Excellent article. This is why it’s so important to treat an addict or alcoholic with respect, love and care, and to encourage them to get HELP.
“Did you know that those who experience something traumatic during their childhood are seven to 10 times more likely to abuse substances?”
“What are the leading causes of addiction? Could it be hereditary? What about peer pressure, poverty, or toxic stress? All of these can play a role, but there is another factor that is known to have a bigger impact.
You may have heard stories of those who have suffered from some sort of trauma ending up abusing drugs or alcohol. This is actually a lot more common than some may think. In fact, 75% of men and women who receive treatment for substance abuse report histories of abuse and trauma.
Physical or sexual violence occurring during childhood, neglect, and veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD are just a few scenarios that most of us have heard of before.
Many have “taken the edge off” after a stressful day of work before, so it makes sense that people who have suffered from some sort of traumatic event use drugs or alcohol to help numb their pain.
Unresolved Traumatic Events from Childhood Can Hinder Long-Term Recovery
Childhood trauma can be so impactful, even years after the abuse or neglect ends, because a child’s brain is still in development. The frequent and high levels of stress that occur while a child experiences something traumatic can impede brain development. Results from multiple studies have proven that this level of stress causes victims of childhood trauma to be more vulnerable to substance abuse in adulthood.
Experiencing physical or sexual violence, neglect, or other forms of abuse can affect anyone at any age. But these traumatic events imprint children differently. It’s much more impactful for children because they rely on their parents or other members of their family that they trust for guidance and protection. If these family members abuse that trust and are the cause of trauma for the child, they no longer have a support system that they desperately need.
Creating this foundation of toxic stress and trauma while a child’s brain is still developing basically wires their brain differently, and makes it much more difficult to grow and function normally as a child, and later on in adulthood.
It makes sense that an adult would feel anxiety, shame, and sorrow after going through something traumatic as a child, right? Survivors of childhood trauma usually need comfort, and sometimes that source of comfort is drugs or alcohol.
Another serious issue you may not be familiar with is how likely it is for veterans to be addicted to anxiety or pain medications, which are normally prescribed for PTSD diagnoses. Veterans can become addicted to medications like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Ambien. These drugs can offer an escape from the trauma they’re still experiencing in their minds, but is not a healthy way to cope with it. If an addiction has developed along with PTSD, it’s called a dual diagnosis and it’s important to reach out to a professional that treats both the PTSD and the addiction.”
Here is a true story proving psychic ability exists and is a real quality that humans possess. Not all psychics are authentic or honorable, but the ABILITY is real 🙂 This has been proven to me over and over again in my practice. I’ve seen and heard things that have no other explanation.
“Psychologist Imants Barušs once tested a medium by asking her to contact the spirit of physicist Richard Feynman and provide answers to specialist questions beyond the medium’s knowledge. Once contact was established, Barušs asked the spirit for the “fine-structure constant,” which is approximately 1/137. The medium answered, “Zero. Eight.” Barušs cut her off, saying that was incorrect. The spirit protested and mentioned something about a capital M. Barušs responded, “There is no capital M.”
A week later, Barušs’ colleague, Julia Mossbridge (capital M), heard of the encounter and shared this quote from Feynman:
“There is a most profound and beautiful question associated with the observed coupling constant, e–the amplitude for a real electron to emit or absorb a real photon. It is a simple number that has been experimentally determined to be close to 0.08542455. (My physicist friends won’t recognize this number, because they like to remember it as the inverse of its square: about 137.03597..)”
Any other physicist might have said 1/137, or 0.00729; but Feynman would have given √0.00729 or .08542455. BOOM.
[Paraphrased from I. Barušs and J. Mossbridge (2017), “Transcendent Mind: Rethinking the Science of Consciousness” (Washington, DC: APA), 193-4.]
By Dian Tinio
Updated June 16, 2019
“Oftentimes, we settle for what we think is right, acceptable and safe. We are so dominated by the idea of staying because it feels scary to move. Because it feels frightening to face a whole new environment without the people, the things, or the places we’ve been so used to.
We are so terrified by the idea of moving on, because we feel like we just can’t move on and leave things behind. We sacrifice our own being, our own happiness. We choose to compromise all these because we choose to stay, when we should really be moving on, moving forward.
