For a long time I denied myself healing because I believed I hadn’t suffered enough. Although I’m an educator with a doctoral degree and a therapist with enough experience to recognize the signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, just thinking of myself as a trauma survivor turned off my compassionate professional assessment and turned on a taunting voice inside me that sneered:
Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But names will never hurt me.
I wanted a ferocious validating authority to take me by the shoulders, look me firmly in the eye, and say, “Sure, nobody in your family drank, or incested you, or beat you up. Still, you act and think and feel like somebody who was traumatized for the simple reason that you were traumatized, really subtly, over and over, by people who meant really well.”
It took 15 years, much research and soul searching to develop that validating authority within myself. Those critics who say “if it wasn’t physically violent, it wasn’t trauma,” no longer intimidate me. I’ve corrected that children’s rhyme so it feels true:
No sticks, no stones, no broken bones
But something traumatized me.
Now I am convinced that what I have come to call Chronic Covert Trauma is a real phenomenon with consequences that desperately need to be addressed. My imaginary ferocious validating champion has mellowed into an assured Chronic Covert Trauma-validating professional who is now here to help you.