"If you are working on your healing and taking yourself down the healing path, you are incredible. Don’t forget that."
Dawn Chitty is the host of the HOW MY PARENTS RAISED ME Podcast where she has open and honest conversations with beautiful humans about the profound impact their parents had on their lives. Dawn believes that to reduce childhood generational trauma we must speak and share truth. Every story shared offers a unique perspective on the trauma and healing journey. Dawn’s Instagram account is called My Big Love Project where she is bringing awareness to childhood trauma and healing. Dawn is a huge advocate of self love as the foundation to healing, authenticity and joy.
SWY: Can you share a little more about yourself and your experience with childhood trauma?
DC: What it’s important for people to understand is that trauma isn’t something that is always obvious. You can live through trauma and because it is your normal, because it is all you have ever known, you don’t understand it as trauma. So many people come from what appear to be, from the outside, loving family homes. But inside things can be very traumatic. I grew up in a good family. From the outside we looked perfect. The reality was different. My father had been through his own trauma. His mother died in an accident when he was 12 and he came home from school to find her there. When a child loses a parent it leaves them with deep trauma especially when they are left to deal with it on their own. When my Dad was a kid there was no counselling or therapy. I don’t think he really had anyone to turn to. I think it was very sad and lonely and traumatic. So by the time he grew up, got married and then two kids came along his trauma was pretty deep. He had explosive and violent rage. He abused us physically and emotionally. It affected us deeply.
SWY: How do you believe your experiences with childhood trauma impacted you later in life?
DC: On the outside I looked like I was doing fine. But I wasn’t. I was struggling big time. I was pretty self destructive in my twenties. A lot of drinking and I don’t think I really cared if I lived or died. I had absolutely no self worth. I believed I was nothing. I played small because I’d been taught that’s what I was. I lived in comparison and judgement because that’s what I was taught. It wasn’t until I had my own kids that I realised that there are choices when you become a parent. It wasn’t until I had my own kids that I realised that what had happened to me was very wrong. And it was even later than that that I understood that I had been through trauma.
SWY: Do you mind sharing with us what helped or encouraged you to engage and commit to recovery and healing?
DC: I think in the end I didn’t have a choice. I was very unwell physically, mentally and emotionally. It was like a breakdown of everything. I spent years trying to fix the problems with my physical health without anyone explaining the connection between mental health and physical health. I went through some real depression and anxiety. I was a mess and I just knew something needed to change. I don’t think I understood what that was. I just knew that I should be happy. I had everything I needed. And yet I was deeply unhappy. And I went looking for answers.
SWY: What do you value most about your healing journey?
DC: Everything I have learned. I have learned so much! and all the amazing and wonderful people who have shared their wisdom with me. When I was younger I was very angry with my Dad and for our situation. I didn’t know about the generational trauma that runs through families. I now understand that we have the power to heal ourselves so that we can heal our families. We have the power to change it for the next generations. And that is mindblowing! That is deeply powerful.
SWY: There are thorns and roses to everything we encounter in life, can you share some frustrations you have or had with this process of healing (e.g. Societal pressures or standards, physical, emotional, or social limitations, myths/misconceptions)?
DC: Healing takes time and you can’t just do a few therapy sessions and it goes away. There are many layers to healing. We will be sent back to the same lessons over and over until we learn them. And once we learn them we will be sent back to those lessons to learn something deeper! Some weeks are amazing and then some weeks are hard. Not many people understand. They tell you to reach out but it can be extremely lonely and difficult to reach out. There are so many people out there in deep trauma that never allow themselves to heal because it’s too painful. If you are working on your healing and taking yourself down the healing path, you are incredible. Don’t forget that.
SWY: Can you provide any advice for getting through these frustrations?
DC: I have learned that you cannot hurry healing. You might make some big leaps and then you might feel like you are going nowhere. But even when you feel like you are not learning or growing, you actually are. A really good word to remember is ALLOW. Allow yourself time. Allow love in. Allow self love. Allow yourself to listen to your intuition and what you should do next. Allow help if you need it. Allow yourself to be your amazing and wonderfully imperfectly perfect self every day.
"Allow yourself to be your amazing and wonderfully imperfectly perfect self every day."
SWY: What inspired you to start your podcast and Instagram account? How has it helped your own healing journey, and can you share any advice for others who may be thinking about this as an option?
DC: I feel like I wanted to connect with the world in new ways. I wanted to share what I had learned in the hope that it might help others. There is so much I never knew. It was really hard figuring it all out. I want to help others navigate their journey better. On my podcast How My Parents Raised Me, I am hearing stories of childhood trauma and healing and the wisdom that people share is through the roof! I learn so much every time I talk to a new guest. If anyone is thinking of starting a podcast or a page, do it. If you are being called to it, you should listen to that. I am on instagram @mybigloveproject
SWY: What inspires you to keep going through tough times? Where does your strength and power come from?
DC: My strength and power comes from my new relationship with me. My new love for me. My new understanding of me. Every single one of us is unique. We all have special gifts to share. We are all worthy and loveable. On my low days I remember to have gratitude for everything that I have in my life that is good. I give myself compassion and understanding for how I am feeling. I give myself care and time. I understand that other people’s reactions to me are totally about the way they are feeling in themselves and it’s not about me personally. I ensure I keep my body moving and to take that negative energy out of my body. I do things that bring me joy like kundalini yoga, walking, spending time outside in nature and hugging my dogs :)