If you’re unhappy, MOVE. Because if you’re meant to stay in one place, you should have roots, instead of feet.
If you’re unhappy with your job, quit. If you feel like, you’re no longer growing, no longer learning, if you’re no longer productive, if you’re only clocking in and out every single day – then move. If you’re constantly stressing over the fact that it drains you mentally, physically and emotionally, then move. If you’re thinking of just sticking with that job that never fails to suck your joy because it pays the bills and you might be “promoted” there and can call yourself “successful” and “happier” – NO. Your happiness does not depend on your success. Your success actually depends on your happiness. If you think there are new opportunities, new places, new things you can explore and will contribute to your soul and to your individual growth, then go there. If it’s worth your time thinking, then it’s worth trying. No one’s too old to try. Whether it ends good or bad, it’s still an experience. Let’s not forget that every experience teaches us a valuable lesson that we might never learn if we choose otherwise.
If you’re unhappy with the people you surround yourself with, leave. If you feel like they no longer influence you positively and you no longer prosper with them then leave. By leaving, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cutting them off of your life or you’re forgetting them forever, it just simply means that you are finally moving forward. The time you had with them was spectacular. There were learnings and encouragements but when they are no longer a vessel of such and all they do is drag you into settling for mediocrity, then maybe it’s time to say your “thank you” and “see you again”. You are just recognizing that you need to go on with your life, perhaps without them.
If you’re unhappy with your love life, end it. They aren’t the last people on earth. Romantic relationships are more than forehead kisses, dinner dates, tight hugs and sweet letters – romantic relationships just like any other vital connection you have, is supposed to mature with you. Romantic relationships are supposed to let you flourish and develop in every aspect of who you are. It is supposed to hearten you every morning and not weigh you down with doubts and resentments. If your partner becomes a constant instrument of heartache and toxicity, then cut them off. You are not obliged to burden yourself with such. They are supposed to be one of the top people who will propel you to be at your best, to motivate you and allow you to discover the extent of your grandeur. Remember that, always. Who knows, maybe in the near future you’ll meet someone who’ll contribute to your soul even more.
If you’re unhappy with your city, move. Don’t get stranded with comfort zones and safety nets. Familiarity is good but too much familiarity is not that good. A little risk and uncertainty can go a long long way. If you’re only staying because you feel it’s secured and because you’re already living there for a long while now that it is “home” or that it is “convenient” – well, you might want to re-think your decisions. Being comfortable can be a whole lot scarier than taking risks. You stopped conquering magnificent things when you start getting comfortable. Remember, great things come outside of our comfort zone. So pack your things, leave your city and move to another one if you must. Go out on this adventure to nowhere. Start anew. Search for a place you might like to visit, a place you might like to stay. Now is the time. Home is where your happiness is, not where it’s guarded.
If you’re unhappy with your life path, take any turn possible. Whether it is your college course or your career path, or your business direction – whatever path it is that you’re taking right now, if it reeks strong discontentment, then it’s the perfect time to take a pause and redirect yourself. If you’re taking a course you don’t like, shift. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to waste years, effort and money on something you never even love in the first place. It will only teach you to settle. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t embolden you, you’ll still feel devoid, exhausted. So it doesn’t really matter if you’re graduating next year, you better decide before you find yourself trapped in an office chair with loads of shitty work you don’t even understand and doesn’t enrich your passion. If you’re investing years of your precious time and expertise in a career path you’re not even appeased with, shift. If you don’t see yourself on the same path in the years to come, what’s the point? There is no right time to shift and leave, you do it when you feel like it. You do it when you’re unhappy. You do it now. Take on a new path, embrace diversity and development. Whatever path it is you’re in right now, if you’re unhappy, take a turn. Whether it is left or right, as long as you’re happy, you will not lose yourself.
If you’re unhappy with how you see life, move your sight. See life from a different view, a different perspective. Re-acquaint yourself with life. Worrying or over-thinking things don’t change how life is. Like they say, don’t stress over the things you can’t change. The only thing you can do is fix your eyes on a different light, see life in all its splendor. Stop viewing it for all its troubles. Life is beautiful.
If you’re unhappy where you are right now, move. It’s as simple as that, I don’t know why we make everything so complicated. Why we spend so much of our time and energy scrutinizing everything, when the only thing we should really be thinking about is our own happiness.
