Healing from abuse doesn’t mean that we suppress and forget what happened

Childhood Sexual AbuseHealing From Abuse

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Boy if only I could take my own advice right? I learn things like that, the title of this post, from therapy and other sources but the key is believing them and taking them to heart. I try continually to embrace my healing journey but it’s not always easy.

So why is that such a difficult concept for me to understand? It’s a genuine source of anxiety for me. I mean, I’m the one that took the initiative to start going to therapy, to talk to my her about my past, to reach out using this blog, participate in survivor chats, and eventually talk to a family member about it.

So why am I so scared of healing? It sounds ridiculous when I read what I just wrote. Isn’t the goal of seeing a therapist and doing all of those things supposed to be to feel better and be able to live a better life?  If so, then what’s my deal?

I’m scared of not being healed enough and that I’ll push aside the trauma and not fully deal with it. I say that quite often in sessions and she always reassures me that she won’t let me forget and that I won’t suppress the feelings any longer. In fact, recently she said that she’d be shocked if that was even possible at this point. I’ve come so far, in what I can admit and talk about now vs what I was like 6 months ago, a year ago.

I’ve brought memories to the forefront that I didn’t even know I had. I’ve remembered parts of the trauma that I didn’t even know happened, and still continue to do so. These flashbacks that I have are my mind letting me know that it’s time to add a new piece of the puzzle to my past because it knows I am able to handle it.  Granted it’s only in tiny bits at a time, but that’s a far cry from what it used to be, which was nothing at all.

Putting those puzzle pieces together may be a bit intimidating but it’s also powerful for me to make the connections. I just wish they’d come more frequently and in bigger chunks. Patience is not one of my virtues, but mind has a mind of its own if you know what I mean. I just have to learn to trust it.

Would it really be possible at this point to actually suppress everything again? In her eyes, no.  However, for me, healing-from-abuse-doesnt-mean-it-never-happened-quote--300x201 Healing from abuse doesn't mean that we suppress and forget what happenedI’m not totally convinced yet. I have a mind that keeps me grounded and always is thinking ahead to what could happen. You might not think that’s being grounded, but in a sense it is. I don’t get caught up in the moment very often without analyzing the ins and outs first, the possibilities of what could or could not happen. Often times I talk myself out of a situation or a purchase, either good or bad, because I take into account every possible outcome.

That constant analyzing works it’s way in my recovery too. That can be good but it can also keep me so focused on the task at hand that I don’t “live my life” and enjoy it.

Because I’m so driven, I stay focused on the trauma not only to learn from it but also to ensure that I never go back to who I was before. I rationalize to myself that I can somehow forget what happened and end up suppressing the past again to the point of ignoring it. I simply cannot allow that too happen whether it’s actually possible or not.

I’m learning though, that healing is a good and positive thing for me. If I want to live the life I’m dreaming of, I have to heal and accept the fact that it doesn’t mean I will forget my trauma. It just won’t have to rule my every day existence any more.

It’s a fine line of living life and still being able to feel like I’m healing. Balance is not something I’m good at. I’m more of one extreme or the other, type of person. I’m either way over there or way over here, the middle is a scary chasm of the unknown that I avoid it at all costs. The bridge between the two extremes is not a solid, stable, super structure but rather a rickety old rope bridge that sways with the slightest breeze.

Getting the courage to even look at the bridge, let alone take a step out onto it gives me all kinds of anxiety.

I am learning to take comfort and pride in the fact that I’m slowly and I mean ever so slowly, learning that one can take those steps towards healing and feeling good about myself without forgetting where I came from and what shaped me. One day I will live as a survivor!

Dare to dream as I like to say.

-Lyric

 

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Blogger-Podcaster-Advocate for Mental Health.

Matt is survivor of childhood sexual abuse & narcissistic abuse, living with Dissociation, Anxiety, & PTSD.

This blog exists to inspire all who have survived the trauma of abuse. All posts, podcasts, and videos are my life as a survivor shared openly and honestly to help inspire as many as possible to speak up, speak out, and not be ashamed.

7 Responses to " Healing from abuse doesn’t mean that we suppress and forget what happened "

  1. Don says:

    Actually what you write sounds like the pretty normal part of healing or what I found for my own life. I think healing is more like connecting the dots (like the little draw the line connect the dots kids do). It isn’t always a straight line because straight lines wouldn’t complete the picture. It is the connections from one dot to the other and sometimes we just don’t see the image that is being drawn until we get more of the dots connected.

    I remember one time when I had went through a major rash that covered my entire body. I was fighting with it and my doctor asked me “if I was ready to let go of it”. Of course I was I replied, but I soon found out that the fear of letting go what I was holding on to, was greater than letting it go.

    You’re doing good… you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing. From what i can see and you’ve got a whole host of people standing behind you supporting you, cheering you on, encouraging you as you help and inspire myself and most likely others with what you write.

    Keep going… which is what you’re already doing (and by all means, don’t stop writing!)

    • Lyric says:

      Thanks Don! I think that’s what so un-nerving for me, or maybe disconcerting, or just downright confusing. I’m kind of stumbling my way through this whole process and really not knowing what’s going to happen next, or what is supposed to happen next. I’m learning that healing is not a linear process, point A to B and wham bam you’re healed! I don’t know what to expect next and that’s what keeps me on edge and experiencing anxiety. I can’t just let it happen, I have to try and force and understand it and rationalize it and of course I can’t so I get frustrated.

      You are correct, I do have people in my corner that I’ve quickly become very attached too, fond of, and just happy to have them in my life. My therapist is an obvious one, without her I’d still be suppressing like I did for so long. Others like yourself,and so many here online that give me encouragement and smiles when I need it, and validation that I am on the right track. Even if this track is more like a maze than a healing road 🙂

      There’s no way I can stop writing even if I wanted too. It’s such a big part of my life and vital to my well being and growth.

  2. […] what is Radical Acceptance then? It’s not that we forget about our past trauma or that we approve of it or minimize Our past is part of us and makes us who we are. Accepting it […]

  3. […] I will suppress my trauma again and end up being stuck. For me, trying to realize that healing doesn’t mean that we forget our past is easier said than done. As J says though, “you’ve come too far now to ever suppress […]

  4. […] doesn’t mean that we ever fully, completely heal and forget our past. That’s just not realistic if you ask me. Our past is part of us, there is no delete button […]

  5. […] she’s done for me. Now with my Coach, things are continuing to be put into perspective. Healing from trauma isn’t something you just deal with in 6 months or a year and then you’re all […]

  6. […] these doubts doesn’t mean that what we experienced didn’t happen, yet our mind can drag us into that direction before we realize it. Once we start questioning […]

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