Monday, December 30, 2013

Trauma is For OTHER People

The first time someone suggested that I'd been traumatized by my husband's addiction, I scoffed inside.  Look, I know this whole thing is super duper hard and confusing... but trauma?  It made me feel like some sort of feeble, crying, cowering, hurting woman.

Which I actually was.
But I didn't like *thinking* of myself in that light.

As I continued in my recovery, more trauma education rolled in, and I hated how much it resonated with what was going on in my life (or had gone on in the past).  And after a few months, I accepted it.

Hi, my name is Alicia and I'm a trauma survivor (sounds so much better than trauma victim, yes?).

A few days ago, I was watching a few videos online with my husband.  He had been up late the night before watching some innocent and clean music videos (The reality show sort where people with raw talent audition).  We watch them together a lot.
I held my crochet hook in my hand and focused on my stitches as my husband flipped through videos, "Watch this one, listen to this... honey, you gotta see this part."
The singers were beautiful women.  Talented women.  My heart began picking up pace.  My stitching became faster... as a young blonde with flawless skin took the stage, I couldn't take it anymore.
"I can't watch her anymore," I blurted out, "I just keep thinking how in the past you've ________________."
"Okay," my husband said and switched to a different video, "I promise there wasn't any lusting on my side, I just like the music."
But it was too late.  The reaction had hit.  Pretty soon, I couldn't see my stitches through my hot tears.  I set my project down and relocated to my bathroom.
I locked the door and took my place in the middle of the floor and let it come out.  I sobbed.  Really hard.
I prayed.  Really hard.
I could hear my sponsor's voice echoing in my head, "Alicia, your peace has been taken.  What can you do to get it back?"

I called my sponsor and left a voice mail.  I texted.
And then I did what any grown up girl would do and I hid under my covers.
*knock knock* "Honey, are you okay?"
"I want to be alone!"
"Is there anything you need that I can do?"
"No, just need to be alone."

And after I'd recovered somewhat, I let him in his own bedroom and began all over again... the tears, the shaking shoulders.  And through it all I just kept saying, "What the HECK?!  Why am I having such an intense reaction?"
"Because you've been dealing with trauma, and you have some pretty fresh wounds right now," my husband said.

There's that word again.  TRAUMA.
And now I fully embrace it because -friend -what happened the other day was crazy ridiculous.  To end up sobbing uncontrollably on my bathroom floor because a pretty girl with blond hair can sing nicely doesn't make any sense... unless there's underlying trauma that is triggered by pretty girls on screens, doin' what they do.
My fear of rejection that is still in full-bloom was triggered BIG time by something seemingly small.

And just like that, my peace was obliterated.

As I sat in Sunday School yesterday and gave myself my own sermon instead of listening (it happens, okay?), I found a scripture that hit home with me pretty hard:

Exodus 14:14, word for word:
And in one swift scripture, the One who I had always viewed as serene and calm became a solid, beefed up SOLDIER.

The Prince of Peace holds peace in so high a regard that He will FIGHT for it.

I think of King Benjamin on the front lines, fighting for peace.  I think of Abe Lincoln, fighting to preserve a Union.  These stalwart men each hold a small piece of the Lord -a peacemaking warrior.

The Savior is the ultimate definition of a man, and I can lean into Him, fall into His arms, knowing that while I'm in the midst of an intense trigger, He can comfort me with one hand and fight for me with the other.  My sacred reverence for God has taken on a new realm of admiration... I find myself admiring God as I do Teancum (have you READ about that guy?!) and it brings me an immense feeling of safety.

Safety is what I need most when I'm triggered.

Fight for me, God.  Fight for me.


  1. You have a gift to connect hearts. I cried during this post....being one of the
    OTHER people with trauma. I think maybe I'll start yoga. Thanks for sharing.

  2. thank you for the words and the scripture.

  3. i love this whole post.
    I have had plenty of those moments.. all the while i'm thinking What the hell?!?! it was just ____.
    trauma sucks.
    but i love what you found in the scriptures.... i truly love it with my whole heart!!!!! thank you for sharing it.. i'm going to read that often.

  4. I feel like this is exactly where I'm at now too!!! You're wonderful:)

  5. How have I never seen that scripture in that way before? So perfect for me today and my goals this coming year. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Beautiful post...thank you. Love the scripture and your insight into it. *hugs*