Trauma in positive change

My decision to leave the job I’ve been at for the past ten years began last May. But in July I found a company that truly excited me. When I realized that THAT was where I wanted to work, I decided to keep an eye on job postings there only. Make connections. Be persistent.

That persistence paid off. A position came to me. Almost immediately I knew… I *KNEW*… that it was the right job. The process told me I was correct. The people I met with showed me that I was correct. Everything I’ve learned so far has shown me that I was right to keep trying. This is it.

But then I received and signed the offer letter. I closed my eyes. I held my breath. My emotions tumbled into turmoil.

Because even though I know I am making an incredible leap forward, I’m terrified.

I know that going through an emotional roller coaster upon leaving one job, beginning another, or doing both at once is normal for just about everyone. For me, though, it comes with a particular trauma response that likes to come out to play whenever I’m in a good place and wanting to leap into the unknown.

Fear. Insecurity. Those are the emotions that come immediately to the forefront whenever potential change enters my life. They become intensified if that change comes during points in my life when I am feeling good. When I feel like I’m making good choices. In those instances, there is a voice in my head that asks me, “are you really?”


I used to call the voice in my head, “The Bitch Queen.” I’ve realized that naming it like I did gave it more power over me than it might otherwise have had. But it had a lot of power either way. And it was loud, even while just whispering in my ear.

That voice sits there, reminding me of every bad thing that’s come before.

I want to give dating a try again? “But why? Your history with dating has demonstrated that men don’t see your value. They will think you’re too much work. You will never be a priority to them. It will only hurt you.

I am tired of living alone. “Roommates? That’s a bad idea. Your history with living with friends left you broken. You’ve felt betrayed. You’ve lost friendships. You won’t be safe. It will only hurt you.”

Thinking about major life changes (like accepting a new job!)? “WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! You are in a safe place. You are secure. You have carefully constructed walls to hide behind. Don’t take risks. They will only hurt you.”

I always spoke of the Bitch Queen in anger. In frustration. In a belief that the voice was evil and was the part of me dedicated to bringing me down.

But now, as I look at the words that voice has said to me over and over through the years, I see a pattern. “It will only hurt you.”

I only just realized that the voice thought it was protecting me. I’d been hurt. I’d been betrayed. I have failed. Those things all happened. The voice is afraid they will happen again. It reminds me of what had happened, so I’ll avoid the pain that’s come before.


I’m facing so many new things. I’m taking so many new risks.

My new job is just one example. The big one, right now.

The voice in my head that responds to change is no longer the overwhelming presence that had accompanied me for more than 20 years. But it is still there. Facing this voice, and learning how to overcome that trauma response and let it go, is my next challenge.

And it’s a challenge.

I am ready, though.

Published by loribarett

Coffee addicted charismatic geek with a penchant for tattoos, books, and listening to people tell their stories.

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