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On the Road to Childhood Trauma Recovery: Rules #5, #6, and #7 Streamline Survivors' Learning

Rule #5 offers honest insight into the activities that will be necessary to thoroughly move from surviving life to thriving in life and relationships. It declares that when it comes to childhood and intergenerational trauma, "Healing requires training, education, and empathy... for all." It goes on to differentiate between education, training, and empathy. Education offers information that is necessary for healing from childhood trauma by better understanding the complexities of trauma recovery. For example, while most people are familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd), many survivors do not understand that they are more likely struggling with complex-ptsd (c-ptsd) than with ptsd (or another common misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder). The information about Trauma Lies may be confusing at first, but, once understood, this information massively changes the way that couples may understand their conflicts with one another.

Next is training, which refers to repetitive behaviors that cause survivors to learn new skills. Unlike educational information, which is received in a largely passive process, training requires a great deal of disciplined effort on the part of the survivor. Learning new skills is absolutely required to heal from childhood trauma, and therefore training is necessary.

Finally, empathy - the ability to feel the emotions of others - is also necessary for thoroughly healing from traumatic childhood experiences. And this mature skill of empathy must be applied to everyone involved, even the abusers, if one is serious about maximally reducing intergenerational trauma from their life and family.

Rule #6 introduces the simple concept: "Control is good... especially good control." This rule acknowledges that a traumatized child naturally wants to establish some kind of control that reduces the likelihood of further traumas, but the chapter goes on to differentiate good (healthy) versus bad (unhealthy) control tactics and dynamics. This introduces another 'simple but not easy' situation in which survivors start the process of learning healthy forms of self- and other-control (self-soothing, communication, self-advocacy, etc.) skills so that they can let go of their bad control habits.

Rule #7 dives into the challenging task of processing key emotions in a more healthy, therapeutic fashion than most survivors are accustomed to. The rule clarifies how survivors can set themselves up for rapid future growth by first learning to successfully "remove shame, learn from guilt, show remorse, and build esteem." Guilt refers to one's acknowledgement that their behaviors caused harm to another person. Showing remorse refers to that person's action of apologizing for that damage done. Shame, especially toxic shame, refers to that person apologizing for their own deplorable existence (instead of their behaviors). Once survivors understand this clarification, they can set themselves to the task of removing toxic shame so that they can better learn from their emotions of guilt, as well as their interactions when expressing remorse for their guilty actions. Throughout this process, they steadily earn esteem from both others and themself.

Rules #5, #6, and #7 streamline the learning process for survivors to more efficiently absorb future therapeutic interventions. Once they stop apologizing for their existence, they can more objectively (and empathically) analyze and learn from each situation.

Learn more about these concepts (and the other 17 rules) in Ernest Ellender, PhD's book, This Is How We Heal From Painful Childhoods: A Practical Guide for Healing Past Intergenerational Stress and Trauma.

Intergenerational childhood trauma recovery (heal from cptsd) Ernest Ellender, PhD
Childhood Trauma Recovery (Heal from C-PTSD): Intergenerational Trauma

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