Dare to Create – Self-awareness and how art can heal hidden trauma


I think maybe it doesn’t matter if a survivor heals through art, or baking cakes, or birdwatching … just as long as you go into a place where healing can take place and there is time for you – where there is no control, fear or stress.

Dare to Create – Victim turns survivor with the power of art

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare You Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. This month we’re exploring the stages of self-awareness, but what do we mean by the term self-awareness?

If you read last week’s Dare to Create article, you’ll recall us touching on this subject when we discussed the benefits of yoga and other methods of mediation.

Before this week’s inspiring interviewee shares their experience of overcoming trauma and finding self-awareness, let’s take a look at today’s creative prompt. I know how much you look forward to this, so here it is.

Dare to Create – Create a message for yourself

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are good enough
and that it’s not our fault.

Create a collage using magazines, with a message to yourself.
Perhaps words you need to hear or a motto you find encouraging.

Image in left corner – “Did You Think You Would Break Me?”
Shared with kind permission from susan-rose-designs.com

PLQ would love to see your artwork and messages, so don’t forget to tag us!


Meet Susan Rose. An inspiring woman with so much to celebrate. A victim of domestic abuse turned survivor, who used creativity to move forward and reclaim her identity. Over to Sue.

25276416_1261743690595572_482561306_nSue“I married in June 1980 and in November of that year I saw the first signs of domestic abuse. From that day I was stuck in a marriage of hatred and control. There was nothing physical but he changed from loving to hating and patronising me within a heartbeat. I became ill 1980 with Crohn’s disease and he hated me for that also. I needed him because I was so ill, but I was too weak and ill to move away. Time went on … His hatred grew to following me, hiding in the house and jumping out at me, sitting watching me for days and saying nothing …..

No one can tell you to get away… it has to happen when you have the right moment and inner strength to make that move. But that day WILL happen. One day you will know that it’s time to see your future as a free person.


When I was a victim of domestic abuse, I lost my identity. One day I looked in a mirror and I didn’t know who the woman was who was looking back at me. I’d had all aspects of what made me removed and was a physical form only. I know other victims of domestic abuse go through this also. It’s as the years passed, now free and alone, that I found out who I was. I became aware that thoughts and actions had consequences. Words are so damaging, hence identity loss … so I think we all need time for seeing who we are and not who others have made.

I’ve learned so much more through my training as a domestic abuse advisor and that’s also helped me to understand my own case. I became an advisor some six years ago – you need time between being a victim and helping. You need time to recover and heal your soul etc.

PLQ – “What made you turn to art as a release?”


25189780_1261743667262241_871932086_o“Did You Think You Would Break Me?”
Shared with kind permission from susan-rose-designs.com

PLQ – “How does it feel to express your feelings through art?”

Sue – “Wonderful! I find myself absorbed in the moment. I love creating at night especially. I put on classical music on… and I get lost inside my head and heart. I try always to stick to a specific colour theme and I fail every time lol!  My soul must be full of colour I guess – this is the only way

Sue – “I have always been involved in the creative side of life, so it became a natural transition to express these emotions in art.

I create emotions and hopefully, others will relate and find them inspiring. I know that when I left my husband and I moved into my house now, it took about two years to fully realise the elation of space, freedom, no worries, no fear etc and that is expressed in the “Did you think you could break me” picture.”

I can express my feelings. I use crystals, beads, fabric … It’s the emotions I feel making the image, rather than the other way round.

It doesn’t matter if a survivor heals through art, baking cakes or birdwatching, just as long as you go into a place where healing can take place and there is time for you with no control, fear or stress.”
Sue’s now an established mixed-media artist and trained voluntary domestic abuse advisor at www.davss.org.uk She’s currently writing a motivational book to assist survivors in leaving an abusive relationship. To see more of her artwork, visit www.susan-rose-designs.com .


Thank you for sharing with us Sue.

Be the person you want to be!


Rebecca Goldthorpe
PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist





4 thoughts on “Dare to Create – Self-awareness and how art can heal hidden trauma”

  1. Thank you for finding me and for contacting me. It was a pleasure talking to you. I hope other survivors can find cathartic release through creativity. It really is a wonderful feeling of liberation and path to self healing.
    Sue xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sue,

    Thank you so much for your comment and for your interview. It was inspiring talking to you. Your enthusiasm, positivity and encouragement are truly contagious!

    If at any point I believe your experiences can help again, I’ll be in touch. Equally, if there’s anything you’d like to to support PLQ as a member, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    I’m sorry this response is so late. I didn’t receive a notification of your comment and only just found it.

    Happy New Year!

    PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist


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