My childhood trauma left a deep scar in me but I did not know that... My coping mechanism became to be hardworking and became a perfectionist little lady. I wanted to prove that I am as capable as a boy, let it be football, languages, or history. The perfect student, perfect worker, strong person, the pleaser, the one who is always saying yes. Even if I felt stress, I was always unable to say no, compulsively taking charge of other people's needs…
…which led to a burnout in 2019.
This perfectionist style of living worked for 30 years as a good coping mechanism. However, the burnout shed a light on my PTSD that I did not know I had. I am convinced that this did not happen by chance. My body gave me the sign and the opportunity to deal with this stress and anxiety and I am grateful for that. I started to learn how to better listen to my body and how to balance my life.
Since then, prevention of domestic violence became a key fight for me: I linked my passion to jewellery making with this cause and created Tulipane Design in 2020. It is not only about selling jewelries but also about building a community of women who want to actively engage in the domestic violence prevention.
Things that I wish I knew then and that I know now…
· Prevention is everything: transgenerational trauma is a proven fact and I found out that my dad was also beaten by his father when he was small. So, I am confident that our generation can stop this cycle if we work on ourselves and spread the attitude of non-violence.
· Asking questions is not wrong: I thought asking questions about the past is wrong, at least I had a hard time to ask my mum about the past. I only heard my grandparents talk about the story, but we never discussed it with my mum.
· Asking for help is not a shame: my mum did not ask for help for six years but then she escaped and this saved our lives. Not asking for help can indeed cost the lives of entire families. Get up, speak up and ask your sisters for help. We are together in this.
If people experience a similar story to mine, I would just tell them…
· Living with PTSD and rebuilding is tough and we should not be hard on ourselves.
In my case it took me 30 years to get to therapy so I cannot expect healing in a miraculous short moment. We should allow ourselves to take the time to heal.
To me personally blog writing helps a lot. I am writing about my difficulties of living with anxiety and how to build something positive on that foundation.
· Doing therapy is indeed a difficult path: confronting my demons to become a better person and to have inner peace is a bumpy road. The exercises I do with my therapist help me deal with this post-traumatic stress. I am gaining greater self-confidence that I can do this and I am getting better in my stress management. I am just a better person since I do therapy.
· There is no healing without rage -I learned quite late that I had a lot of rage towards my father, which manifested in my dreams after therapy. And that was an important step in my healing process.
· It takes some effort to make peace with the past... I think that is what keeps me going, because knowing more about your past can help reduce my fears and anxieties. At least it works for me…
· It takes a series of small steps to end the cycle of violence. If we want to become responsible parents and avoid the transmission of such trauma to the next generation, we can start with small steps such as therapy, coaching, mindfulness. Many of us feel a big burden on our shoulders as violence had already been passed down through several generations in our families. We should start letting go and focus on little steps in our lives.
Of course this is only my own experience and I am really interested to learn about how this process is going in your life.
What is your coping mechanism?
What do you know now that you did not know before on your trauma and healing?
What would you tell people who experienced violence? Would you give them any advice?
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