Breaking Free – January 2023

From the editor

Welcome to our first Breaking Free newsletter for 2023 as we look towards a year, which for many of us, will be a continuation of our journey of hope and healing.  For others, it’s just the beginning, but wherever you are on your journey, we are here to support you.

Our lead story this month highlights the importance of learning to trust ourselves and others. Trust is a crucial aspect of any relationship, whether it is a personal or professional one. In this article, we explore why the ability to trust can be difficult for people who have been abused, neglected or otherwise harmed. We explain the challenges, but importantly, how to manage them, set boundaries and build healthy relationships.

In addition to our lead story on trust, we also highlight the topic of intergenerational trauma and its impact on families and communities. With much controversy around the date of Australia Day, it’s important to come together as a community to support healing for all. We share some resources from The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation to help tackle the cycle of intergenerational trauma, and which support building awareness and interconnectedness.

On behalf of The Infinite Mind, we are excited to invite you to attend the upcoming “Healing Together” Conference for people living with dissociation and DID, their loved ones, and mental health professionals.   It is a psychoeducational weekend-long conference of learning and healing while building a community. There is also an option to attend the webinar or watch the replay if you are unable to travel to the location.

Finally, we want to provide you with a progress report on the implementation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This report is a milestone as it is the last annual progress update until a 10-year review of the implementation in 2027.

Until next time, take care.

The Blue Knot Team

Learning to trust ourselves and others

Learning to trust ourselves and others can help support our interactions and relationships… but for many of us, doing so can be challenging.  In close relations in which we are more vulnerable, including intimate relationships, being able to trust is even more critical. So how do we learn to trust enough, and not too much when we have been harmed in relationships before?

Firstly, it is important to understand that being able to trust is often very challenging for people who have been abused, neglected or otherwise harmed. This is because of the betrayal experienced at the hands of other people. Trust has often been violated, and repeatedly so, for people with the lived and living experience of complex, interpersonally generated trauma. It’s about understanding this, knowing that we are not alone, and that this can change with the right support.

When young children, for example, are betrayed by their caregivers, they still need their caregivers to look after them. They need to try and preserve their relationship with their caregiver and that need `trumps’ their capacity to protect themselves. Young children don’t just rely on their caregivers to look after them physically and keep them safe but also to nurture them and reflect their emotional experiences back to them. Sometimes our caregivers tell us one thing but we feel and think something completely different. This makes us doubt ourselves and not trust our own judgement. Being nurtured allows children to begin to make sense of the world and find their place in it, including how they relate to themselves and other people. The good news however is that even if you missed out on this in childhood, you can learn these skills later on.

Children are emotionally and physically dependent and their brains are still growing and developing. Children who are cared for and nurtured can rely on their caregivers as they go out and explore the world and build relationships.  They can trust that they will be kept safe and that they can rely on people to be there for them. When this doesn’t happen the adult that child becomes can struggle to believe that people can be there for them too.

But it is not only children who are betrayed but many adults too, who experience repeated betrayals over time. When the world is dangerous, it makes sense that we try to protect ourselves from other people, especially when other people have harmed us. We can change this with understanding and support, and over time, learn to trust ourselves, others and the world and overcome the trust issues related to our trauma.

Sometimes we become fiercely independent or want a lot of control, as we have learned to rely only on ourselves to keep us safe. Sometimes we are anxious and because we feel bad about ourselves we also feel that others will think we’re bad too. We can change this and a good start is to take small steps to be a little open to letting someone in, just a little at a time. Try it with a friend first and see what happens

Sometimes we are worried about being rejected and we feel small, often like we did before when we were harmed. You are anxious and because you feel bad about yourself feel that others will think you’re bad too. If this is how you feel it can help by understanding that what happened to you was bad. Not you yourself. You can change this by taking small risks, showing yourself that you are an adult now who can make constructive decisions and who you can rely on. Show yourself that you are capable, and worthy after all.

Some people trust too easily. This is because when your boundaries have been violated it can be hard to know how to set boundaries yourself. This can mean that others take advantage of you all over again and leave you feeling retraumatised. Learning about boundaries and practising setting them is a good start. People you interact with might not respond well to the change in you, but it is a positive change and one well learnt.

