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Healing From Trauma by Ruth Yeboah

The American Psychological Association (APA) describes trauma as “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster.” Trauma creates lasting effects on individual physical, emotional, and social functioning. There are three types of trauma people face in life, acute, chronic, and complex. Acute trauma results from a single occurrence. Chronic trauma results from prolonged exposure to things like Domestic Violence or child abuse. Complex trauma is being exposed to multiple traumatic events. As a social worker, I have seen the field move into trauma-informed care, where workers are urged to focus on the client’s experiences to better assess and serve the needs of the client.

Trauma events create an emotional reaction to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that a person has experienced or witnessed. Trauma can have a lasting negative impact on a person’s psychological, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. Symptoms of trauma may include difficulty sleeping, nightmares, anxiety, depression, changes in behavior, and difficulty concentrating. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of trauma, it is important to reach out for help and support.

You may ask yourself, “Why am I talking to you about trauma?” That is because we have all been exposed to some form of personal or social trauma. Even if you had a good childhood with no recollection of anything bad happening, you may have witnessed a car accident, or been in an earthquake, or shocked by events like 9/11 in the United States.

Trauma alters your brain as a child and without properly addressing the adverse effects it presents, you may go through life defensive, feeling abandoned, angry, or depressed. Becoming aware of your trauma is the beginning of the healing journey.

When my parents moved to the United States, I was eight years old in the Ivory Coast and was sent to live with my great uncle who was so demeaning and physically abusive to me. One day, he asked me why I was looking at him while he was reprimanding me. Before I could answer, he threw a drinking glass at my forehead. I sustained a huge bump and a small cut on my forehead. This was not your typical glass; it was made from tempered and more durable glass; so heavy the glass did not break when it hit the concrete floor. I spent the next 20 years of my life unable to look directly at people when they spoke with me. Mentally, I registered that looking at adults while they spoke to you was disrespectful. As a student and professional I was unable to look at my professors, bosses, or anyone in authority. Even when I interviewed, I could not make eye contact. I did not acknowledge this trauma until I got exposed to trauma-informed care professionally. In 1999, at the tender age of 12, I relocated from the Ivory Coast, West Africa to living in the Bronx, New York with my parents. On my way to school one morning, I was robbed at gun point, the robber snatched my gold chain and threatened me to keep quiet. Even though I was three minutes from my house, I did not even think of returning home. I waited for the bus in panic and anxiously rode the whole hour to my high school. Trauma distorts and alters your thinking. So, even though he did not hurt me physically, I was emotionally traumatized for over a decade, afraid to wear chains or any type of jewelry, and even up to today the mere thought of a gun gives me flashbacks. Here is the thing, we all have our trauma story if we look deep enough. I know it can be hard letting go of our past trauma, but there must be a choice to heal. Trauma impacts who you are.

Understand this, you have no control over the past, but you can make different choices today that will change the trajectory of your future. The past should be a place of reference but not where you stay. It is easy to remain a victim to the woes of your past. But I am here to tell you today, that you can improve your life no matter what happened to you. If you have ever been hurt, betrayed, used, or abused, know that it is not your fault.

Never think you deserved what happened to you, challenge that crippling thought, it is a lie of the enemy. It is important not to live your entire life experience on the false reality that you are, your trauma.

Pain is an inevitable human experience. Pain can cause you to feel worthless, depressed, defensive and just angry. Trauma lies at the core of some of our behaviors, but you must consciously look to connect the dots for healing to begin. We get into unhealthy relationships because of the trauma of our past and don’t even know it. So, until you begin to identify who you are and why you do what you do, life will revolve in circles with no clear progress. We get hurt by people and expect those people to acknowledge the pain they have caused us, we want them to apologize for the pain, so we can have closure. I can’t emphasize this enough, hurt people will always hurt others. What if the person who hurt you never says “sorry”, would you continue to dwell in the pain and live a life of anxiety, worry and depression? No! You must let go! Forgiveness is freeing, releasing yourself of the baggage is even more exhilarating.

It requires work, and everyone’s journey is different. Your memory is your worst enemy in this process, because it will replay vivid memories of the pain, don’t give in. Find a positive response to the negative memory you have. You can listen to uplifting music, pray, write in your journal, read, or do anything good that will take your mind off. Some days you will succeed at shaking it off, other days you may not. But don’t give up because each day your strength will be renewed.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 says; “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” You cannot dwell on your past and see the new in your current life.

