When a child is traumatised in relationships with those who should keep them safe, it creates a great sense of confusion and shame. It’s terrifying for a child to acknowledge that the adults they love have hurt them so badly, and so they are more likely to blame themselves. The pain and shame of relational trauma can lead to a fragmenting of the emotional experience from the reflective experience – the ability to think about what happened – in the child’s attempt to not feel so bad.
As the adults in their lives now, we need to help our child to integrate their experience and make better sense of what has happened to them in the past. This can only happen in caring relationships, and gently, as we help them to trust again. In connection with us, a child can learn that they have been hurt in the past and that it was not their fault.
Together we can join up the pieces of their shattered story in a way that reduces their shame and gives them hope for the future.