I did, and do still at times, suffer from developmental trauma. To clarify I did not suffer physical or sexual abuse and some of my trauma was of no fault of anyone, but rather associated with early illness and surgery. My search for recovery is not focused on blame, but for understanding and clarification. My parents loved me in the best way they could, but they grew up in families that suffered, and consequently they suffered too, and so did I.
[ Developmental trauma and complex PTSD
Developmental trauma refers to a type of stressful event that occurs repeatedly and cumulatively, usually over a period of time, and within specific relationships and contexts (Courtois, 2004). Childhood abuse (sexual, emotional, and physical) and neglect (physical and emotional) constitute typical forms of chronic traumatization. Not rarely, families with dysfunctionalities such as, for instance, affect dysregulation among family members may also be developmentally traumatizing for the offsprings (Ozturk & Sar, 2005).
Accordingly, rather than being merely an anxiety dominated response to a single traumatic event, the body of evidence drives clinicians and researchers to conceptualize PTSD also in terms of a maladaptive, long-lasting, and multi-dimensional consequence of chronic, early, and interpersonal (developmental) traumatization that is known to be the essence of Complex PTSD. ]
In my search for healing I have relied on many resources for recovery; a recovery that is never complete, but one that has progressed over many years into a substantial and noticeable change in the quality of life relative to the suffering and maladaptive life of my prior years. Years spent largely without insight into myself. My borderline defenses, which included denial and splitting, did succeed at keeping the pain and anxiety away from my conscious awareness, but at a price to my development and life.
I was consciously unaware of the split off part of myself that held memories of deep pain, trauma, terror, depression, all elements of a dark, immature and distorted perception of self, others and the world.
Following years of therapy in my early and mid fifties there came about a drastic shift. At the end of August in 2016 my previously denied dark side broke through what had been (before therapy) a very rigid defense structure. I was not prepared for the access to and the flooding of this previously defended against wound and all the associated subjective hell that engulfed me for an unrelenting four months of torture, before I began to experience long periods of relief and a feeling of being more of myself once again.
Along with God, therapy, and minimal use of medication, I have greatly benefited from the literature I have studied that has lent me an in-depth understanding of my mental health dilemma. And though my psychoeducational experience through books is not sufficient in and of itself, it has been crucial to my recovery.