Terrible Thoughts From My Past
(Hope, BC, Canada)
I am a 55 year old nurse who has suffered trauma. At a very young age of 6, I witnessed my 4 year old little brother being beaten by our step-father. I was beaten too, however, I think and hear only of my brother and his screams. I wish with all my heart I could have helped him. I have had a life of feeling helpless.
I have managed to be a good Mom and now a Grandmother, but there is nothing that has been able to distract me from all those memories and thoughts. I have nightmares and I avoid thinking of so many things. But it is draining.
Our situations are so different but I know so many of you feel like I do. I am certain you did the best you possibly could and so did I. I often think nothing could have prepared me for what I went through. I'm sure you feel the same.
Thank you for being there right now. It is amazing how even putting this into print makes me feel better, despite the tears. I wish you a peaceful night, in peaceful dreams. With Love, Karen.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Karen, and thank you so much for your heart-felt story. I'm glad that writing for this site has helped you to feel better. That's what it's here for.
I think I can help you with your nightmares and repetitive thoughts about your brother. I understand that your desire to protect him as his older sister was very, very strong. That is actually stronger than your desire to protect yourself, and that's why you don't think about what happened to you.
However, focusing on your brother could also be a way of avoiding looking at your own trauma, which could explain why you've been stuck in this post traumatic stress all of your life.
Here is what I suggest:
1) Start by doing the "Trauma Writing" exercise you will find on this page. Regardless of how sketchy your memories are, write about all you can recall regarding the abuse to you and your brother, and any other family members. Try to look upon these memories as a loving grandmother having compassion for wounded children. It is important that you write all of the stories in complete detail, and do not share them with anyone--unless that person is a totally trusted, healthy confidant.
2) Next, I want you to do these imagery processes for emotional healing, regarding each of the traumatic memories you recalled in your writing. This is a powerful process, and I am sure that it will help you to feel a lot better. I used this process to help my own father deal with his war trauma, and his nightmares are greatly diminished as a result.
Karen, you are obviously a good and kind person. Do these exercises out of love for yourself. You have all that you need to heal and become whole.
Feel free to write again, if you like.
I wish you a peaceful night, and peaceful dreams as well.
My very best to you,