Children who experience trauma during the vital brain developmental years become vulnerable to long-term detrimental effects. The brain is simply wired differently from constant exposure to either real, or perceived, life-threatening situations.
Healing this level of trauma is much more complicated then the traditional Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.
Youth need comprehensive therapy and support systems to foster their ability to remain steadfast in their recovery and essentially re-mapping their brain to respond to daily stimuli in a way that will allow for a functional life.
This is a poem I had written on a day that I began to forgive myself for the painful situations I was unable to save myself from as an adolescent. My hope is to be an inspiration to other survivors of traumatic upbringing to find their inner strength, but we do not do it alone.
I see you there child
I am sorry you felt so alone
I could not comfort you
I am sorry for all those terrifying nights when you thought it was over
I could not protect you
I am sorry the emotional pain kept out weighing the physical
I could not stop them
I am sorry you saw ugliness and rejection in the mirror everyday
I failed to wipe your tears
I am sorry you had to run and hide all those years
I could not find you
I am sorry your soul was crushed & your body dismantled
I could not put you back together back then
I am sorry you had to medicate night after night
I could not hide the medicine
I am sorry you lost hope on the bathroom floor, hospital bed, police car, hotel room
I could not pick you up
But I want you to know…
I did not abandon you
I was covered by your shame, your parent’s shame, and their parent’s shame…
I tried to find you
BUT Take heart. Izabella has brought me to you, I’m here to stay
I got you sweetie, the nightmare is over now.
I have watched you transform, there’s no turning back
From this day forth
I will give you all the things you never had
I will hold you tight
I will protect you
I will strengthen you
I will love you dearly
I will hold your hand through all your victories
I will wipe your tears
I will delight your heart with friendships & romance
I have restored you
Please forgive me! I beg you.
Robin Rivera is a consultant and trainer, as well as a researcher for Runaway Girl