If one is lucky enough not to be left with a personality disorder, then apart from working on oneself, I think healing can come from the right other person / people. The logic is that usually, other people put the trauma there, and only other people can take it away again.
I suppose it depends on the nature, duration and degree of trauma and abuse along with the susceptibility of the victim to damage. On a personal level i have seen too many victims who are fucked up decades after the abuse. I have also read some science crap suggesting that the extent of damage and various ways it affects victims is scary.
I suspect that all anybody can do is the best they can. Eat well. Exercise. And if possible have a loving partner to support you. Friends are good too. Life is not always easy under the best of circumstances. Cherish the good moments. When shit feels heavy to me i love to go outside at night to behold a brilliant night sky. It makes it so clear to me that aint none of us jack shit and none of our problems mean a hill of shit so i approach life and problems with humility and a curious appreciation for its absurdity.
I think that depends on what you mean by healed? I'm not sure how you envision it. If you mean being restored to a state similar to that before the trauma took place, then I'd say that's not possible. If you mean being able to function in society with everyday people again, then I'd say that is certainly doable. The place in between those two things? I suppose that depends on the nature of the trauma, how resilient one is to begin with, and the coping skills one learns along the way.
I have never experienced serious trauma or abuse so I can't speak for it, but I do know about grief. It somethings that always stays with you. Most days it doesn't affect me, but then something might happen and those pangs hit me in the chest and I feel it again. Not nearly as bad as it was, but it's still there unexpectedly. It's easier with time, but it's never really gone.
It changes you...but it can be for the better. I escaped from my brutal start into the worlds of music and science. Now I am in several bands and every time you fly in a plane my electronic designs are helping you be safe. My broken nose suits my pretty face. I am told. It takes a lot to rattle me. Belle, you are an amazingly articulate, thoughtful person.....we all know that here after years of interaction. Do what you need and/or want to do ! My old Romanian Grandma used to say "to thine self be true".
Some people say that you never get over it, you just learn to deal with it better.
A wound is considered to be healed when covered by scar tissue...and I think that's where you end up typically.
I was abused for about 16 years or so, until I left home at 16 when I "won"...so they could not abuse me anymore.
I have scar tissue, literally, and figuratively, and, consider myself healed.
We are never the person we used to be if we continue to grow as a person.
If we are NEVER abused, that is still true...we will continue to change as we grow as a person.
It is not reasonable to expect to really KNOW who you WOULD HAVE been, had you not been abused...but, it IS reasonable to find out who you are NOW.
THAT is who you are, no matter how you got there.
THAT is your starting point....NOW.
The best you can do is assess your current situation, open minded, and without excess rationalization/blame/credit assignments....and think, OK, what makes sense NOW.
You have assets, your brain, your heart and courage, your knowledge that you HAVE overcome adversity...but, also, perhaps friends and family, a support network, some money, some belongings, a source of income, food, clothing and shelter...and so forth.
You also have things that hold you back,and, need to examine them, and see if its worth dragging that baggage around with you or not...do they DO anything for you?
There is a scene in the movie Princess Bride, where Wesley is asking what their assets were (To attack the castle and free the princess), and was told my steel, his strength and your brains...and he said, that is not enough, its hopeless.
And then they mentioned they also had a wheelbarrow, and came up with a plan, that actually worked.
Life is like that....there are wheel barrows you need to count among your assets.
Of all the PTSD treatment I've had I had never heard those stages before. I've heard of the 5 stages of grief but never stages of PTSD. I just know I'm been stuck in a cycle of broken record intrusive thoughts for YEARS and I'm fucking tired of it already.
Belle, here's everything the Dictionary of Psychology (R150.3 in the Vets Home Library) says.
The symptoms include:
• Re-experiencing the event – recurring recollections, including dreams and nightmares about the traumatic event
• Avoidance – people try to avoid anything that is associated with the traumatic event: for example, if they have been in a plane crash, they may avoid even watching movies that have airplanes in them
• Reduced responsiveness – people feel detached from others and emotionally numb
• Increased arousal, anxiety and guilt – people may experience hyperalertness and sleep disturbances. In some kinds of events (such as a plane crash), people may experience guilt that they survived when others did not.
In trying to explain why some people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders and others do not, psychologists have discovered that childhood experiences (such as early abuse or painful parental divorce) may leave some people vulnerable to later stress.
You know of the physical body's immunological response system that protects against infection. I understand post traumatic stress NOT AS A DISORDER but as a system the mind uses to protect itself from stress.
IMNVHO (not very humble) the online descriptions say the above in complex ways because the government is making money available and people who want some of the money are spinning the details to impress potential clients. It's good old hyper-competitive free enterprise.