Thus, instead of dreading and over-examining every decision you need to make in your life, trust your guts. Sometimes, taking risks and clinging to perplexity is a good thing. You don’t always have to weigh the pros and cons of things, sometimes there is only one thing that really, truly matters and that is; your happiness, your passion for this life and your hunger for a contented heart. You don’t have to be sure of where you’re going or what the next step is; sometimes all you have to do is take the first step and that is to MOVE.”
“People who lose their parents early in life are like fellow war veterans. As soon as they discover that they are talking to someone else who has lost a parent, they know they are speaking the same language without uttering a word.” – Pamela Thomas
“Fatherless Daughter Syndrome” (colloquially known as “daddy issues”) is an emotional disorder that stems from issues with trust and lack of self esteem that leads to a cycle of repeated dysfunctional decisions in relationships with men. It can last a woman’s entire lifetime if the symptoms go unacknowledged and ignored.”
“Growing Up Without a Dad Shapes Who You Are” by McKenna Meyers
“It took six decades, but I can finally utter a huge truth that caused me tremendous shame and sadness: My father didn’t love me. I never spoke that deep, dark secret, but it was always festering inside of me. It manifested itself in many ways throughout my life as I struggled with a food obsession, low self-esteem, social anxiety, and depression.
Whether a dad was present but rejecting like mine or walked away from his fatherly duties entirely, his absence leaves an indelible mark on a daughter’s psyche as she grows into adulthood.
Below, you’ll find six ways a daughter may be affected by an uninvolved dad.
1. Fatherless Daughters Have Self-Esteem Issues
According to Deborah Moskovitch, an author and divorce consultant, kids often blame themselves when dad leaves the home and becomes less involved in their lives. When they aren’t given an explanation about why dad left, they make up their own scenario and jump to the conclusion that it’s their fault and that they’re unlovable.
This is especially true for daughters. Countless studies have shown that fatherlessness has an extremely negative impact on daughters’ self esteem. Her confidence in her own abilities and value as a human being can be greatly diminished if her father isn’t there. Academically, personally, professionally, physically, socially, and romantically, a woman’s self esteem is diminished in every setting if she did not form a healthy relationship with her father
2. Daughters With Absent Fathers Struggle to Build and Maintain Relationships
According to Pamela Thomas, author of Fatherless Daughters (a book that examines how women cope with the loss of a father via death or divorce), women who grew up with absent dads find it difficult to form lasting relationships. Because they were scarred by their dad’s rejection of them, they don’t want to risk getting hurt again. Consciously or unconsciously, they avoid getting close to people. They may form superficial relationships in which they reveal little of themselves and put very little effort into getting to know others. They may become promiscuous as a way of getting male attention without becoming too emotionally involved.
Ever since childhood, I’ve built walls around myself. I didn’t open up to people. I didn’t ask questions about their families, jobs, or hobbies. I kept my life private, and I remained socially isolated. These were all self-protective measures so I wouldn’t experience rejection like I did with my dad. Knowing this intellectually did nothing to help me change my behavior because my fear of rejection was more powerful than my desire to make connections.
3. Women With Absent Fathers Are More Likely to Have Eating Disorders
In their book The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders, the authors Marcia Herrin and Nancy Matsumoto write eloquently about the fact that girls with physically or emotionally absent fathers are at greater risk of developing eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating, body dysmorphia, unhealthy preoccupations with food or body weight, and other eating disorders are all more likely if a girl does not have a father figure as she’s growing up. Daughters without dads are also twice as likely to be obese. Because her longing to have a close relationship with her dad is denied, she may develop what Margo Maine (author of Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters, & Food) calls “father hunger,” a deep emptiness and a profound insecurity. Daughters are left wondering: What’s so wrong with me that my own father doesn’t love me? If I looked different—if I was thin—would I earn daddy’s love?
I’ve struggled with “father hunger” throughout my life—stuffing my face to fill the void, dieting to get model-thin, and always obsessing about food. My days have been filled with thoughts of eating—either doing it or struggling mightily not to. When I accepted that my dad didn’t love me and that he was an unhappy man with deep-rooted problems, I finally started eating normally and began maintaining a healthy weight. I began treating myself in a loving way by exercising, gardening, reading, walking in the woods, and spending time with family. For the first time in my life, I only thought about food when I was truly hungry. This freed me to enjoy my life in so many wonderful ways.
