Don't let them stop you - The Path to Healing.
I had just survived the final assault, he was sitting in jail, and the boys and I were on our path to healing. More than ever before I started reaching out to find healing. Healing from everything that had cause pain in my life.
"It is time to move on..."
"Let go, Let God..."
"Find the positive, think positive.."
"Stop talking about it..."
Every time I heard those opinions or read them online, I felt like I was being pushed aside, dismissed. All the pain that was trying to come out, was being shoved back in, deeper than ever.
"But...but......I AM IN PAIN! I HURT!" - is what I silently cried out.
I had been moving on, my entire life. I tried to "Let go and Let God" take the wheel, all my life. I was and am still a person of faith but all those prayers didn't stop what happened to me, ever. As for trying to think positive, well, that is why my marriage lasted as long as it did. I spent two decades with the man,and mainly because every morning after an incident I would wake up and try to "think positive." I did everything I could to put forth a "positive" feel in our home, it didn't work. These were the things I stopped talking about long before I ever uttered a word to others.
How I made it through those dark nights and the thoughts of ending my story, I can only give credit to that unconditional bond of love I had with my children, my sons. I wasn't ready nor willing to let go of it...I wasn't willing to cause them even more pain.
Just as I was desiring to heal is when I felt more isolated than ever before. Living in a conservative area I had people wanting me to attend their church because in their eyes I hadn't done enough to strengthen my faith - that just pushed me further away from church as once again I was being judged without them knowing my steps, my heart, and my faith.
For the first time in my life that isolation was probably what I needed. No distractions. I had to face my fears, I had to let those steps I've walked in life swirl around my consciousness. I could no longer keep the memories at bay. I was unable to stop feeling. I had to grieve. The powder keg within me blew wide open.
During the darkest times of learning about myself I did have a couple of online friends that were patient and kind, they listened to my late night ramblings...over and over and over. They evidently understood I needed to repeat myself, nightly. It was the only way my truth was going to sink in and past all the walls of "think positive", "just move on," or "Let go, Let God." I needed the memories to be more than flashes in my mind, they needed to be as real as they were when it happened. I needed to face them and I needed to feel them, something I wouldn't allow myself to do until that powder keg exploded and I was forced to.
Survivors of abuse have this incredible thing that can happen to them when they go through a trauma, especially childhood trauma. When it happens it is a survival mechanism kicking into gear - we disassociate. As the trauma is being wielded upon us our body is no longer part of our consciousness. For example, during one of the crimes I endured as a child at the tender age of 9 years old, I can remember being awoken from a sound sleep while sleeping on a relative's couch - there was pain between my legs - and then a large drunk man, a person close to my family, climbing on top of me..placing his hand over my mouth and warning me how he would kill my family if I screamed or told anyone. At that moment I could no longer feel my body. All I could do and still remember doing was taking in the smell of alcohol and wet leather - getting lost in the flashes of light streaming through the windows and from the thunderstorm outside. I disassociated to protect myself and most likely in my child's mind, my family.
Out of all my memories from being a survivor of child sexual assault, that one haunted me the most. That absolute terror I felt causing me to disassociate was probably - no, actually, it was - the hardest memory to face and allow myself to feel again.
This blog became a vehicle of healing for me. It was my online journal. Yes, there are many entries that have been published but what many people do not realize is there are even more that I put in draft mode, never hitting the publish button. It didn't make them less valuable to my healing, actually, those are the ones that pushed my healing along and when I thought I wasn't able to keep going.
Why am I sharing all of this tonight? Well, I am kinda fed up with our society. We've become a short attention span flock of sheep sharing memes after memes of fly-by positive messages without realizing that those pats on the head do not work. They are actually condescending to those who are truly hurting...the ones up late at night scrolling through their news feeds because they need distractions from the pain that is welling up in them.
I've discussed things like this before, but lately I am noticing it more and more and that is more than likely because I have survivors contacting me wanting to know why they just can't be happy and flip that switch. To those trying to heal in the midst of the avalanche of dismissive quotes, please know you're not a failure. What you're feeling is normal. Perfectly normal. Yes, it brings back those memories of a emotionally unavailable parent and/or spouse. Yes, it creates wall of isolation. Yes, those emotions you're feeling are raw and they hurt like the day you first felt them. But please, don't let things like that be the reason you give up. Use situations like that as a tool for facing your fears - honoring your past, and as steps to your healing journey.
When you see those messages in your feeds, pay attention to that twinge you get...that cringe in your stomach...what emotion are you feeling? And why? What does it remind you of...think about it and then get out your journal and write - let it all flow out. Tell your story, give the victim you once were a chance to cry out. If you were a child when it all started, let that child know they weren't lost and you're ready to nurture them back to health.
Whatever you decide to do - don't give up. I promise you it will get better and one day when you feel joy again, you will appreciate and understand it more than ever because you've felt the fires of Hell in your despair. Life will start making sense and you will understand what living your truth means and the balance it provides.