My healing journey has taken an unexpected turn

Childhood Sexual AbuseMother Wounds

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Tonight was a therapy session, I literally just walked in the door, and I knew the very first thing that I needed to do was to get these feelings down on my blog. My mind is going a mile a minute and full of so much confusion and so many emotions that it’s hard to formulate thoughts even in my comfort zone of writing.

When I really need to focus I go into my “iced tea and heavy metal” zone. That’s when I can be at both my creative best and also when I can really let my thoughts flow in blog form. I put on a playlist of my favorite songs and drink diet green iced tea like it’s going out of style. I know, it sound ridiculous right?!

Anyway, it honestly feels like my healing journey has taken a dramatic turn for the worst this last month. It’s been steadily building and I haven’t been able to process why or really even realize what was happening until tonight.

Up until about a month ago or so, even though I didn’t realize it, I was actually beginning to make some progress in my healing journey. I mean serious, positive progress. Again, I couldn’t see it until now even though others could. I’m doing more and more writing, the flashbacks are becoming less frequent, and I’m just getting more comfortable opening up about my abuse to others. I’m still not comfortable talking about it face to face with anyone but J (my therapist), but as far as opening up to the survivor community and a colleague, I was feeling a bit…empowered! Holy Jeebus did I just say that? Ok step back and breathe a second here, Lyric!

I wouldn’t have, and didn’t believe it, but now looking back I can see a bit of progress in dealing with my abuse as a child.

Enter in…the letter from my mother and the feelings that have began to brew since then. Since I allowed that letter to be written, everything has just gone south at a rapid pace. My anxiety is through the roof at the very mention of her name. A text that comes through from her makes me immediately feel angry, frustrated, and just beside myself with so much animosity that it’s not even funny.

I used to look forward to therapy sessions; every week I went in there and no matter how I was feeling, I knew that I would feel at least a little bit better when I left. Now, going to therapy fills me with so much anxiety (are you sensing a trend here?) that I’m totally dreading them.  I’m literally between a rock and a hard place.  If I don’t talk about it and deal with it, nothing will ever get solved. If I talk about it, all it does is stir up all these emotions and I have nowhere to go with them.

Right now my healing journey is less about the childhood abuse from the teenager up the street, but more about the problems with my mother. It’s a consuming feeling that I literally can’t shake unless I’m mentally focused and engaged in some activity that keeps my mind occupied. Even then it still creeps in but at least I can keep it at bay.

I guess I can take some solace in the fact that the slight bit of empowerment that I’ve gained prior to that letter being written may be helping me now to stay on an even keel to some degree.

So what do I do…do I attempt to talk to her and tell her how I feel and what’s been going on for the last 40+ years, and more specifically in the last month or do I just let it go?

If I talk to her I risk it blowing up in my face for a number of reasons:

  1. I won’t feel strong enough in my heart to deflect any invalidation back on her and I’ll just take it in and put more blame on myself.
  2. What if she says she’s sorry but she meant well, didn’t mean to hurt me, but I never opened up and talked to her to let her know. That would likely just infuriate me even more.
  3. She will start to preach to me and say that God wants me to do this and that. It’s not a matter of me not believing in God, but more to do with how she’s always used the Bible and church to judge me for everything I’ve done wrong in my life. 
  4. No matter how it ends she’s going to keep guilt tripping me into not spending enough time with my dad.

On that note, my dad is 82 now, and onset of dementia. I love him, always have, and I have very fond memories of times with him as a kid going down to the river, riding 3-wheelers (ATC’s), going for walks, and catching minnows. I’m ok with those memories now, but she wants to guilt me into coming over to see them more because my dad always asks about me.

So now not only do I have the pressure of trying to avoid her and deal with all these thoughts, but also the guilt of how to separate my dad from her. Due to his condition, they are pretty much a package deal these days. Like I said I have good memories of my dad and I’m ok with that as it is, I don’t know that I feel the need to make more for myself. I feel bad for him though because he wants to see me and I feel like I’m letting him down by staying away. Enter the feelings of being totally selfish and ungrateful.

Should I feel guilty for that? I honestly don’t even know. Part of me says no. I’m a grown man, I have my life now and things that I do to keep myself occupied. I had good memories with him and that should be enough for both of us. The other part of me says that yes, I should feel guilty because as a parent my dad just wants to be with his son for as long as he has left. Whether or not he remembers those times makes no difference.

