The Writing Process & Childhood Trauma

It's been a long time since I've written anything. Or should I say, published anything. I've been writing, but none of my writing has seen the light of day yet cuz I'm still workin'.

In January, three days into the New Year, I went through a break-up.

Can I just say how fucking challenging it is to deal with a break-up during COVID, when you live alone, right after the holidays, in the dead of winter in Canada?

Thank God, and I literally mean that, THANK GOD for my friends. I wouldn't have gotten through without their support.

The break-up was hard because, well, all break-ups are hard I guess.

But I found it especially challenging because of all of the insights that have been hitting me since then.

Anyone who knows me knows that I live my life around the words of Socrates where he says "The unexamined life is not worth living." It is in my very nature to examine and seek to understand why in order to explain it to myself and others in an easy to digest manner.

That's what I've been working on, and that's where my writing journey is taking me again.

First I live an experience.

Then I sit with it. Reflect on it. Ascertain what exactly I've learned, and then tell everyone else about it.

For the duration of the fall and through the holidays, I was in a relationship. I was living the experience. It was a tumultuous experience, incredibly emotionally challenging, but as is the case with all relationships, it gave me the opportunity to look at my emotional shit.

Now, two and a half months after the break-up, I've been reflecting, reading self-help books (aka doing biblio-therapy), and writing.

(I've also been crying and eating my feelings. Mmm...tasty tasty feelings...)

My relationship with my ex, who I will refer to here and in my future posts as "Mr. Brightside" was the last dysfunctional relationship I will ever have with an emotionally unavailable, emotionally immature man. He was my epiphany relationship.

The details of this epiphany and my journey to getting there is what my upcoming writing will be about.

"Throughout your relationship history, you’ve had breakups and no doubt felt that whatever happened had galvanized change, only for you to find yourself in a similar or worse situation all over again.

However when you truly experience self-defining, life-galvanizing change as a result of a relationship, you’ve experienced an Epiphany Relationship. The sudden clarity and insight into that particular relationship, yourself, your actions, and potentially all of your experiences, creates a defining moment where you can’t escape the truth and it becomes life changing."

The best way I can think to describe where I am right now is that a veil has been lifted. Before Mr. Brightside, the details of my repetitive and dysfunctional relationship patterns were hazy and opaque. I knew something wan't right but I couldn't verbalize it in such a way as to explain it so that I could see it coming and steer clear.

But now I can.

Mr. Brightside was the straw that broke the camel's back. The experience of dating him was the critical mass of dysfunction I needed in order to make a drastic shift in how I view myself and what I expect from relationships.

The journey has been painful and heartbreaking, and as is the case with most (all?) dysfunction, it all leads back to childhood trauma. Yeah, I know; that stinking pile of garbage again. We just can't get away from it; the only thing we can do is examine and assimilate it in order to free ourselves emotionally from what ails our souls.

"If CPTSD [Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] were ever given its due, the DSM [The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] used by all mental health professionals would shrink from its dictionary like size to the size of a thin pamphlet. In other words, the role of traumatized childhoods in most adult psychological disorders is enormous."

CHILDHOOD TRAUMA: the unending gift basket of emotional dysfunction that none of us want but that we all have, to some degree.

I started my writing process shortly before the break-up actually. (I knew before the break-up that we are going to break-up, I just didn't know when.) But what I thought was going to be one blog post, turned into two, turned into more than a dozen...and on and on.

However, as I wrote, I realized the story was directionless because I didn't really know what I was trying to say. I hadn't yet had all of the necessary insights and epiphanies that really cemented the experience in such a way that I could clearly say "Ok guys, so here's what happened, and here's why it happened, and here's how to NEVER DO IT AGAIN."

But then enter biblio-therapy: the reading of self-help books in order to find answers. And boy did I ever find answers!

Now, I am doing actual therapy with a licensed professional, but it's just not enough for me. I process very fast and my mind wants a thousand answers now which is simply beyond the scope of an average therapy session. Therefore, books.

My upcoming writing will be built liberally around excerpts from the books that have helped me the most. This is where I am now in the writing process: taking notes from all of those books, putting them under their relevant dysfunctional themes (e.g. boundaries, dissociation, over-responsibility, emotional immaturity, etc.) and then finding the ways that my relationship with Mr. Brightside illustrates those dysfunctions in a way that clarifies the dysfunction to me so that I don't repeat the pattern, and which might clarify it to you so that you can relate to it in a way where you can apply it to your own life.

Not gonna lie, it's slow going at times, because it's not just about doing the writing, it's about doing the emotional work and dealing with the pain as I go.

This means that sometimes, I have to step back from it because I can't emotionally handle more than a few hours of digging into my painful feelings on a daily basis. Some days, I can't handle it at all.

Right now for example, I'm mourning the loss of what I and my life could have been if I hadn't had abusive and emotionally neglectful parents. (Why yes, that is the basket of peaches it sounds like.)

The problem with gathering insights into why we feel a certain way about ourselves, and why we've struggled in particular situations, is that we (often) inevitably find out it wasn't our fault.

Our parents were broken people who likely didn't heal from their own childhood traumas, and they then perpetrated that trauma onto us, their children.


Because even though it was their fault, it's now our responsibility to do something about it.

AND THAT'S FUCKING UNFAIR!!! (What do you mean I gotta clean up your shit now? You know what? No! Fuck YOU.)

But...(sigh) is what it is. 

The only way to break that cycle of repetitive trauma is to examine it.

And that's why I'm doing this work.

I'm doing it to end the cycle of dysfunction that has gone back for I don't know how many generations in my family.

And I'm doing it to free myself.

It's time for me to re-claim my life because I am not the person I was born to be. Not just yet because there's still some mud left on my wings that's preventing me from really taking off.

I am on the right path though. I know that for sure.

This writing will be challenging in many ways but I know in my heart it's the key to living the life I was always meant to live. It's the key to my happiness.

Maya Angelou said that when we know better, we do better.

And I know better now.

I'm looking forward to telling you all about it, whenever my process and writing allow it.

And with that...onwards I go.


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