As the saying goes “Never be a prisoner of your past; it was just a lesson not a life sentence.” Remember this: others may have hurt you or not chosen you, but were you good to yourself when you had the chance to choose you? Your parents may have been abusive towards you, neglected you, gave you up for adoption, or used drugs and alcohol around you and missed your childhood. That in turn has caused so much heartache and trauma in your life, impacting your mental health. Your response to the trauma is cutting yourself, or lacking confidence. When you've been through trauma, you spend life on the fence trying to cope but there are triggers that hinder your healing. The role of triggers is to take you back to the past, and keep you bound. Triumph insinuates that you've been through a battle, so win the battle of trauma. You must appreciate the baby steps to healing by celebrating the process, but do not pitch a tent yet, continue to strive to heal. Triumph & victory could just be your willingness to even be here reading about trauma, don’t be too hard on yourself.

In Psalms 126, even though the Lord turned the captivity of Zion, they wept when they remembered their captivity. When you remember the trauma, you may find it difficult to sing the Lord’s song but let me tell you, there is a full circle moment where you begin to dream again! Many of you are here under the sound of my voice, reading going through the same issues repeatedly hoping for change, but your deliverance is in your forgiveness. But instead, you are standing on how unfair life is, how bad the enemy has done this and done that. It doesn't matter what the enemy did. It matters that you came out. How you went through all that child abuse & still you are here? So how can you remain bound to your past? There is a destination, a purpose, an assignment for you to get to? Yet, you are busy having a funeral over what you lost. Jael in judges 4, was the reason Cisera was killed she could have been busy fighting her husband over foolishness but no. She was alert and ready to be used by God. For Deborah's prophecy to be fulfilled their needed to be a nameless and faceless person who rose against all odds and tapped into that one-time opportunity to be. You matter and you are needed, let the past go. Yes, your pain hurts, yes it happened, again it is not your FAULT!

The glory of the latter house shall be greater means things will be different not necessarily bigger it’s just a new thing. So, you cannot remember the old things. Joy comes in the morning because you need to put to sleep the old so joy can come. His mercies are new every morning, you still need to sleep & not stay away stressing over the past. Holding on to yesterday will prevent you from accessing the new! Because of your triggers, you are destroying your children your marriage, and hiding from destiny.

Healing from trauma can be a long and difficult process, but it is possible. Here are some tips to help you start to heal:

You are a representative of that city to raise an army for God and take over territories, so you must pray that God rid you of the bitterness and anger the pain of trauma has brought you.


  • Be God over everything.

  • Press through your pain.

  • Be intentional about your healing.

  • Compromise is the seed that kills destiny, don’t compromise.

  • Seek professional help. Having someone to talk to who is trained to help you process and work through trauma can be invaluable.

  • Establish a healthy routine. Eating healthy, getting enough rest, and exercising can help you stay physically and mentally healthy.

  • Connect with supportive people. Having a strong support system of friends and family can help you feel less alone and provide comfort.

  • Practice self-care. Do activities that bring you joy and make time for yourself.

  • Find healthy ways to cope. Meditating on the word of God, journaling, and art can help to reduce stress and anxiety.

  • Don't be afraid to reach out for help. It can be difficult to ask for help, but it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are people who can support you.

Journal prompts you can use to process the trauma. • Do you have any past unresolved trauma? • How are you addressing what happened to you? • Do you believe you can choose to heal? • Write down what you want to see in your life from today.


Ruth Yeboah is the founder of Women of Value INC a non-profit organization focused on enriching the lives of women.

Ruth dedicates her many talents to ensure the women she encounters, identify, and fulfill their divine purpose. Ruth holds a Master of Social Work degree.

She started her career with the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) as a Child Protective Specialist (CPS) and continued within the foster care system as a case manager, working with young children and teen mothers.

Ruth has almost 2 decades of experience in trauma and child abuse & neglect. She was a nationally certified Victim's Advocate previously for the United States Air Force. Her experiences denote the core of her philanthropic heart.

Ruth has built an extensive career in social services, & also broke into the information technology (IT) world, as a US government cybersecurity analyst & engineer, building structures that protect government systems.

Ruth loves to travel, read, & cook. She's a wife & a mother to two beautiful daughters.


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