Hey there, freethinker!
Let me officially welcome you to a brand new year of the Live Your Freedom Now podcast and a brand new format!
Starting with this episode, the podcast will now be coming at you with monthly themes! This is to go even deeper into meeting you, both as someone finding freedom from the Dominant Dogma in your life, and, if you are a coach, healer or practitioner, to help you meet your clients with deeper wisdom and integrity. Here’s what the new format looks like:
- The first episode of each month will evaluate a Dominant Dogma out in the world and in your life through a more academic and article-like format.
- The second episode of each month will then propose the freedom on the other side of that Dominant Dogma in a form that is more of a musing, a poem, a reflection from me to you.
- The third episode of each month will be a conversation between me and one of a handful of regular guests. We will chat about our experience (personal and professional) with that Dominant Dogma and the Freedom on the other side.
- Lastly, in the final episode of each month, I will introduce a Coaching Concept. The concepts and questions offered in this episode can be used in your personal life or, if you are a coach, can be explored and kept in mind with clients. The last episode of each month is also my latest addition as I launch my new offering, The Well Resourced Coach: Coaching Supervision, for coaches ready to trust your wisdom, be well-resourced, and support with integrity.
Celebrate with me for a moment?! …
Yeah, thank you! Now let me ease you into the first episode this month, which is exploring the Dominant Dogma simmers beneath many of my life coaching client’s experiences:
Is my trauma keeping me from thriving?
Please take care and skip this episode if you need to, as this can be a tender topic.
For those of you about to tune in, here’s what I discuss in today’s episode:
- The Dominant Dogma of: “Is my trauma keeping me from thriving?”
- A definition of what trauma is and who gets to define it for you (it’s you!)
- The nuances of big trauma, little trauma, complex trauma, intergenerational trauma and trauma experienced by neurodivergent, autistic people
- The real truth of this dogma
- A reminder that your body is actually doing precisely what it is supposed to
- Why I believe our souls are ever working to bring us back to wholeness
- A call to tune in next week to explore the freedom on the other side of this dogma
Watch the episode:
Listen to the episode:
Hello, hello freethinker!
Welcome to a brand new year of the Live Your Freedom Now podcast! I am so excited to dive back in with you and for the exciting changes, I have planned for the pod.
As a quick update so you know what is coming: Starting with this episode, the podcast will now be coming at you with monthly themes. In the first episode of each month, I will evaluate a Dominant Dogma out in the world and in your life through a more academic and article-like format. The second episode of each month will then propose the freedom on the other side of that Dominant Dogma in a form that is more of a musing, a poem, a reflection from me to you. The third episode of each month will be a conversation between me and one of a handful of regular guests. We will chat about our experience (personal and professional) with that Dominant Dogma and the Freedom on the other side. Lastly, in the final episode of each month, I will introduce a Coaching Concept. The concepts and questions offered in this episode can be used in your personal life or, if you are a coach, can be explored and kept in mind with clients. The last episode of each month is also my latest addition as I launch my new offering, The Well Resourced Coach: Coaching Supervision, for coaches ready to trust your wisdom, be well-resourced, and support with integrity. If you want to check out this new offering, you can head to megscolleen.com/supervision.
Ok! Let’s dive in!
Today, I am writing to you from my new backyard in Ventura, California. I’m soaking in every ounce of sunshine I can get while sitting on the porch of our “back house,” which is really just an empty room. I hear the garbage truck at the neighbors making their way down the street collecting garbage. The birds are chirping and fluttering around my garden as they hop from perch to perch. And a soft breeze keeps my body at its dream temperature. I feel grateful, tender, and curious (as per usual). Along with sitting here writing this, my day started with a therapy session. With this in mind, I am incredibly reflective and aware of what my body needs after its usual spilling of guts in the therapy zoom room.
As I pause to notice my inner and outer worlds, I encourage you to do the same. Notice where you are, the textures around you, the colors, and the sounds. Notice any emotions that are present in your system. In this practice, I encourage you to not judge or label any sensation or object as good or bad. Instead, simply notice, witness, and allow all parts of yourself and your experience to the table. This is a practice of personal freedom that you can utilize at any time.
Trigger Warning & Self-Tending Reminder:
In today’s episode, I will be discussing varying levels of trauma and PTSD. Please take care and skip this episode as needed. Also, please remember that I am neither a therapist nor a trauma expert. I am a coach and psychology graduate student who recognizes that when trauma has been present, which for many of us it has, it follows folks wherever they go. Therefore, even as it is currently out of scope for me to support folks healing from trauma, it is something I seek to be aware of, present to, and prepared to hold some space for so I do not perpetuate harm. The goal of this episode is to support you in noticing how trauma may show up in your lived experience and offer my belief it is possible to move through this and claim personal freedom, whatever that looks and feels like for you. If you need support navigating the healing process after trauma, please seek support from your local therapist and mental health organizations.
Today, I am discussing a prominent Dominant Dogma that simmers beneath many of my life coaching client’s experiences: Is my trauma keeping me from thriving?
A few years back, “trauma” was only on the fringes of modern societal discussions. However, in the year 2023, it’s everywhere. While this is something to be celebrated, often, when something is everywhere, it loses its meaning.
So, let’s define what trauma actually is.
To define trauma, I want to share from one of the key articles I referenced for this episode.
As a note: For folks curious to read the articles I cite in the episode, head to the show notes, where I outline all sources, mentions, and any other further research I recommend.