It feels like a no-win situation. I know that I have to come up with some type of resolution either way and even J is in the same boat as I am right now, torn between what to do. Do I suck it up and internalize everything for the sake of my dad and my mom’s feelings, or I confront my mom knowing there is a 99.99% chance I’m not going to get the outcome that I need.

I don’t wish this type of situation anyone and I hope you don’t mind that I had to do a bit of a brain dump on this topic to help me process it. I feel like writing this out has helped me process it a little more, but unlike writing about my past abuse, I don’t get the same relief in writing about this topic as I do about the abuse.

Comments and insight are so much appreciated, please feel free as always to share your thoughts.

Here is my podcast also on this topic that I hope you’ll check out!


Image taken by Matt Pappas. 

847c5c806b7247eec7709d49a90e694a?s=100& My healing journey has taken an unexpected turn
Blogger-Podcaster-Author-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.

9 Responses to " My healing journey has taken an unexpected turn "

  1. […] Thank you so much for checking out my latest podcast!  This is my second show, which happens to be in conjunction with a recent blog post about how my healing journey has taken an unexpected turn. […]

  2. Don says:

    I can kind of understand where you’re coming from on this but instead of my mom, its my dad (we’re reversed on that part). For a long time, I lived many miles from them (still do) and would get these horrible letters that would berate me. I grew up with the using God to manipulate/control/judge me and keep me in line. What I ended up having to do for myself was to not read the letters and I personally cut off contact. I had a friend read their letters and if there was anything I needed to know, he would let me know.

    Healing is not easy and when we move the boulder out of our path, its then that we can see more clearly ahead. Often that comes in some of the worst experiences and difficulties taking a step. Often we are taking a step when we can’t see it, but in some cases, the boulder is so big – it requires much more to move it out of the way.

    You’ve come a long ways in the short time I’ve known you Matt. It may seem like everything is upside down right now, but most likely you’re making far more progress than you can even begin to realize. The family stuff… that ain’t easy either. My mom is no longer alive and I have no contact with anyone in the family. I had to cut the contact in order to survive. The hardest thing I’ve ever done and may not be the best for everyone.

    Keep writing. Keep playing that guitar and drinking that iced tea! You’re getting there… even if it doesn’t feel that way at times. I see the progression in what you write.

    Healing can be a s-o-b! I hate that any of us have to go through this. For now, it may take others to shine the flashlight on the path so you can see better or it might require help moving that big hugh boulder out of the way.

    • Lyric says:

      Can’t even begin to thank you for this Don. You are a friend man and I’m grateful we’ve connected here. This whole thing is a total mind screw for me and I’m trying to figure out how much more I can handle and how to effectively get past this. So many moving parts with my kids and other family members to consider and knowing me like I know me, it’s hard to put me first if you know what I mean.

      I appreciate the encouragement brother, more than you know.

      • Don says:

        Your reply sounds all too familiar and just know you’re getting there…. you really are. I’ve visited those difficult moments far too many times and have too many tshirts as a result! Split it up into bite size pieces and only chew what you can at one time. The rest will be waiting for when you’re ready and in the words of my former therapist, know that this too shall pass.

  3. […] To date, my survivor journey has centered around the abuse that happened to me as a child and now also with recent developments concerning my mother. You can also read more about those struggles of how it affects my life in terms of the people I gravitate towards and the dramatic effects on my healing journey overall. […]

  4. So you’re talking about two relationships, one with your dad and one with your mom. If My dad were eighty two and losing his memory, I would want to spend every moment I could with him and I would enjoy it. Despite the abuse I have suffered from his hands. I love him, and that’s what you do when you love someone, I think. When it comes to your mom, it seems like no matter how she responds to you, it will infuriate you.

    • Lyric says:

      Tomorrow is a rare Sunday session when it’s quite possible we may be starting to write a letter to her. One of those that you don’t send but hope to get some release by writing it out. I have my doubts about it working but we’ll see. Yes my dad is great, just so kind and caring but my mom just has no clue. I was talking a family member tonight about her and it’s just makes me so torn on what to do. Thank you for insight Joy, I always appreciate your thoughts so much!

  5. […] late summer 2015 into late winter 2016. Then just a couple months ago, as I write this, it took another unexpected turn and transformed into what could just be biggest issue to recover from, the mother […]

  6. […] The turtle on the path is me. I like turtles but it also symbolizes my recovery journey as being slow. All of that stuff is behind me now. It doesn’t mean that I’ve healed completely from those events, but it symbolizes that I’m trying to move forward and that now my recovery journey has taken on a new twist with a new obstacle. […]

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