Following is the full transcript of filmmaker Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s TEDx Talk titled: Trauma is Irreversible. How It Shapes Us is Our Choice at TEDxBozeman conference. This event occurred on March 27, 2015.
Sasha Joseph Neulinger – Filmmaker
Each one of us was born into this world with a clean slate. There was no concept of pain or joy at the beginning. At the very beginning, we didn’t know right from wrong, judgment from compassion, fear from love. And from the first breath we took, it was both the painful and the joyful experiences that helped shape who we are today: how we view the world, how we view ourselves, and how we view those around us.
Trauma can shift the scales. Take a look around the room; there are 500 open-minded human beings in this room, and the truth is we’ve all had traumatic experiences, have struggled with self-limiting beliefs and have judged ourselves harshly for flaws or imperfections that we believe make us less than. Everyone in this room, at one point or another, has probably struggled to love themselves. Based on the most updated statistics, one out of every three women, and one out of every five men, were sexually abused as children. That means roughly 125 people in this room were sexually abused as children. I’m one of the 125 survivors in this room today.
When I was four years old, I was sexually abused for the first time. At four years old, I didn’t know what child sexual abuse was, I only knew that what my uncle was doing to me was extremely painful. I loved him, and I trusted him, so if he was inflicting this pain on me, it must have been because I was awful, and I deserved it. And in that moment, the world became a dark, evil place, and I felt dirty, disgusting, and unlovable.