Back to trauma.
According to Angela Connoly, in her article Healing the wounds of our fathers: intergenerational trauma, memory, symbolization and narrative she defines trauma as “The idea that real events can bring about a breach in the protective shield of the psyche, disrupt psychic structure and the sense of self.” – source
In everyday language: Trauma is when we are unable to integrate the very real, raw, hard stuff of life.
What, or who defines the very real, raw, hard stuff of life?
What I mean is: Based on your unique genetic make-up, neurotype, support system, belief system, and environment (among other things), something may be traumatic for you that is not for someone else.
This is not a deficit; it is a difference.
Everyone everywhere processes life differently.
That said, there are general collective understandings around what is considered a “big T” trauma (source) and what might be labeled as a “little t” trauma.
Big T trauma could be considered an experience of murder or rape, navigating and facing a global pandemic, wartime events, and horrific historical events such as the Holocaust.
Little t trauma is typically considered more consistently experienced encounters (source) such as interpersonal conflict, financial difficulty, moving, or abrupt job changes.
These are the two most commonly discussed types of trauma. However, there is also complex and intergenerational trauma, among other things.
Complex trauma and its corresponding disorder Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or CPTSD, was initially introduced in a 1992 article by Judith Lewis Herman. – source Summarized in a publication on Health Grades they state, “Complex PTSD (CPTSD) refers to traumatic events that are repetitive. They typically begin or occur in early life.” – source
For example, complex trauma can be situations of ongoing physical abuse, emotional abuse, enmeshment and attachment trauma, and medical abuse.
Finally, intergenerational trauma, as discussed in Angela Connolly’s article that I began this discussion with, shares that “Children of survivors [of the Holocaust] show characteristic deficits such as a failure of metaphorization with subsequent difficulties in distinguishing between reality and fantasy, and a disturbance of temporality, all of which lead to the typical disturbances of memory and of identity.” – source i.e., Children of survivors of the Holocaust experienced a level of PTSD or CPTSD due to experiences not their own.
Later in Connolly’s article, she cites neuroscience research which reveals that “the lasting hormonal changes found in Holocaust survivors with PTSD have been replicated in a high percentage of adult children survivors.” – source Meaning, not only are children of trauma survivors impacted by their parent’s trauma in how their parents raise them but they are also impacted at an unconscious level resulting in hormonal and neurological differences.
Wrapping up this overview on what trauma is, it also feels crucial as a neurodivergent individual and self-diagnosed autistic person to highlight the impact of trauma on Autistic adults.
While so much more research ought to be done on this, thankfully, research from Katherine E. Reuben et al. offers some data to prove what many Autistic adults already know. Her research shares that adult Autistic humans are at a higher risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, with women, non-binary, transgender men, and transgender women being the most likely to fulfill PTSD diagnostic requirements. – source
Ultimately, these varying types of trauma can coexist and overlap, impacting your daily existence if not processed.
This leads us back to the primary topic of this episode and this month; Our Dominant Dogma: is my trauma keeping me from thriving?
The real, raw, and honest truth: It might be.
Your trauma, and the ramifications of your trauma, may be hindering you from experiencing life fully.
I’m not here to sugarcoat or bypass what is real for you and for me. Bessel van der Kolk states that “extreme experiences throughout the life cycle can have profound effects on memory, affect regulation, biological stress modulation and interpersonal relatedness.” – source
And also, there is hope.
You are not broken.
In fact, looking at these types of trauma reveals: Your body is actually doing precisely what it is supposed to! It is protecting you from complex and harmful experiences SO THAT you can process them when it is safe to do so, as determined by you.
Additionally, author Raïna Manuel-Paris states in her article about trauma and mythology that “perhaps PTSD is a call to free the mind, a call to wholeness through the wound itself, the most terrible wounding endured by a human being, a soul wound.” – source
And that is where I’m going to leave you today. You are not broken, and no matter what trauma you have faced, I believe, as many of the great psychological explorers have, that our souls are ever working to bring us back to wholeness.
You are not the exception.
Next week I will share a bit more about the “Freedom on the other side” of this Dominant Dogma through musings of my own spirit that I hope will land with you. This is a new addition to the podcast, and I hope these episodes will support reflecting what it looks like to claim personal freedom amidst the Dominant Dogma of our world.
Until then: Freedom is yours,
Mentions & More:
- Angela Connoly definition of trauma in her article, Healing the wounds of our fathers: intergenerational trauma, memory, symbolization and narrative
- Elyssa Barbash, Ph.D., article, Different Types of Trauma: Small ‘t’ versus Large ‘T’
- Amy McLean’s article, What Is Complex PTSD? Everything to Know About CPTSD
- Angela Connolly’s article, Healing the wounds of our fathers: intergenerational trauma, memory, symbolization and narrative
- R Yehuda, L M Bierer, J Schmeidler, D H Aferiat, I Breslau, S Dolan work on Low cortisol and risk for PTSD in adult offspring of holocaust survivors
- Judith Lewis Herman and her concept of Complex post-traumatic stress disorder
- Katherine E Reuben, Shannon Self-Brown, Erin Vinoski Thomas work on PTSD in autistic adults: Correlates of meeting DSM-5 criteria and predictors of professional diagnosis
- Bessel van der Kolk, MD article, Posttraumatic stress disorder and the nature of trauma
- Raïna Manuel-Paris article, Trauma, War, and Spiritual Transformation: A Mythological Perspective