4. Daughters of Absent Fathers Are More Prone to Depression
Not surprisingly, girls who grew up with dads who were emotionally or physically absent are more likely to struggle with depression as adults. Because they fear abandonment and rejection, these women often isolate themselves emotionally. They avoid healthy romantic relationships because they don’t feel deserving and fear getting hurt, but they might jump into unhealthy relationships that ultimately lead to heartbreak. In either scenario, the women are in emotional peril and frequently become depressed. If they don’t deal with the cause of their sadness—an absent dad—they may never be able to develop healthy relationships with men.
To top it all off, data suggests that children without fathers are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
According to Denna Babul and Karin Louise, authors of The Fatherless Daughter Project, it’s helpful to simply realize that we’re not alone. In fact, one in three women see themselves as fatherless and struggle with feelings of abandonment. Knowing this fact helps us see that there’s a whole sisterhood out there who share a common pain and a need to connect. When we open up and share our journey, we help both ourselves and each other. Whether we feel the loss of a dad through death, divorce, drug addiction, estrangement, or emotional neglect, we must grieve in order to move forward. Read Five Steps to Heal Her Pain: How a Fatherless Daughter Can Move On From Her Dad’s Rejection for ideas on how to avoid falling into depression. A gifted therapist can be key to helping us do just that and becoming happier people.
5. Dadless Daughters Are More Likely to Become Sexually Active Earlier
Studies have shown the many benefits that come from a strong father-daughter bond. Most notably, girls who are close to their dads are less likely to get pregnant as teens. They delay engaging in sexual relationships, wait longer to get married and have children, and when they do find a husband, their marriages are more emotionally satisfying, stable, and long-lasting.
Countless studies also show that women who have unstable or absent paternal relationships are more likely to start having sex earlier and engage risky sexual behaviors. Daughters are four times more likely to get pregnant as a teen if dad isn’t in the picture. Studies show that more than 70% of unplanned teenage pregnancies occur in homes where there is no father.
6. Abandoned Daughters Are Susceptible to Addiction
As with depression, eating disorders, and low self esteem, the absence of a father can trap a daughter in a negative repetitive pattern she can’t easily break out of and turn to drugs to self-medicate and help numb the pain. She is more likely to find herself trapped in a cycle of substance abuse, for example. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Not only are kids in father-absent households about four times more likely to be poor (which can trigger many negative cycles), fatherless adolescents were found to be 69% more likely to use drugs and 76% more likely to commit crimes.
Can a Daughter Survive Without a Father?
Try as I might, I was never been able to get any traction, always making a mess of this or that and never able to form long-lasting friendships. I rejected happiness because I never felt worthy of it. I did so much to sabotage my life and make myself miserable.
Then last year my older sister revealed to me that she, too, had felt unloved by him. I immediately felt enormous relief and then great euphoria. I realized it had never been about me—that I was bad, ugly, stupid and undeserving. It had always been about him—his unhappy childhood, his cold mother, his negative nature, and his dissatisfaction with being a husband and father. It had never been about me…never.
I could finally shout: “You were a piece of crap and now I’m done with you! I’m not your prisoner any more!”
According to Caitlin Marvaso, AMFT, a grief counselor and therapist, to recover from a father’s abandonment, a woman “must learn how to father herself, hold herself, and receive the type of love a father provides. It is a lifelong process, but with the proper support, tools, and patience, it is totally possible. That being said, the grief and pain never goes away, it just changes.”
A daughter whose father abandoned her can grow, thrive, learn, excel, succeed, love and be loved, and live a wonderful life when she realizes that the problem isn’t her, it’s him. This is the first step toward healing.
What Is Fatherless Daughter Syndrome?
“Fatherless Daughter Syndrome” (colloquially known as “daddy issues”) is an emotional disorder that stems from issues with trust and lack of self esteem that leads to a cycle of repeated dysfunctional decisions in relationships with men. It can last a woman’s entire lifetime if the symptoms go unacknowledged and ignored.
Does the Reason Affect the Result of Fatherlessness?
Half of the daughters in the US self-identify as having no father in their lives, but the reasons for that fatherlessness vary. Approximately 28% lost their connection to their dads via divorce or separation, while 26% cite emotional absence as the reason for the estrangement. 19% lost their fathers to death, 13% to abandonment, 13% to addiction, 12% to abuse, and 4% to incarceration. 6% say they never met their father.
