It takes a village
We live in a world that is increasingly placing more and more focus on hyper-independence and moving farther away from community-based solutions. We see it everywhere from Kylie Jenner being labelled a “self-made” billionaire, to the plethora of self-help books stocked on the shelves of bookstores worldwide. Somewhere in the evolution of our society, it has become shameful to acknowledge the importance of communal support in success, healing and wellbeing.
There is nothing wrong with reading self-help books and, for some, this may be the only support available, but healing cannot truly occur without relational experiences. For those who have suffered emotional or physical abuse, especially at a young age, their world view has been adapted to believe that “people are untrustworthy”. How can this world view be changed without person-to-person interactions that challenge this idea?
Through a process known as neuroplasticity, the brain can be rewired to change these fundamental beliefs, but it requires the repetition of positive experiences to create these neural pathways. In some ways, this is how therapy is useful in healing — because it is a consistent, reliable relationship in which trust is formed. However, this does not have to be limited to a weekly 45-minute session with a therapist; it occurs within every relationship in our lives.
It is important to remember that there is no shame in reaching out to friends for help, or calling a hotline if you are feeling suicidal — we are social creatures and we thrive on community. We cannot do it all by ourselves, we all need help, and the acknowledgement of this is crucial in how we deal with trauma treatment for future generations to come.
This prevalence of hyper-independence is affecting the ways in which we navigate our friendships, relationships and family. Of course, there are certain things that are unforgivable but because of this “me, myself and I” mentality, we are often quick to cut off rather than resolve. Society has begun to adopt this mentality that everyone is replaceable, and does not allow for normal human mistakes to be made in relationships without the fear of being cut off. None of us are perfect, and healthy relationships do not hold people hostage to past versions of themselves. For us to build a community of support, we must be able to forgive, or we will be prisoner to anger and pride.
Lastly, there is no age limit on needing support. As social creatures, we need support to various extents throughout our lives to not only survive, but to thrive. There is no shame in reaching out for help; it is simply human. For those that come from dysfunctional families, it is vital to create your own family, your own village of support. We believe that relational trauma cannot be healed without relational healing.
It is often said that “it takes a village to raise a child”, but we would add to that “it takes a village to raise a child, and the community to support the adult”.