the traumatized child

One of the features of the severely traumatized child is that, even as she considers herself entirely guilty for just about everything under the sun, she also and simultaneously considers herself entirely innocent. Any allusion to her responsibility for a bad action feels so preposterous as to be intolerable and it will necessarily cause extreme affect states. At the same time, telling her that she’s good falls on ears that have been deafened shut by trauma. Even though she desperately needs to hear that she is good, it is something she has no way of understanding.

The adult who embodies the traumatized child feels this way when she’s regressed. In these moments, blaming her for anything feels to her like an intolerable, unaddressable injustice, and will undo her.