Certainly, a daughter whose loving dad passed away when she was 15 will be affected differently than a daughter whose father abandoned her when she was born. Unfortunately, many studies do not account for the reasons for fatherlessness.
The effects of fatherlessness can be mitigated by many factors. Daughters who were brought up in households with two moms, a loving and very-involved step parent, or participating grandparents or other extended family members will probably not experience the same lasting wounds and negative impact of a father’s abandonment.
What Are the Emotional Effects of Being Abandoned by a Father?
Compared to those with healthy paternal relationships, fatherless women report…
feeling less happiness and lower levels of well-being,
higher levels of frustration, anger, and anger-related depression,
difficulty navigating the emotions of intimate relationships, and
overwhelming fears of abandonment.
What Are the Psychological Effects of an Absent Father?
To summarize, depression, suicide, eating disorders, obesity (and its effects), early sexual activity, addiction-formation, and difficulty building and holding on to loving relationships are all side-effects of an absent father.
Arya Stark from the series “Game of Thrones” has fascinated me from the beginning. Now that we are at the end, I’m going to miss this character and the show itself. There is a rich, diverse, cast of characters in GoT, but I’ve loved watching Arya’s growth from the horrifying trauma she survived as a young girl, to the incredible woman she has become. This article addresses that very issue, and I found it to be full of insights for everyone. There are definitely spoilers here, so watch Season 8 first!
Here are the main five:
1. Her heightened instincts and ability to sense danger with alarming precision
As a child, Arya is trained by Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) to be as “swift as a deer, quiet as a shadow, calm as still water.” She also learns that fear cuts deeper than swords. These are all lessons that will inevitably help her to defeat the Night King. Arya’s training with Syrio lays the crucial foundation for her sword-fighting abilities, but it is actually the dangerous incidents she is forced to confront head-on in everyday life that challenge and hone her ability to identify and navigate danger skillfully. It is in her life experiences after her initial training that give her the platform to utilize these lessons. From living on the streets of King’s Landing to fighting a trained assassin from Braavos while temporarily blind, Arya learns to defend herself against a variety of perpetrators even when she is just a child on the cusp of womanhood.
Many of us are familiar with the term “hypervigilance,” a state of hyper-attunement we can develop to our surroundings due to trauma. Arya develops it in spades as she learns to evade danger in every corner. Often, hypervigilance is seen as a negative symptom of trauma, but actually, there are times our heightened attentiveness can be useful for our discernment of someone else’s true motives and character. According to researcher Willem Frankenhuis, people who have been abused in childhood can develop what Dr. Michael Ungar calls “an uncanny ability to detect threats in their environment, an enhanced capacity to learn new things, and even improved memories when it comes to paying attention to parts of their environment that are the most relevant.”
As therapist Athena Phillips writes in a 2012 article for GoodTherapy:
“Survivors of trauma regularly inform me of what they experience as something akin to having superpowers. The capacity to feel things other people can’t, to identify either the goodness or inherent evil in someone just by looking at them, or to ‘predict’ interpersonal outcomes are some of the new-found abilities people have described. People who have experienced trauma often indicate that they are able to pick up on covert human behaviors, and there is a great deal of trust in their capacity to intuit. Oftentimes, these powers really do exist; survivors have developed a discriminating aptitude for picking up on environmental cues that may have significance to them.”
2. Her fragmented sense of identity and search for her true identity and wholeness.
Trauma creates fragments: It shatters the connection among memories, thoughts, emotions, and the self. Complex trauma survivors often find themselves confronting disparate inner parts that developed as a result of the traumas they endured; according to trauma experts, they must find ways to identify and integrate these parts in healthy ways in order to reach their true core calm and compassionate self. Much like any complex trauma survivor, Arya tries to escape the terrors of her childhood by taking on other identities and dissociating from her past except for her justified rage at those who murdered her family members. Arya’s need for vengeance ultimately creates a “protector self” that keeps her focused on a list of people she must kill rather than her true self and her grief.
