life mental health

5 Books I’ve Recently Bought to Work Through Years of Trauma, Silenced Emotions, and Living in “Survival Mode”

At first glance, you will see a 5'7 curvy brunette with olive skin and an inviting face. I frequently hear, "you look just like ____" or "I feel like I've met you before".

Background on why I bought the books:

At first glance, you will see a 5’7 curvy brunette with olive skin and an inviting face. I frequently hear, “you look just like ____” or “I feel like I’ve met you before”. But what few people get to see are the years of trauma that I experienced as a child into my early twenties. They will never see the deeply disturbing events that occurred frequently then after they subsided were never talked about collectively as a family. These events just happened and then we moved onto the next bout of chaos without talking through the feelings involved in the prior event. We’d have a happy moment in between the tornados plus lots of laughs, but something was bound to happen soon. Christmas wasn’t met without chaos. Family dinners withered away. Trust was indefinitely lost amongst the six of us. Life as we knew it was a constant whirlwind of chaos, sadness, anger, and neglect.

Maybe that’s why countless unknown faces feel like “They’ve met me before”. Because 6% of children experience the loss of a sibling. 40% of adults in America are experiencing anxiety right now. 50% of kids come from divorced families. And 70% of adults in America have experienced some type of traumatic event. Even though people can’t see the turmoil and loss I’m actively working through, maybe people going through something similar can somehow feel it or sense the likeness.

So, this is where the books come into play. When I dive into dissecting my childhood with the help of my therapist, it begins to make sense why the most familiar feeling to me is confusion. Is that even a feeling? Probably not, but that’s what I am able to identify with. “How does that make you feel“, my therapist asks to no end so I can work on identifying real feelings. I respond with, “I don’t know. Confused”. Over and over and over again. This is because I don’t remember anyone ever asking me how I felt. Instead of feeling I problem solved. I quickly learned that solving problems kept me and my family somewhat safe. So that’s exactly what I tried to do all through out high school, college, and into my first year living in NYC.

This is why I’ve been pinned by my family as “The Strong One”. I was strong because I had to be. I was strong at times, but I was weak at others. I’m human. I learned that my parents didn’t have enough time while raising three other kids to understand that when I was confused and sad, it showed up as anger. Anger came out when I couldn’t problem solve or rationalize what was going on around me. Anger showed when I felt weak. Anger came alive when I felt out of control. These were the critical moments when I desperately needed someone to truly care for me by acknowledging my feelings. Someone to help me put my feelings into words so I wouldn’t have pent up anger that led to outbursts. I needed help understanding as a child that my feelings were valid.

You are so much more than the first part of your story. There is so much more to discover about yourself.

If you are working on overcoming your childhood trauma, moving away from “Survival Mode”, and learning how to feel, here are some great books to help you with the journey.

5 books I recommend:

Attached – The New science of adult attachment and how it can help you find – and keep – love.

Finding Meaning – The sixth stage of grief by David Kessler

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Running on Empty by Janice Webb

3 comments on “5 Books I’ve Recently Bought to Work Through Years of Trauma, Silenced Emotions, and Living in “Survival Mode”

  1. Don Amorosi

    Your writing skills are tremendous and only trumped by your courage to use the talent to heal and help others heal and learn on many fronts from travelling in Europe, to making cocktails to getting out of survival mode. You are a remarkable young woman. Don’t be strong for a while…..


  2. I saw a psychiatrist once who told me he didn’t think there was such a thing as a “functional’’ family. But the honest patients who came from dysfunctional families heal .


  3. Anonymous

    I have always loved books, study, academia and looked for the answers to problems in
    the library as you have. The first year I taught a class of disturbed kids all on my own. I learned something maybe every body else knows. In one sentence ….If you have one parent
    or maybe just one person in your life who cares about you deeply… like a parent…if this is true
    then you are the luckiest lady walking! Many,many wonderful little kids have NO ONE.I find that when I remember to count my blessings,,the sun comes out and I can see much better…


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