Lessons Learned from Ch. 6 of NEVER SETTLED – The Body Keeps the Score

Chapter 6, Loogootee Pt. 2 was a chapter in extreme contrasts, moving from the innocence and fun childhood days in an eighties Indiana small town similar to that of Stranger Things to the most emotional and terrifying moments of despair when my dad attacked us with his belt and his bark for not doing our chores.

There are moments when I wonder, why am I so emotional? How can my childhood have such an effect on me more than thirty years later? Yet, as I reread this chapter, I don’t wonder the answer to these questions. I remember. And cry, even if just internally.

The end of chapter 6 reminds me of the great fear and sadness of my early childhood. It reminds me of why I hated my dad for so many years. It reminds me of why I wanted out of my family as a teenager. It reminds me of why I never wanted to return for years as an adult. 

If there is one lesson I learn as I recall these memories, it is simply that childhood trauma can have a long lasting effect on a person. There is a saying in our school district that serves many underprivileged students. When a staff member is struggling with a student’s behavior, “don’t ask yourself, what is wrong with this child?,  ask yourself, what happened to this child?”

The implications are huge. When children experience traumatic events, it can wreak havoc on their behavior. This is the body’s response & best effort to survive.

I started reading a book a while back called, The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk. The topic in a sentence was, how to overcome trauma with a new paradigm for healing. I only made it through Chapter 1. It was an intriguing read for sure and filled with some hope. But, it hurt too much to read and recall.

This wasn’t the first time my memories & emotions kept me from reading a book. Several years back I watched the movie, The Glass Castle with Woody Harrelson and Brie Larson. It was an intriguing movie where the family in poverty moved a lot & they were impacted by the father’s alcoholism. Sound familiar? Yeah, it did to me too.

As I watched the movie, I thought about how similar my story was. But, another thought also entered my mind. Her story isn’t nearly as bad as mine. AND my story has a way better outcome, filled with more hope. Such began my decision to write my story.

I tried, however, to go back and read the memoir by Jeanette Walls that inspired the movie. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t get past the first few pages because it was too painful. It recalled too many and too strong of emotions.

Childhood trauma is no joke. It can be overcome, but the individuals attempting to do so need a lot of grace, a lot of understanding and a lot of support. It’s not easy.

If this is you, I would love to pray for you. Feel free to message me. 

I would encourage you to find a therapist. Talk to your pastor. Share your journey with a friend. Spend time asking God to heal your brokenness. And rest in His arms as you learn to be loved by Him.

Published by Shawn D. Congleton

traveler, writer, lover of God, thinker, family dude, in no particular order

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