Consistency is a key part of all trauma healing – to repair and heal from trauma consistency must be present. Especially if trauma was experienced in childhood, be it as a result of neglect or danger, children who grew up forming an insecure or anxious attachment style (rather than secure attachment) can find it difficult to heal without there being a consistent positive environment.
In my healing from both my childhood trauma and the trauma of my divorce, consistency has been huge for me. I’ve looked for it in every area of my life. At times, it has morphed into seeking control, and has reduced the spontaneity in my life – such was my want to keep things always the same. I wrestled with the idea of how to be consistent but also open to new things which, invariably at the beginning, always feel inconsistent.
Another aspect of the want for consistency for me has been in my dislike for grey areas. I want the black, or the white, don’t give me the grey. Don’t give me maybes. Don’t give me question marks. Give me absolutes. And life, well life doesn’t really adhere to definitives all that often. People, situations, relationships, don’t often adhere to that.
In my assessment of my past, and my present, in therapy, I’ve learned that looking for absolute feelings doesn’t withstand the complexities of life. And I’ve been getting comfortable with the “yes and” of it all. The “yes and” happens when I say “I feel this way” and my therapist says “yes and?” because there’s often more, there’s often additional, sometimes conflicting feelings at play, all at the same time. And one doesn’t make the other invalid.
At first it felt like inconsistency. Make up your damn mind, Lou! And then I began to relinquish a little bit of that control and saw that there’s consistency in the flux of feelings, in the existence of multiple feelings all at the same time. That will always be true.
I can feel sure of myself & still feel unsure of things around me
I can know myself & still question myself
I can be grateful for where I am now & still mourn what went before
I can feel emotionally capable & still be going to therapy
I can be happy single & still want to be in a relationship
I can feel healed & still be healing
I can have great days & still find life a struggle sometimes
I can have found new love & still be traumatised by the old
I can have made peace with the past & still use it to guide me
I can be exactly where I’m meant to be & still want more
I can acknowledge that situations were unjust & still accept them just as they were
I can be grieving & still find joy
What I’ve discovered is it doesn’t have to be just one feeling, just one state, just one status – it can be many, but I do need to be able to name them. And the learning comes from sitting in them. All.