Blog post – 6th August 2021
Childhood Developmental Trauma and how to heal yourself
By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, and Trauma Survivor
Trauma is all around us. Many humans are seriously damaged by their families of origin, and by their cruel cultures.
It is no accident that I got into developing various approaches to trauma therapy. No surprise that I became a psychotherapist, and worked hard to help many individuals to recover from the pain, confusion and loneliness of Childhood Developmental Trauma (or Complex-PTSD).
I got into this line of work because – without knowing it at the time – I am actually a Childhood Developmental Trauma survivor.
And I am making great progress – slowly – with my new book on Childhood Developmental Trauma, which is titled: Transforming Traumatic Dragons: How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach. Revised, expanded and updated: August 2021.
That book is now very close to being completed. I have finished the writing and editing. At the moment I am proofreading the text – and I am on page 159 out of 421, which is approximately a third of the way through – (or 37%).
When I have finished, it will be proofed by Renata Taylor-Byrne, my co-author. And then it will be published and made available via Amazon outlets.
Of course, I did publish an earlier, less developed book on this topic, which had two of the three processes that I present in the current book – but the current book is vastly superior, because of the addition of the ‘interoceptive Windows model’, which integrates writing therapy and body work, with breath work, and EMDR. (Plus additional insights into trauma and diet; trauma and exercise; trauma and sleep; how precisely to do that [writing therapy combined with body work] process; and so on).
This book should be a great help to many individuals who have the determination to do at least some of their own therapy at home; perhaps combined with some face to face counselling and therapy with a trauma therapist, because the interpersonal, right-brain to right-brain aspect of trauma recovery is so very important.
My own trauma journey
Of course, long before I got down to writing about the trauma problems of other people, I had to work on my own childhood trauma damage. One of the ways that I did that was to write my own autobiographical stories about my origins and my ‘relationships’.
One of the main ways I did this work was to create an ‘alter ego’ – who I named ‘Daniel O’Beeve’. I then (in my mind) put Daniel into those situations through which I have lived, and which I could dredge up from my memory banks; and I observed how he got on – from the ‘outside’ – (objectification!). I then retrieved a lot of my old traumatic nightmares, and rewrote them in a literary style. And then I created a set of ‘alien psychologists’ who could observe Daniel’s journey, through a “wormhole in space-time”, and to make comments about how to understand what is going on in his life (using psychological concepts), in a way which Daniel and I could never have commented! (Clearly this has to be called “a fictionalized autobiographical story”; and none of the characters in this story should be confused with any real individual, living or dead!)
I published all of that work in a book called Metal Dog – Long Road Home. And this is the Amazon books description of that book:
Daniel O’Beeve was a victim of childhood developmental trauma, before anybody had even thought to conceive of such a concept. He was a victim of abuse and neglect long before anybody gave a damn about the emotional welfare of children.
Daniel’s parents were both born into highly dysfunctional families; poor rural families that lived from hand to mouth; families who had been trained by the priests to “beat the fear of God” into their children.
Daniel’s parents did not love each other. They had an arranged marriage, and never learned to even like each other.
When Daniel was just eighteen months old, his father lost his farm and had to move to Dublin city, to eke out an existence as a gardener. Daniel was born into this mess. Unloved and unloving; beaten and emotionally abused; he grew up with very low emotional intelligence; no capacity to make contact with another human being; and a fear of everything that moved suddenly or rapidly.
He was then thrown into a city school at the age of four years, into a playground in which he was the only “culchie” (or hill billy) – in a sea of “city slickers” (called “Jackeens” by Daniel’s parents) – and this was against a backdrop of dreadful (‘racist’) antipathy between the Dublin and rural cultures in general.
In ten years of public schooling, Daniel did not make a single friend.
With no map of healthy human love, or workable human relations, he entered the world of work at the age of fourteen, like a drunk thrown out of a pub, late at night, in total darkness, mind reeling, and feelings jangled; and from this point forward he has to try to make sense of life; to make sense of relationships with girls; and to make some kind of life for himself.
For more, please go to Metal Dog – Long Road Home. Where I reveal some of the ways in which my childhood trauma affected my difficulties with trying to “get off” with a girl or woman, in a way that might possibly work. For more, please go to Metal Dog – Long Road Home.
Back to Jim
As it happened, I (Jim) did manage to find my way out of the darkness and confusion; out of the autism and dissociation; out of the fear and loneliness. I did my therapy, and I got my reward!
Now I write books for others on the subject of how to overcome childhood developmental trauma.
The new book on Childhood Developmental Trauma should be available at Amazon outlets in the next month or so, (because I keep getting distracted onto urgent survival projects).
Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling