Break Down the Walls
by Teresia Smith
If you are a victim of trauma, chances are you have a hard time accepting help and support from others. The reluctance to receive support from others is actually a trauma response. When you respond to someone’s offering of help with “I will just do it myself” or “I don’t need anyone” or “I am good on my own”, that is actually your survival skills coming into play. You have been conditioned to shield your heart due to abuse, neglect, letdown or any other number of negative life experiences. At some point, those who are supposed to be there for you weren’t there and now you have built a wall of protection.
Perhaps you grew up with an absentee parent and that experience left you feeling helpless. Maybe your parent abandoned you or maybe they were just busy working multiple jobs to pay the bills and there was no time to spend together. Possibly you have had intimate relationships with those who offered sexual intimacy but not a safe haven for your heart. Maybe you have family and friends who always take more from you than they ever give. Sometimes those who you think you can trust tell you “we’re in this together and I will help you” but then they abandon you and leave you to deal with the consequences. All of these situations feel like betrayals and hinder your ability to trust others.
So as you experienced these type things, you grew to feel you just couldn’t truly trust people. Instead you start telling yourself that if you refuse to rely on someone, then when they don’t show up for you then you won’t be disappointed. Because in your life experiences, they will always fail you, right? Maybe it wasn’t you but perhaps it was your mom or grandmother who lived through those hurts and they thought they were protecting you by teaching you this strategy as kind of an anticipatory protection against heartbreak.
So, you live life not trusting anyone, refusing to be vulnerable. But, as much as we want to find pride in our ability to live independently from anyone, it is really our wounded and broken heart that we keep behind a protective wall. We are determined to never be hurt again so no pain gets in. However, when you live behind a wall, not only do the painful things get kept out, good things like love and support also get kept out. It is a trauma response.
With work and time, trauma can be healed, if it is recognized and worked through. You deserve a full life – full of support and love. You are worthy of having someone tell you they will be there for you and they keep that promise. You are worthy of being loved, adored, and cherished and having someone protect your heart. You are worthy of having supportive friends in your life.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence, chances are you are probably dealing with a loss of trust in others. Crisis Services of North Alabama offers services to help you work through your trauma and break down walls that keep you from embracing a full life again. You can reach our Jackson County office at 256.574.5826 during normal business hours. You can also reach our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000 where trained crisis counselors are available to talk with you. You are not alone.