the understanding heals
Last week is a pure good example of how much and how big something can heal in the understanding vs not understanding.
When I began therapy 6 years ago and started to tell my story one year into therapy, the details of the abuse were just words.
When I would describe the abuse in detail to my therapist, I would hide into my hands, close my eyes really tight, sometimes block my ears, or cry into his shoulder and say the words really fast so that I wouldn’t hear what it was I was saying.
I have told my story many times in therapy, and each time I have come to learn that when I truly get to the understanding of what happened to me, when I TRULY accept that I was abused, it heals something deep inside that I cannot even explain.
I am a sponge for information. I love to know why and how something works. I love to understand things to the very bottom of it, but the abuse and all the pain that I have gone through in my life, there was no answer, there was no understanding, and that caused me to be in denial that what I went through was that bad!
One day a couple of months ago I said to my therapist “I was really hurt bad wasn’t I?”, and I remember my therapist taking a deep breath in, and letting out this big sigh of relief that I finally was able to see that “I was hurt” and “no this was not my fault”.
Last week was a hard week for me, and it wasn’t until I understood why that I started to feel better.
This week my therapist is gone on vacation and although we have stay connected, I feel connected and healing is taking place in this very moment because I understand why I felt so horrible last week, and what caused it, and better yet – what I can do to heal that wound.
There have been many times in therapy that I have come to an understanding about something, and it clicks! When I understand something, It helps me to fix it or over-come it. It’s when I come up against something I don’t understand that confuses me and that is why last week was so hard – I didn’t understand why at first, but then it hit me, and I started the healing process of why I was grieving so much.
I truly believe what “Pema Chodron” says in her quote above “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know“.
Last week I needed to know that those chapters I wrote in my book “the closet” and “motherless” were painful. I needed to know and see how badly I was hurt, how much I need a mom in my life, and why.
I needed to understand what it is I long for, and what I am grieving, and because of that understanding – this week I feel healing taking place.
I know that there is no true understanding to the abuse I endured. I know there will never be a good enough answer as to why my mom is the way she is, or why I was abused daily as a child, but what I do know is, the more I talk about it, the more I accept what happened to me, the more I let my therapist in on the deep details, the more I hear my own voice telling the story – I will heal and can move on from the pain.
No I don’t believe that what I went through will EVER really go away, but I believe the pain will.
Nothing can ever truly take away what happened to me, but I believe that the empowerment is not so much in making it go away, the empowerment is found in the understanding/acceptance of what happened to me. It’s about finding peace in knowing that this was not my fault, and I have a right to talk about what happened to me and heal through that.
It’s when I open my eyes, heart and soul to something is when I feel TRUE healing takes place, even if it’s painful to hear, see and understand, it’s still healing – Understanding is healing.
June 6, 2013 at 7:44 AM
This post is insighful and true. I too need to hold something, look at it, think about it, understand it well, and then put it in it’s place. I’ve done this my whole life. As a child, I had a little box that I kept hidden. It was full of my stuff. No one ever saw my collections. It contained fossils that I had found ( I lived in NW Ga where there are a lot of fossil), a marble set, some jacks, a few small colorful, bouncy balls, and some small smooth stones. This small box had all that was mine, and mine alone. It was the only thing that I had that was mine, that no one had seen, used or touched. I would take it out secretly and then look at each piece, think about it and then reorganize it into something that made sense to me. Somehow that helped me during my childhood years. I learned from examining, then organzing and placing it in its righful place. This is so difficult to do with trauma and abuse. It doesn’t seem to make sense or have a place that really fits. Thank you for you posts. I always find them helpful and can so relate. Thank you for sharing your journey of healing with all of us.
June 6, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Excellent post dear Karen. I think it shows what comes AFTER you’ve gone through really hard parts of healing.
I love the Pema quote. I’ve found her writing very helpful at times. It often seems like raw unadorned truth, sometimes not easy to accept but sometimes that is more healing.
The part you wrote about early in therapy when you’d talk about the past abuse ……”the details of the abuse were just words”. That’s where I’m at about the abuse I lived through. I guess it’s a beginning to even be talking about it at all. I’ve talked about it in the past to close friends and counselors, and then it was a big deal to speak about it and feel the embarrassment and shame and fear. Then I also focused on trying to understand why the abuser did what he did, I was not focusing on my feelings. After getting some understanding of him, I felt I could forgive, a little. (Since he’d been severely abused by his father). However that was not deep healing for me. Though I didn’t see it that way back then. I just moved on.
Now I’m seeing how much I’ve been wounded (even crippled – emotionally) by the early abuses. And I have a sense that I’ve barely gotten to real healing in myself. Today this feels daunting. I don’t know if I have the energy to do all the real-time day to day work I need to keep up with AND delve into my unhealed soul for what I assume will be very difficult work. OK I’m just being honest about it right now. I hope I can muster the energy and courage to do the work.
I do agree that understanding stuff helps give me the willingness to press forward.
I appreciate your writing today a lot….I hope your time off is going well.
June 7, 2013 at 1:03 AM
GEL … Thank you for your response and yes my time off has been good, it went by too fast, but it’s been good. I appreciate you sharing your experience in this as well.. I love reading about your healing and your process and your thought process.. it’s always refreshing. it’s nice to know that even though we have different experiences, we are never really alone