It can be challenging to work to overcome trust issues which are ingrained but there is hope and there is help. If you are struggling with relationships, and especially with having healthy relationships you might also wish to reach out for counselling support. The bottom line is that your betrayal history no longer needs to define you.

Healing Together Conference

An Infinite Mind invites you to the 13th Annual Healing Together Conference to be held in Orlando Florida on 17th-19th February 2003.  Healing Together is a one-of-a-kind annual conference for people living with dissociation and DID, their loved ones, and mental health professionals.   It is a psychoeducational weekend-long conference of learning and healing while building a community.

If you are unable to travel, then there is an option to attend the conference virtually or watch the replay at a more convenient time.

Who Should Attend?

  • People living with dissociative disorders, especially those with DID.
  • Supporters and loved ones of people living with dissociation and DID.
  • Mental Health Professionals and students who currently treat dissociative clients or would like to learn more about treating dissociation and DID.
  • Due to the difficult and sensitive nature of this conference, only people over 18 are permitted to attend.
  • There is also a CE option for the conference

Blue Knot has collaborated with An Infinite Mind over a number of initiatives and is delighted to highlight this conference.

For more information and to register click on the link below

Registration: Healing Together Conference

Intergenerational Trauma

A childs hand is placed on top of an older persons hand
If Stolen Generation survivors don't have the opportunity to heal from trauma, they're likely to live in a state of distress, which can lead to a range of negative outcomes for themselves and their descendants.

Whole groups of different people (e.g. holocaust survivors, refugees and asylum seekers) disproportionally experience collective and transgenerational trauma.

In Australia, intergenerational trauma predominantly affects the children, grandchildren and future generations of the Stolen Generations.  Download the Blue Knot Fact Sheet to learn more about Intergenerational Trauma:

The Healing Foundation is working to end intergenerational trauma by creating resources and programs that strengthen cultural connectedness and identity and improve the social and emotional wellbeing of our young people. Their resources can be found here:

Progress Report on Implementation of Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Recommendations

The Albanese Government has released the fifth annual progress report outlining implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The report shows that all 206 Commonwealth-related recommendations from the Royal Commission are now implemented
or in progress.

Recommendations implemented in 2022 include:

  • The commencement of the Online Safety Act 2021, which gives the eSafety Commissioner new and stronger powers to remove and stop people from accessing online child exploitation material, regardless where the material is hosted;
  • The first national Safety of Children in Care report, which provides baseline data for ongoing monitoring and reporting. The data will be provided on an ongoing basis;
  • The establishment of the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse;
  • Increased access to the National Redress Scheme; and
  • Eighty-five national sporting organisations on track to adopt the National Integrity Framework by 31 December 2022, to provide a safe environment at all levels of sport.

In-progress recommendations include work towards an offender prevention program, a national awareness raising campaign, enhancing national approaches to children who have displayed harmful sexual behaviours, and improving national arrangements for sharing child safety and wellbeing information.

This report is a milestone as it is the last annual progress update until a 10-year review of the implementation in 2027.  It is critical to ensure that momentum is maintained and that the Commonwealth, States and Territories, and institutions continue to drive much needed change for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.  Read the full media release here:

The progress report can be read here:

In the News

For many, the news of Cardinal Pell’s passing will bring up a range of different emotions and memories. Please do look after yourself at this difficult time and if you would like to reach out for support, please call 1300 657 380 between 9 am and 5 pm AEDT to speak to a Blue Knot trauma counsellor.

All human beings need to be responded to with compassion and understanding, and especially those who have experienced repeated and ongoing trauma.#princeharry

*Trigger warning*
This interview with David Marr provides a deep reflection on Cardinal Pell and his role in the Church with a particular focus on his role related to child sexual abuse. Please feel free to choose not to listen if listening would be too distressing or triggering for you. The interview goes for over 30 mins. If you need support at any time please call the Blue Knot Helpline and Redress Support Service on 1300 657 380 between 9am and 5pm, 7 days a week.

Survivors need to be seen, believed and supported. Institutions in which children were harmed must be held to account, not just in policy and documents but in the trauma-informed ways in which they publicly apologise, engage with survivors and provide full redress.