How Trauma Can Wire the Brain for Disempowerment (Updated!)

The part of the brain responsible for intuition, discernment, and critical thinking can get compromised when we have been traumatized as children. This is why some of us might get re-exposed to the same trauma as adults.

Childhood trauma can set the stage to more victimization in adulthood because we might put our trust in others without first checking in with ourselves. We might do this out of fear as trauma has taught us to fear (obey and believe) authority in a desperate attempt to prevent more trauma, but what this does (ironically) is make us more susceptible to trauma, toxic co-dependent relationships and susceptible to damaging advice from people we look up to. All sorts of victimization can remain on a loop until we see this pattern. This is particularly the case for those who fawn authority as a response to trauma.

It’s more complex than that. Childhood sex abuse had taught me I am worth no more than a piece of meat for others use as they please, so I became promiscuous when I was younger. I thought my job was to please men. I did not ever know that I could be something other than a person who pleases men. I didn’t think I was worth anything other than that. ….until I learned one day that my job wasn’t to please men and others, but to look after, respect and care for myself. It’s a long process to that place. It does not happen overnight.

Trauma can cause a loop of self-defeating behaviors until we become aware of what we are doing as a result of healing. No trauma is ever your fault. It’s the fault of the perpetrators. We have the power to change our patterns, however, once we notice them. Trauma recovery does just that. And it is very possible to live on the other side of pain.

“We are unconsciously automatically drawn to situations that will repeat the unresolved experiences of our past. If you want the freedom to create the life you want, then you have to heal the unresolved pain of the past.” (John Gray, Oprah, September 23, 1998) That cannot be done until we make the connection between how what happened in the past is now driving our present –and will, unless we confront the demons, drive our future.”

–Marilyn Van Derbur

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