Contradicting: A Commentary on Trauma

It’s fear. I am afraid that if I tell my story somebody will contradict me. What if somebody rises from my past and says that I’m a liar? I have a difficult enough time affirming my own memories. Memories are odd, shapeless, shifty mists. Some have form and substance but most are amorphous, impossible to grab hold of.

When I think back to my childhood, and adolescence my remembrance is like watching someone move pieces of a puzzle around. When the pieces fit together they are cemented, an affirmation that what I remember actually happened. But more often than not the pieces are floating around, and nothing in my power will make the pieces settle and fit. Those are the pieces that make me doubt my reality and the validity of my feelings. 

Trauma and Truth

Trauma does this. It throws all the pieces up in the air, and they scatter in the hurricane of emotion.  I have spent the entirety of my life gathering my pieces, but try as I might they aren’t all fitting together well.  This is where the doubt comes in. I want somebody to tell me that what I remember is true. And then I am told things like “truth is individual” and “my truth isn’t necessarily somebody else’s truth.” That is disconcerting. Is truth really not fact? And what role do our memories play in deciphering fact and truth from lies and fiction?  Do memories actually need somebody else to affirm them to make them true and real?

Fear and Contradiction

Slowly I am figuring out what I believe is true. And not every day, but a lot of days, the pieces are at least present enough for me to grasp. The fear is that somebody will tell me the pieces I see in my mind’s eye are lies, not even pictures from my own history. What if they contradict me? It hasn’t happened yet, but if it does I’m afraid I may crumble as if the whole of who I am is invalidated. It’s fear, and it almost keeps me from being brave enough to tell my story. Almost. 


But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)

Next Steps:

If you need healing from trauma please reach out for professional counseling: 

For Further Reading:

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk

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