How I Hurt: the Imprint of Trauma

A Youth's Perspective
by
Tasha Farmer, FCNI Shelter Supervisor
April, 6, 2022 -

I know I don’t act the way you want me to. And I know you don’t understand why. I know you look at me and think I am just oppositional, a pain in the butt. You judge me and wonder what is wrong with me, why can’t I just act “normal”? Believe me when I tell you, I don’t know why I can’t either. I want to act “normal,” I want you to love me and to be the perfect child for you. I want to be happy. But something inside me won’t let me. And it hurts. My thoughts are always racing out of my control. I want to crawl out of my skin. Why am I this way? What is wrong with me? It’s because I’m stupid, right? When I was little, my parents called me lots of name and “stupid” was one of them. Even before I understood what it meant, they called me it; and they told me I was no good. It is no wonder they hurt me. I am bad and always have been. 

People try to tell me that I am not bad. They try to tell me that what happened to me wasn’t my fault. But I know they are wrong. Because here I am again, in another new home with new parents. And again, I am bad. I’m sitting here in the midst of my destruction; holding a broken chair that I broke, looking around at the holes in the walls that I punched, feeling the broken glass at my feet that I smashed. I know I did this, and I know it was wrong. But still, while I don’t want to break things, I can’t stop doing it. I want to blame my new parents for these feelings, because this wouldn't have happened if they would just let me do what I want to, go where I want to go. But I know this would have happened even if they had said yes to me. And I know it will happen again, because I am bad. 

I want to heal so I can be better. But I know I can’t do it on my own. I know I need other people to help me, even though I don’t trust them and want to push them away. When I push you away, somewhere inside of me I can hear a voice pleading, “Please don’t go. Please don’t give up on me!” Maybe, if you can keep believing in me and in my healing, then one day I might believe it too. It is not going to be easy. I know I will get upset again. I know my thoughts will betray me and I will yell and fight to express feelings that I don’t understand. I will probably punch another hole in the wall. I may even try to hurt you or myself. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t need you. It means I need you more than I can understand. 

One day I hope I can heal. I hope someone will give me a chance to try. I hope one day, I can learn to accept love and believe that I am worthy of being loved; worthy of loving myself. I have spent my life being told that I am not, and it is going to take a lot of time and work for me to relearn that I am, to unlearn all the lies that I’ve been told repeatedly by the people who were supposed to love and protect me. 

I also need time to adjust to a new way of living, to learn better ways to process, communicate, and cope. I need to rebuild faith in myself and in others. And I need to accept that what was done to me--what I have experienced--does not define me, my worth, or my future. I need your compassion, patience, and skills to help me see and believe that my life can be better because of who I am, not in spite of who I am. Help me learn that I can accomplish my goals which right now feel like impossible dreams. 

If you can look past my behaviors and my pain to see my heart, my potential, and my worth hidden beneath then maybe, someday, I can too.