Arya’s search for her own identity is also astutely represented by her brutal experiences at Braavos where she learns to become “no one” in her training to become a Faceless Man and assassin. There, she is beaten, terrorized, and challenged to fight back. Ironically, it is her journey to becoming no one that eventually leads her to own the fact that she is indeed someone. As she tells Jaqen H’ghar bravely and with conviction, “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I am going home.” It is only when she integrates her darkness within her true self, recognizes her true power and strength from the traumas she has emerged from, that she decides she is going home. She goes home not just to her family but to herself.
3. Her post-traumatic growth and psychological self-mastery
As therapist Andrea Schneider notes shrewdly in her Game of Thrones blog series, characters who have endured trauma on this show can exhibit promising signs of post-traumatic growth, the positive psychological changes we benefit from after enduring adversity. While regaining a pre-trauma identity is next to impossible for characters like Arya, her post-traumatic growth is tremendous.
Not only does Arya learn to incorporate the life lessons of her trauma into her sword fighting and archery skills, she learns psychological mastery. She learns the art of resourcefulness even when she has nothing. She learns how to stealthily collect information (like when she does when acting as cupbearer to Tywin Lannister) to further her journey. She learns a great deal about patience, self-control, confidence, observing rather than reacting, and how to put herself in the mindset of her attackers and predators around her so she can anticipate what they will do—and can preemptively strike. As a result of her traumas, she gains wisdom and skill sets beyond her years, which many adults in the show are still struggling to obtain.
Arya has no explicit desire to be a leader or queen, but her ability to lead due to her experiences make her more fit for the throne than many others who seek it for personal power. It is her desire for justice, rather than power, that makes her unstoppable. Complex trauma survivors experience many of these same psychological benefits as they process, heal, and grow from their traumas. They can learn to navigate life with an increased sense of gratitude, fortitude, and develop a habit for making the best of their circumstances to create success and joy at an even more intense level than someone who has never been traumatized. As they heal, they have an incentive, drive, and determination that can far surpass that of the average person, as well as a greater sense of meaning.
It is only when Arya Stark integrates her darkness within her true self and recognizes her true power that she decides she is going home.
4. Her darkness has to be integrated in order to fully own her light.
Arya is a curious character in that she is not encouraged to forgive those who have wronged her or took the lives of her loved ones. That is what makes her one of the most phenomenal female characters on television: her darkness is not minimized or sugarcoated. It is recognized, along with her authentic outrage, in all of its unflinching glory. And skilled trauma therapists agree: forced, premature forgiveness can actually hinder a survivor’s journey because it invalidates how we really feel and does not give us the time or space to actually process our traumas.
Trauma therapist Anastasia Pollock puts it this way:
“The people I work with in the therapy room are resilient and courageous. They are able to work through their traumas, but many get caught up on one point: They believe they are supposed to forgive the perpetrator but can’t seem to get there. This is what I tell them: You don’t have to forgive in order to move on. Emotions are important and automatic. When we can acknowledge and appreciate even the darkest, most negative-feeling emotions, they often soften and release. As soon as I say, ‘You don’t have to forgive,’ the person usually breathes a sigh of relief.”
Unlike a woman who turns the other cheek and goes immediately into love and light without any kind of transformation beforehand, Arya turns to her sword, Needle, to deliver a much-needed message to perpetrators like Walder Frey (David Bradley). The North remembers, and so does she. She avenges her loved ones one by one, and when she does, we can’t help but cheer from the sidelines.
Although in real life this form of vigilante justice is unrealistic, not recommended and quite gory (none of us should be baking our enemies into pies—we’d have a more productive time processing our traumas in therapy), we learn an important lesson about trauma: it cannot be spiritually bypassed. Our so-called “dark” emotions must be acknowledged in order to fully own our true light. The outrage and rage we feel must be seen, heard, experienced, confronted and (while perhaps not shown on this show) healthily expressed in order to be healed. Whether Arya’s quest for revenge is misplaced is up for debate, but one thing is for sure: this young woman is not your typical depiction of a trauma survivor who forgives and forgets her way into healing. Yet her intense emotions are an all too real part of this journey.
5. Her resilience and strength would not be the same without her experiences.
While none of us would ever volunteer for the traumas we experienced, we can’t help but admit that we would not be who we are without them. We can still validate and honor the injustice of our traumas while acknowledging the internal resources and coping skills they granted us. Trauma can give us the strength and resilience of a sumo wrestler, and Arya is no exception. As whole families are killed, legacies wiped out, and kingdoms come under siege, Arya remains—one of the few survivors of her family. A weary traveler and warrior, she is forced to confront what no child should have to endure. But she does endure, and she is better for it.
