashamed. But I believe in the power of story to help us ‘heal the freeze’ and to inspire others (or at least normalise suffering).

It was a scary thing to do. It left me feeling vulnerable. And that is okay, because I am practised in feeling vulnerable and have spent years growing my capacity for vulnerability. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” is a favourite motto of mine.

I want to integrate or incorporate everything into my being, into my story, so I can live an undefended life. I don’t mean physically undefended, I mean psychologically. Sometimes of course, I don’t recognise my own defences until afterwards. So I want to acknowledge but then side-step my defensiveness. It’s hard, because defence mechanisms are survival-oriented, automatic and powerful.

Integration is key. I touch on this in the video below. Integration (in psychology) means creating links between different parts of yourself: the defensive part, the vulnerable part, the logical part and the compassionate part. This takes self-awareness, which means identifying thoughts, feelings and behaviours and linking it all together. You literally make linkages across different regions of your brain the more self-aware you become. The more integrated you become, the less you are controlled by fear and shame.

People often say “be yourself”. What does that mean? To me, it’s who you are when your psychological defences are down. Potentially scary? Sure. But ah…the freedom!

And, well, nothing bad has happened since I posted this. And I’m learning continually, as are all of you, to trust myself and to trust in life more and more. Every small brave step along the way helps. Here it is (about 8 mins). If you’d like to leave a comment on the FB video, you can click the FB icon on the bottom right.

We are all in this together 🙂