While I was doing trauma work, the counselor brought up two volunteers to give an example of how people will share “crumbs” from their lives. These crumbs come from our past traumas and experiences. When I visually saw this example, it was powerfully revealing. I had not thought of it that way. It got me thinking—how many times in my past relationships was I giving only crumbs?
Pillows and Trauma Work
The counselor during our trauma work shared another example: two people piling pillows into each other’s hands. The pillows here represent past hurt or scarring from childhood. Even a teacher yelling at you in the seventh grade was an example of a pillow. How many times have we unconsciously asked people to hold our pillows? When a person doesn’t hold our pillows correctly, we move the pillows over to someone else who possibly might hold them better for us. Interesting example, right? This also made visual sense to me.
We ask a person, “Here, hold this pillow very straight—nope, to the left—no wait, a little more to the right” and so on. The expectation that someone would hold our stuff just the way we want is absurd. And we shouldn’t be holding other people’s pillows either! The best we can do for each other is to hold space. The minute we expect people to take on our trauma or pain, we find ourselves in trouble.
Using Therapy during Trauma Work
While I was watching these examples play out, I realized that to be free in any relationship, we have to spend time working on our own crumbs, our own pile of pillows. The trauma work will not be easy at times. But in my experience, it is worth it. Being able to show up in a relationship with zero expectations and instead total love and gratitude is the goal today. Mel Robbins says it best: “No one is coming!” Nobody will waltz in to do your healing, so stop looking outside yourself.
I listened to Mel every day when I went through deep recovery. Hearing her say that over and over helped me learn how to take control of my own healing. I finally started to take matters into my own hands.
Therapy is great and often necessary, but it is not the whole pie. Therapy can cost thousands of dollars, and if you don’t put in the extra work, it is just an hour of therapy. You need to put in the trauma work to start healing. I have many people in my circle who created a space for my recovery. My people are my additional support as I do the work of healing.
Cakes Instead of Crumbs
To avoid receiving others’ crumbs and scraps as well, we must build our cake of healing using as many ingredients as possible that work for us. We should also remove ingredients we might be allergic to. We get to build the cake, use all our favorite ingredients, and follow the recipes and advice from any number of the available programs and teachers out there. There are endless possibilities in the forms of help.
Whenever I’m in a rut, thinking I have exhausted all my tools, I remember to search for a new one. Being stuck means I have moved on from the lesson I was learning. My growth is moving and shifting. Now I need a new ingredient. It’s time to move to a new level. Maybe I should pick up a new book. I am listening to Untamed by Glennon Doyle at the moment—another perspective, another ingredient to my healing. I highly recommend this read!
Do Your Own Trauma Work
I want to be the type of person who holds my own pillows, takes responsibility for my own healing, and shares more than crumbs with others. I want to do my own trauma work rather than pass it on to others.
This journey has been worth every step. I now wake up less anxious, and I’m not as disappointed at the time. A feeling of calm has come over me, and when it does I say, “Thank you.” I am grateful for my healing process, my life, and all the experiences that have gotten me to where I am today. I believe that all my life experiences have been gifts, not crumbs—the good, the bad, and the ugly.