Questions About Trauma and Abuse for Single Women

Many of those who struggle with the reenactment of trauma are single women, of all ages. Because they find themselves in a primary relationship with their self-harming activities, single women often feel unable to make space for other people in their lives. Or it might be a case of others abandoning them because the self-harming behaviors take up too much space and are upsetting. (The exception to this is the group of girls and women who are reenacting earlier abuse by remaining in an abusive relationship.) Read more on the topic for couples in the Circle of Life.

Jane misuses alcohol and prescription drugs. She reenacts the trauma of being verbally abused and emotionally abandoned by her parents. Trauma reenactment traps her into an endless repetition of that story. Her drinking and drugging patterns reenact being victimized by neglect or non-protective relationships, and so she remains in a relationship with her self-harmful activities instead of a relationship with a person.

Nancy experiences chronic pain, although many doctors who have examined her see no physical basis for the pain. She, like other women imprisoned by trauma, is often mistreated by professionals who think she should be able to overcome her pain. Nancy was raised primarily by her grandmother (her wealthy parents were unavailable for the daily demands of parenting) who intruded on her body through a pattern of excessive caretaking. She is in a primary relationship with her pain. She also sometimes feels she is in primary relationships with the many doctors and health care professionals who unsuccessfully treat her.

Questions for single women:

  • Do you believe your own hands that harm you are “innocent hands”?
  • Is it possible to make the connection between the self-harm and the early trauma, but still believe that you are capable of being in charge of stopping those activities that harm you?
  • Do you believe that, until now, you have found the best way you know how to tell the story of your childhood abuse by harming yourself?
  • How can members of your support network (maybe including your family) get involved in fighting against this self-harm? Can you coordinate these efforts?
  • If you were not so busy dealing with trauma, what else would you be doing? Or like to be doing?
  • Do you think it’s fair that you have to reexperience the injustice of abuse over and over again?
  • Why do so many women end up suffering through their lives at the expense of the people who have abused them?
  • Do you not feel that you have already suffered enough?

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