The Tree That Bends, Doesn't Break.... well, not always
You may have heard the saying “The Tree that Bends, does not Break”, before. Well, living in Texas for 10 years and seeing multiple tornadoes over those years I know that isn’t true. Not only do trees that bend break, but with severe storms or heavy winds, it’s possible they get uprooted. The circumstances surrounding the tree are so severe it is violently torn away from itself and its environment.
When a tree gets uprooted it could cause serious damage to both the root system, the tree and to things that surround it. Trees spread their roots deep and wide and an uprooted tree breaks many of these roots. Many of those roots can’t be fixed but often they can. It’s possible for uprooted trees to be re-planted and revived. They may experience transplant shock and need tender care but over time heal.
Thinking of this has me comparing it to humans who experience complex trauma. Complex Trauma are traumatic experiences that happen in the context of person to person over a long period of time. Think abuse. The effect of that experience can be deeply rooted and run deep and wide. Those experiences can uproot a person from themselves as it takes them away from their inner environment and sense of self causing serious damage to their body and mind. The impact of trauma also spreads deep and wide and spans across different domains including behavior, self-concept, attachment, cognition, biology, self-regulation and more. Becoming aware of the impact of trauma in one's world allows for the healing of the uprooted sense of self to not just begin healing but also to create resiliency that moves them into living a fully thriving life.
Healing from complex trauma is possible. Revival of an uprooted tree is possible but needs the support and care to thrive again as it can’t replant itself. The same goes for humans. Recovery and re-planting a sense of self is possible and safe, healthy relationships become a part of that healing journey.