Becoming the Parent Your Inner Child Needed
by Svava Brooks
What does becoming the change you want to see in the world look like? So many victims of child abuse and trauma are stuck because they don't know that things can be different. Their inner world of tension, fear, and distrust has become their outer world. They have been living this way for so long that they don't know that things can shift and they don't know how or where to start. Then one day, they realize they are stuck and they want change but how to get unstuck is unclear, since this is brand new territory. Not only do survivors not know how to change, they don't know what that change looks, feels, or sounds like. Who do they turn to, what do they do next? This was how I felt. The first 10 years or so of the healing journey was all about talking about and having my feelings about the past. I understood trauma and because of the unprocessed feelings and energy in my body, I needed to reconnect with my body, learn to care for it, appreciate it, be kind to it. That practice has taken a long time. What I learned from others only worked to a certain point. What I spent a long time searching for was someone outside of me to fix it, to show me, make me better. It was not until I started the daily practice of being kind to myself, practicing self-care, and really learning to listen to myself and what I needed, that things started to shift and I started to feel better about myself and hopeful about the future. Part of becoming the change I wanted to see in the world brought me to how I had wanted to be treated as a little girl.
What kind of mother and father did I wish I had had? Someone that kept me safe. That loved and adored me for who I was, supported my talents and curiosity, helped me develop trust in myself and other people as I mastered the developmental stages of growing up through adolescence and into adulthood. I wanted someone that could have guided me through the challenges of becoming a partner and a mom. That's what I wanted to become. That was the change I wanted to see, not only in my mirror but to finally believe it about myself and embody and live out of these truths: I am a good person. I am a valuable person. I am a lovable person. I am a kind, compassionate person. So where did I start? With daily practice of self-care. With regularly checking in and practicing feeling my feelings and asking for support when I needed it. With making time to connect with my wounded inner child that felt abandoned, lonely and unlovable and by practice kindness, care, and love every day in my life, starting with myself. I am still a work in progress but I know I have navigated the challenging inner world of trauma healing. It is from this challenging journey that I can hold a safe place for my clients and show them the baby steps to learning how to be kind and gentle with ourselves as we learn what it looks and feels like to become the parent we needed and the courageous person we can be today. As we choose to love wholeheartedly, to live from our hearts, not our hurts, that will create the change the world needs now more than ever.
Svava Brooks is a survivor of child sexual abuse and the co-founder of a nationwide child sexual abuse prevention and education organization in Iceland called “Blátt áfram.” She is also a certified instructor and facilitator forDarkness to Light Stewards of Children, as well as a certified Crisis Intervention Specialist, a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, a BellaNet Teen support group facilitator, a Certified TRE® Provider, and an Abuse Survivor Coach. The mother of three children, Svava has dedicated her life to ending the cycle of child sexual abuse through education, awareness, and by helping survivors heal and thrive. She is a certified facilitator for Advance!, a program created by Connections to restore authentic identity. Every week she writes about healing after trauma on her blog, and also leads a discussion forum on Child Sexual Abuse Healing and Recovery online.