At the end, it is this little girl who grows up to be the warrior woman—who ultimately conquers the darkness. No one expected her or saw her coming. Everyone underestimated her. And therein lies her greatest power. It was the traumas of her past that gave her the ability to defeat the Night King, to avenge her loved ones, and to protect her community. Complex trauma survivors, too, are capable of this same kind of resilience—and the ability to give back what they never received.
Arya is every little girl who grew up in terror and trauma. Who survives impossible situations through her resilience, grit, talent, and determination. Whose identity is previously in fragments, only to become whole as she comes into the woman she was always meant to be. And yes, she is truly ruthless when it comes to her enemies. Yet it is perhaps her ability to own her demons that make her even more powerful when she’s avenging her loved ones, enacting some sweet justice and saving the world. We can all learn life lessons about trauma from this brilliant, multifaceted and truly one of a kind character. She is all of us who have survived—and thrived.
This article originally appeared on Psych Central as “5 Powerful Lessons Arya Stark from Game of Thrones Teaches Us About Complex Trauma Survivors” 🔥
by Shahida Arabi: a bestselling author of three books on emotional abuse and trauma.
“Women, in general, are conditioned to hinge our value and self worth on how well we can please others, what we can provide for them, how well we take care of them — because our safety, our social status, our success in the world depends on it.”
This article is such a great read! It illustrates some of the common experiences of women in relationships. I related to most of what the author sets forth here – not just in my romantic history but across the board in many different types of partnerships!
Here are some excerpts from the full article:
“My husband used to sigh a lot. He’d do it even when nothing was wrong. Sighs punctuated his sentences. He’d plop down with them, rise from his seat with them. He never noticed himself doing it, but I did. It became a point of contention in our house. Each time he sighed was like nails on the chalkboard of my soul — I felt a visceral need to get to the source of it.
“What’s wrong?” I’d always ask, immediately stressed.
I would try to get him to assign the sigh a cause and he would assert that it was meaningless and to ignore it. I could never let it go, though. Because his sighs felt like soft accusations, made worse by the fact that I could not resolve an unspecified slight. His sighs signaled discontent, and I have been groomed by society to believe that his discontent is unwaveringly my responsibility. And so somewhere buried beyond my ability to transcend, every sigh felt like a declaration that I was disappointing him. And for many women, an accusation of being disappointing, no matter how soft, always feels like a threat of disposability….
And so when men express displeasure, many of us compensate. We remain on high alert for potential problems. We become so good at deterring disappointment, we anticipate needs before they have to be vocalized. We tidy messes before the messes are even made. Even this fixation is a disappointment to many men. Women are deemed neurotic, anxious, and uptight by men who only get to consider themselves easygoing because they’ve never reconciled their nature with the ways women shield them from discomfort. There are men kept so warm within the worlds women create that they forget that it’s winter, forget that generating warmth requires energy.
The other day after a very long day with my kids I mustered the energy to clean. On my hands and knees I picked up tiny pieces of hot pink play-dough, dozens of scattered toys. My son came behind me and undid it all within minutes. Something shifted in me.
“You saw that mommy went through all that effort to keep the house clean, right?”
“Yes, Mommy, Mickey Mouse,” he said, his eyes on the tv. He wasn’t listening.
I got up and turned it off, and told him to pick up his toys. He threw himself to the ground in a tantrum, and I let him lay there until he was done. I decided his disappointment was his own problem to resolve.
The way to prevent raising sons who would dispose of me for disappointing them is not to never disappoint them. It’s to teach them to be comfortable with their own disappointment. To allow myself some humanity and make them responsible for navigating their feelings. I am doing myself, them, and other women a disservice in not doing so. In a world where men feel entitled to women’s bodies, time, and labor — it’s imperative to teach them otherwise. That requires a little disappointment on their end.
…If I want to make myself comfortable in my own life, I have to decide to not be deterred by the disappointment of others. Not doing so means being chronically disappointed in myself. I am teaching myself to let people down for my own sake, no matter their power. Because power over myself is the only power not contingent on others. Power over myself can’t be taken away, only relinquished.”