• Barbara L. Ciccarelli, PhD

Shame and Trauma Writing: Unleash Your Power


They don’t come off. They say try Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E. Apply several times a day, and you’ll see a difference almost as if by magic, a desperate magic. Most of the year they are hidden behind carefully selected clothes, but then in the quiet of your own home and in the summer when you want to strip down, they are there as a reminder of where you came from. Freedom has a price. The price of shame is your freedom.

Body Shaming

We hear, especially lately in the news, about body shaming. We live in a world still where there are certain criteria for our bodies. What is accepted and what is not. This can mean everything from hair style and color to size and able-bodiedness. I’m always in awe of people I see who make visible their body scars or dis/abilities. The marks of acceptance are all over their faces.

Writing Your Trauma

How is this related to trauma writing? To put in writing, in print, your trauma is very courageous and brave. It requires acceptance of pain and perhaps being forced into the role of victim, or should I say embracing yourself as survivor. It takes the risk that you will be accused of complicity.


Audience Reaction

Writing about a trauma is like reliving the trauma as much as it is a form of therapy. Then again, they say to revisit the trauma over and over until you master it, and writing can help with that. But the fear of making permanent documentation of a trauma can be great. You can’t control the audience, the audience of your writing. Readers will come to their own conclusions, and can you live with that? Especially when the trauma was so acute.

Writing On Your Body

What is a life like hiding in shame? Is writing your trauma the equivalent of unleashing the writing on your body? Can you measure the seriousnous of the mental trauma versus the trauma of the body or how do they impact one on the other?


Acceptance

Certain news shows on TV are trying to break these stereotypes of what is the acceptable body and that helps of course. Bodies are traumatized by accidents, war activity, birth, etc., and shaming these survivors only adds to our shame. If we accept these survivors, scars and all, we get closer to accepting ourselves. Ask yourself what shame you carry and if you would write it on the wall, joining countless survivors.

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email: barbara@academicskillsonline.com

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