Trauma recovery

I’m going through a trauma recovery workbook.  I’m probably going to read it six times. On page 47 it says,

Characteristics of Traumatic Relationships: Betrayal occurs at the hands of a trusted caregiver or supporter.

How Helping Relationships Can Re-Traumatize Youth: Youth feel betrayed by the organization, program, or provider.

Characteristics of Traumatic Relationships: Reality is reconstructed to represent the values and beliefs of the abuser./ Events are reinterpreted and renamed to protect the guilty.

How Helping Relationships Can Re-Traumatize Youth: Reality is reconstructed to match the needs and values of the provider or agency, not the youth.


I have feels. I’m not a youth any more. I don’t deserve to be centered any more. But these parts of me are still broken.

“In order to protect themselves, consciously or not, many youth act out to speed up the rejection that they are convinced is coming anyway.”

Like talking about the Godmamas being on their way out and then I got a nasty fuck you letter because I had talked about their attitude in a way they didn’t like. Like that. I do that. I do that a lot.

If we don’t exit/punish youth when they break the rules, aren’t we enabling them? No. When a youth that is highly impacted by past trauma is exited, what is the lesson? Although providers may believe youth are learning they can’t write on walls or disrespect providers, mostly providers are just confirming a youth’s belief that they are unlovable and undeserving of attention and support. It is not suggested that agencies and providers ignore inappropriate behavior. Instead, it is recommended that providers work with youth to identify problematic behavior, put it in the context of trauma, and help youth find different ways to express anger, frustration, or sadness. The goal is for youth to know that providers can see far beyond the problem behavior, and see the youth’s capabilities and potential to succeed.”

Feelings. What is my fault? What isn’t my fault? What should I be punished for? What shouldn’t I be punished for?

I don’t really know.

Reading stuff like this reminds me of when I was teaching. I was very good at working with gang kids because when they walked in angry… I assumed it had nothing to do with me and I offered support instead of punishment. What happened? Why are you so upset? It must be something awful; this isn’t like you. Then they will crumble into a ball of tears because the anger was just an attempt to hold it together.

People want to be seen so badly. It’s not just me.

Most of the people who try really hard to seem tough are people who have been beaten down. Life is really hard.

I’ve talked to several former students in the past few days. I ran into one at the convention. We were very happy to see one another.

I don’t fuck everything up. I fuck things up when my boundaries get muddy. When I want too much. When I’m too needy. When I ask for help or love or support that I know I have no hope of getting. Because I really don’t matter that much.

2 thoughts on “Trauma recovery

  1. inflectionpoint

    I think you make a really good point when you talk about how you worked with kids who were breaking rules.

    If more people used that approach, things might work better. I appreciate you explaining how you worked with them and how that might be from your background. I keep trying to find things about my own that are features and not bugs. Sometimes it is really hard.

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