4 Truths for Moving Past Emotional Trauma

Sarah Taylor

Mental Performance Coach
Published: Sep 20, 2022
4 Truths for Moving Past Emotional Trauma

To find peace in your life, you have to be willing to take the first step toward forgiveness.  

Pursuing a new and exciting job offer, I moved to San Diego, California to begin working as a reporter for a sports network I had always dreamed of joining. As a single woman, I decided to settle down in La Jolla, an area I believed to be a safe community for someone like me. No one could have prepared me for what I would experience in the coming week. 

One afternoon, as I was on a run in my neighborhood, I noticed a man just outside of his vehicle, with the door open. He was bent down and looked to be grabbing groceries or something from his car. Before I knew it, the man swiftly turned and grabbed me, pulling my hair and shoving me towards the car with all his power. There was a sharp, intense pain in my chest, which I would soon recognize as a taser. It was at that moment that the assault became real — I knew I was being abducted. 

So many things were going through my head, but one thing stuck out to me. I recalled a story I had once heard on “Oprah,” where a woman was kidnapped and taken into a man’s car. In her experience, she escaped her attacker. I remembered the survivor saying, “I knew if I got in that man’s car, I was going to die.” Taking heed to her words, I knew my fate would be just that if I let my attacker succeed. I had no choice but to fight.  

With everything in me, I kicked, punched and screamed, trying to escape the man’s strong grip. By the grace of God, I managed to wiggle my way out of his hold and began running down the main road. Once I spotted a car, I began waving my arms, hoping and praying someone would stop. And someone did. 

When we arrived at my apartment and called the police, detectives immediately sprang into action. After gathering information, the detectives were able to track the man down, arrest him and uncover the reason for the attack. What I originally thought was an abduction or stalking incident, turned out to be so much more. What detectives uncovered was an underground operation for sex trafficking. Knowing the gravity of the situation and what could have been, I became fearful for my life.  

After months of trying to recover on my own, I decided to approach my church and meet with a biblical counselor. During one of our therapy sessions, I closed my eyes and heard a voice saying, “Sarah, don’t be fearful. I will never leave you or forsake you.” The voice I heard was Jesus. At that moment, I felt incredible peace and comfort. I began to feel like I could finally move forward and put my trauma behind me. 

Over time, my experience opened my eyes to several lessons about healing and moving past trauma. Therefore, I want to encourage you with these four truths:  

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

As a result of the attack, I experienced a great deal of emotional trauma. Everywhere I turned, I saw my attacker. I began to have nightmares and would make up situations in my head that were not real. Each time I walked by someone talking on the phone, my first thought was that they were plotting to kill me. When I returned home from my day, I would immediately lock the door behind me, check under my bed and inside every closet, just to make sure I was safe.  

My life was consumed by so much fear and paranoia. It was overwhelming. The presence of joy was completely absent from my life. It wasn’t until I hit a breaking point that I decided to seek professional help. In hindsight, this was the absolute best thing I could have done for myself. Through wise counsel, I was able to move forward, and most importantly, it brought me back to my Savior. I began to regain the Sarah I once was. 

Counseling gave me the strength I needed to overcome my trauma. It allowed me to begin the process of healing with others who cared deeply for my future and well-being. Whatever you are facing in life today, I want to encourage you to seek others to join you on your journey. Find people who are willing to help lovingly guide you and give you strength, because ultimately, we cannot do it on our own.  

Forgiveness is an Essential Part of Healing  

Genuine authentic forgiveness was truthfully the only way I was able to heal from my biggest wounds. It took me many years, but ultimately forgiveness gave me so much peace. I realized that if I held on to anger and pain, I was never going to get better.  

The Bible paints a beautiful picture of forgiveness. I think of Jesus on the cross and all the people who did him wrong. Instead of judging and holding their sins against them, He was full of grace and mercy. If Jesus can do that, I can forgive the person who stole my joy and happiness.  

The process of forgiveness is necessary, but it’s not always easy. It takes time and requires intentionality. Most of all, it requires prayer. The path to forgiveness involves stepping outside of yourself and looking to God for direction. To find peace in your life, you have to be willing to take the first step toward forgiveness.  

The Road to Restoration Requires Strength and Determination

As much fight as I needed to survive the attack, I needed the same amount of strength and determination to find healing. Sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At this point, it’s tempting to want to give up and suppress any emotions or thoughts that require you to relive the past. When you reach this point, it is essential to find the grit and determination needed to move forward. This is also the moment where it’s important to surround yourself with those who are going to encourage you past your doubt. They will be a source of hope and strength on your journey.  

Two victories came out of my willingness to fight — I regained the Sarah I once lost, and I am stronger than ever before. No matter what life brings, you must be willing to pick up the pieces and push forward. The reward, in the end, is worth it.  

Purpose Comes from Even the Worst of Our Circumstances

After the incident, I felt very unfulfilled in my reporting job and decided to get my master’s degree in sports psychology. Now, I have found a new purpose as a mental performance coach, teaching others how to be confident and mentally tough in their own personal walk. 

Together, my husband and I have joined the fight to bring awareness to this modern-day slavery operation that so many people are unaware even exists. I hope to educate others who could be and have already been prey to human traffickers, providing them with resources and a message of hope.  

Ultimately, even when we don’t see it ourselves, God can use our darkest means to bring about the brightest of ends. In my story, He was able to take something evil and turn it into something good. Today, my heart is at peace, and I have been given a new purpose. I made the decision to seek help through counseling and forgiveness, and I am stronger than ever for it. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Jupiterimages

Sarah Taylor is a mental performance coach, providing individual and group mental skills training to athletes, coaches, teams and businesses. Sarah, who is the wife of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, Trent Taylor, is also a former San Diego Fox Sports reporter. Her story can be seen at http://www.iamsecond.com/sarahtaylor.