Do I Lead, or Do I Follow?

Are you a leader or a follower?

I am so intrigued by my personal reaction to this question. I think this means something much different to me than someone without my history of childhood abuse. Let’s unpack it with a trauma lens on.

Am I a Leader?

I remember as a child often being called bossy by my cousins and getting in trouble for it often. I don’t ever remember being intentionally bossy to be mean – but as I reflect I believe these were the earliest signs of my ease at taking the lead.

I feel deep within my being that I am naturally drawn to the front to help guide and organize the bigger picture while others help handle the smaller details within. I have seen this pattern of behavior in myself in nearly all of my professional endeavors. From Corporate America, to the non-profit world, even into community organizing, and now here I am sharing my childhood story of abuse and my healing journey in it’s wake to shine a light on the path for other survivors.

Even as a child, I was drawn to take the lead of my own life from an early age. I spoke up numerous times about my abuse, I rebelled, and I made adult decisions to ensure my survival from as early an age as twelve.

Yes, I am a leader. Naturally and without even trying. Even though I still lose my breathe when I speak in front of a group.


Am I a Follower?

For so many years of my young adult life I adjusted myself, masked my authenticity, and mirrored the people around me in order to fit in, to be good enough, and to protect myself. Boundaries didn’t exist in my life: not in regards to my work, my friends, my family, or myself.

I learned from such a young age that I was an object to be used and a burden to care for. The only way I knew how to cope was to assume blame; It was my responsibility to be a better child. I worked hard to keep myself small, unnoticed, and safe.

As an adult these experiences echo in my body and in moments when I took the lead in work situations, the anxiety of consequence or judgement always plagued me. *thank goodness for dissociation*

So when I think about this questions of am I a follower – my answer is also yes.

It’s Okay To Be Both

The more I reflect on my naturally pull to lead coupled with my protective nature to follow unseen I realize that being both isn’t necessarily bad. As I heal and the trauma lens falls away – I can see the lesson is recognizing the moments in my life when I should lead and the moments when I should follow.

Leading does not mean I am being bossy or too much, and following should never be about keeping myself small – that is the reframe that I am tasked with as I lean into this prompt.

On goes the journey 💪🔥


Looking for Ways to Connect With Other Survivors and/or Receive Support as You Heal?

Survivor’s Circle Peer Support Groups might be just what you need. 

These small groups meet on alternating days of the week via Zoom. In these groups, survivors connect, share, and support each other through the ebbs and flows of healing. Attend a session and experience the magical healing that happens when survivors connect and support each other through shit only we can understand.

You can also book individual 1:1 peer support sessions with Shanon for private support in a closed space. You deserve support as you heal, and I am here to help. You don’t have to heal alone.

On the Journey Peer Support Monthly Package

As a part of this monthly support program you will gain access to all Survivor’s Circle Peer Support group support sessions every month as well as individual 1:1 peer support sessions with Shanon each month. 

Hi, I am Shanon

I am a trauma informed, trained, and Certified Peer Support Specialist in the state of Wisconsin. I am also a survivor with years committed to my own trauma healing after being diagnosed with (C) PTSD due to childhood abuse. Additionally, I have a professional and personal history of community facilitation and peer work.

I specialize in helping survivors like you make connections between real time experiences and past trauma wounds, identify and communicate boundaries, create self-care plans that work, navigate big emotions and trauma responses, reparent your inner child, and embody your own self-worth through the healing process with confidence and personal empowerment.

These support groups and 1:1 peer support sessions should not replace professional therapy; they will however provide additional support and information.

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