I was sitting down here behind my trusty keyboard, and thinking about a topic to write about. Many of the posts that I publish here on the blog come from situations and thoughts that arise during a session with a therapist, or now more recently with a life coach.
As I was paging through twitter and some of my old posts, I came across a post that was quite difficult to wrap my head around at the time, Radical Acceptance. Who am I kidding, it’s still hard to accept even after months have gone by since I wrote that piece.
I should give myself a break though, and keep telling myself that it’s not like a matter of months is long enough to be satisfied with any part of healing from abuse. Everyone heals in their own time and no two survivors work through their trauma in exactly the same way.
So how much have I radically accepted everything in my life so far? I mean really, truly, radically accept it and know that I can’t change the past?
As I worked through that post initially I had a couple thoughts pop into my head about what really is radical acceptance?
- If I accept what happened, that means that I am ok with it or that I, *gasp*, somehow approve?
- If I accept what happened, I will forget about it and suppress my feelings which won’t allow me to continue healing.
Neither of those are correct, but unless you truly embrace the real meaning of this concept, it’s easy to fall into the trap of that thinking. By doing so, that just keep the brakes on in our healing journey.
Here’s what I’ve come up on the various issues that are part of my healing journey, and honest look at how far I have come, or not come as the case may be.
Childhood Sexual Abuse: I do honestly still place a pretty fair amount of blame on myself for continuing to go back to that kid up the street. The lure of his mini bike, the fact that he was a cool teenager, and me being a little kid trying to find acceptance was too much to fight off.
I am however slowly coming to the realization of just how powerless I was. I accept that I was groomed into continually showing up at his house and to never tell anyone. I’m OK with that part, but I still can’t accept why I didn’t just run away after the first time.
It seems like I should be able too, based on what I just said, but I’m just not there yet.
Mother Wounds: That’s what I refer to as Narcissistic Abuse. I’m doing pretty well, if I do say so myself, at accepting this. The emotional distress of living daily with my mother is coming more and more into focus with each passing week.
As I explore how her emotional absence, lack of validation, and constant ridicule for who I was, set me down a path of zero self-esteem, it makes me angry. I absolutely accept the fact that she did these things and it fueled my lack of confidence and overall personality in my young years.
What I do not accept though, is why she did it. I’m sorry but I cannot sit here and justify that whatever she went through made her treat me this way. I honestly have no clue what it is she may or may not have experienced growing up, but I’m not willing to pardon her for whatever that was.
At least not yet. I don’t know if I ever will; I just have to be OK with that. Any hey, isn’t that what Radical Acceptance is all about anyways? You don’t have to forgive, you certainly never forget, but you accept what they did was wrong and try to move forward.
Bullying: This one is pretty similar to the CSA that I mentioned earlier. I’m good with accepting the fact that those kids were jerks who were out to validate themselves at my expense. They saw a vulnerable, easy, target and just took advantage right from the get go.
I accept that issues with my mother fueled this situation and my lack of ability to stand up for myself. A total lack of self-esteem and zero self-confidence will tend to do that to a person.
I somehow accept more, this situation, than I do the CSA. I was older when the abuse happened (late elementary school and middle school), which seems to make no sense when I think about it. However, I guess because I can cast a good amount of blame on my mother for this, I can let myself off the hook just a bit more.
What does all this come down too? The Narcissistic Abusce set the stage for the bullying. The CSA, whenever that actually happened between 5-10 years old, was either fueled by or exacerbated by the Narcissistic Abuse.
So I definitely accept the fact that I was abuse and bullied. I can’t say that I fully Radically Accept any of the 3 situations, but am I further along than a few months back?
Yeah, I think so. Wait I just gave myself some credit!
Healing is a Journey. Life is a marathon, not a race. Work through your trauma in your own time and know that you are worth all of the work you are putting in to feel better.
Radical Acceptance will come in time, for all of us.
image courtesy of wallpapercave.com