Trauma and the Glass Ceiling

Trauma and the Glass Ceiling

by | Sep 18, 2017 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was recently reading a book, Mind Over Money by Klontz and Klontz (definitely recommended (you can find it HERE).  It talks about how in life we develop a relationship with money, and that relationship is related to how we save, earn, and view money as adults.  It’s an interesting concept that made me think of how money is related to trauma, and how trauma makes us believe the glass ceiling is much lower than it is.

A lot of you who read my blog might have experienced trauma, and like myself, may find yourself having struggled or currently struggling with the glass ceiling in our careers, and in our financial health.  I hope that this blog can help lead to some insight on why trauma and unresolved trauma (i.e. if you haven’t been to therapy) can have a significant effect on our financial and career advancement.

If you’ve been a part of my facebook page, or know me personally you probably know that I believe a lot of negative effects from trauma come out of the belief that bad things happen to bad people… which in turn causes trauma survivors to believe that they, are in fact, bad.  Looking at that premise, it begins to make more and more sense as to why our financial health and wealth is related to trauma.  If we see ourselves as bad, no good, not worthy- we are less likely to put ourselves up for promotions, transfer from jobs that make us unhappy, or to see ourselves in the future as successful people. I know what that’s like.  I can think of when I was struggling to take my licensing exam- I had earned 2xs the amount of hours that I needed to take the exam.  I was afraid of failing.  I just couldn’t bear to not pass the test.  I thought that no matter if I studied or didn’t study- I was probably going to fail, destined to be an eternal intern working for someone who saw me as a $$ sign rather than a person.

Why was I so afraid to take the dang test?  I boil it down to just what I mentioned- fear of failing.  Now, having a history of trauma I look at that particular event in my career and process the whys.  I know that trauma has made me feel like I’m not as good as other people, and sometimes I can even talk down success to “accidents”.  Historically, I’ve struggled with seeing what good can come from me, and obviously, have previously seen life as an uphill battle where I brace myself for bad things happening to me (because obviously I believed that I’m bad, and therefore… bad things will happen).

If you’ve had this line of thinking in the past I want you to have a new visual in your mind.  I want you to see yourself walking down a sidewalk in suburbia.  There’s trees, minivans around you (feel free to substitute the city, Paris, a ranch, anything).  The sky suddenly turns dark, thunder is rumbling.  What do you do? If you’re in Paris, do you decide to take a seat at a nearby café and have a coffee to wait out the storm?  If you’re in suburbia, do you pull out your umbrella, get some shelter from a tree, or return home?  Are you laughing?  Are you angry? What’s your response?  If it’s negative, I want you to re-imagine it with a positive spin.  Imaging yourself getting shelter from the storm, and returning outside to walk down the sidewalk.  That’s life, right?

For many trauma survivors, we see a storm as a threat to our identity and to what we have achieved.  We see ourselves getting pushed back down, and wondering if we will be able to get up again.  My challenge to you, survivors, is to keep in mind that storms pass- and all we have to do is walk outside again.

Breaking the glass ceiling already has so many obstacles, don’t let trauma keep you from reaching the ceiling, and especially don’t let it keep you from breaking through. I want to leave you with a few ideas to start believing that you are good.

  1. Remind yourself that bad things happen to everyone, and it does not make you bad. You did nothing wrong, and you are not responsible for what happened to you.
  2. Remind yourself that you have a purpose in life, and find that purpose.
  3. Affirm yourself every day. Look in the mirror, and tell yourself (even in your head) that you are GOOD.  You are VALUABLE.  You are WORTHY.

Getting to a point in life where you can see the value you give to other people, to companies, to your families is a long process that includes seeking treatment and therapy.  You might be getting along and surviving without it- but my guess is that without help, your glass ceiling will continue to be unattainable, and unbreakable.

Please, remember that you are GOOD, you are VALUABLE, and you are WORTHY.  If you struggle with believing that you can be good, and you are worthy of success- seek out a professional therapist (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Psychologists, etc.) who specializes in trauma to start addressing the trauma and childhood that have you believing you aren’t good enough.

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