Instead of apologizing for existing, try this.

When there is a history of developmental trauma on board for us, it’s common that we had to learn to stop existing so loudly (a.k.a stop taking up space in the world) so that we could get our needs met.

Think about it, if your main caregiver needed you to have less of a presence in order to stay regulated in their own systems, thus being able to provide you with what you needed, that meant you had to learn someway and somehow to appease this person and make yourself smaller than you were so that you could get what you needed.

It’s quite sad and quite smart at the same time. The smart part comes from being able to attune to what the care giver needed to be regulated (which most likely meant compromising yourself) so that you could and would survive. The sad part is that you had to do that in general.

With that being said, in a session with a client this week, I gently asked her if she could thank me for holding space for her anger, rather than apologizing for it. Because it was okay to have anger here and it was okay to exist here. There was nothing to be sorry about.

When we apologize for taking up space with our emotions, we apologize for existing.

Instead of doing that, I encourage us survivors of developmental trauma to thank other people for holding space for us to be ourselves.

The more we practice this, rather than constantly apologizing for things we don’t need to be sorry for - the more we feel comfortable taking up space with our desires (and not just our needs), which means we build more capacity to go for our dreams and do our soul’s work.

WorkEmily Aube