Thanksgiving thoughts on childhood trauma, ghost walls, and moving on.
I am in the latter half of my professional career and as I look back over the choices I have made I feel extremely grateful for my career and all the wonderful opportunities I have had, but I can also step back and see patterns of my behavior and analyze them in the calmer, more revealing light of time. I share this today because somewhere out there is a workplace sister who grew up with trauma and who needs to connect the dots and walk through the walls that, while real in her childhood, are only ghosts today. As childhood trauma survivors in the workplace, when we are treated poorly, we still struggle to walk through that ghost wall, down the elevator, out the front door, into the parking lot and drive away —-we could—but we don’t, Not. Nearly. Soon. Enough. So when we are disrespected, misused, manipulated, gaslighted, or bullied, we stay. No matter how good we are at our jobs or how smart we are, we stay inside that ghost wall and try to discern, excuse, overlook, fix, or ignore the problem. That is what we had to do to survive as traumatized children when the wall was real. We couldn’t escape and we couldn’t fix it so we just survived. We didn’t dare speak up or speak truth to powerful people in our lives, we struggled to set boundaries then and we cannot now...even with our education, title and chic business suits. But most of all we don’t walk away because that wall exists in our mind. What drove us crazy as trapped children in our homes is driving us crazy in the workplace. We don’t make the cognitive connection, but our emotional selves feel the trauma, recognize it and respond in the trapped mode. But the wall is gone. Get up, sister, move on and find a healthier place. Once you figure out the wall is gone, you can keep walking on to better and better things. Happy Thanksgiving!!!