IN APRIL 2020, I was into my 20th month of full-on healing from being retraumatized by the same abuser who sexually assaulted me when I was 4 years old. In looking back over the years, 27 to be exact, I have been addressing my memories of the sexual abuse off and on. And so, this last time I will admit that I felt angry that I was needing to revisit the abuse, unpack it and recover from it …. again.
During this most recent time frame I’ve come to understand a lot more of the impact of these experiences and the trauma that ensued and how it encompassed my whole life, my whole being from that moment forward. What also caused a lot of damage was that I didn’t grow up in an environment where I felt I belonged. Was it the sexual abuse that caused me to feel that way – segregated and isolated and unwanted and unloved? Maybe some of it, yes, yet there is a part of me that believes that there was more to this feeling of emptiness than that. I have come to learn a lot about gaslighting and DARVO and have come to see how a lot of that behaviour was and is still happening. I bet it is considered normal treatment of each other but to me it is oppressive and extremely unloving and abusive. Being led to believe and being treated like my perspective and thoughts and opinions on my abuse and how it’s impacted me doesn’t matter as much as theirs – well… there really are not words for such nonsensical behaviour. This is denial and disrespect at its best.
I wade the damage that this recent resurgence has done to my thought processes for I have days and weeks of fogginess with poor memory and poor focus. I have learned that this is what is called dissociation. Frankly, I hate it when I am like this. I also know and understand that it is what my body is doing because my brain is rewiring itself, discharging all the lies and work arounds I had to do to just live and exist and leading me to where I want and deserve to be – where there is clarity, vibrancy, joy, harmony and a sense of connection. This is part of my healing journey and now, with this CV-19 pandemic, a lot of the old childhood feelings of disconnection, isolation, fear, angst, not belonging, hopelessness, powerlessness, voicelessness, etc have resurfaced, unfortunately. I know that I am not alone, and I say that to others. We are all in this collective global trauma together. Today I have healthy coping strategies in place to help me get through the dissociated periods and prayer helps so much, especially when I am feeling a lot of overwhelm.
Several books were read to understand what was going on with me and a few were by Brené Brown. I was baffled where she was talking about a challenge she experienced with a Maya Angelou quote: “I belong every place. I belong no place. I belong to myself.” I too struggled with this, not grasping what those words meant. Only in these last few days has this door opened to me. Now I understand. Before I could though, I had to let go of where I thought I belonged, I had to stop yearning and pining for this place that didn’t exist in reality – it existed only in my dreams. Embracing the reality that I belonged to me instead helped me see that this is what Maya and Brené meant. And that this is where I am meant to be.
This means to me is that I belong to myself, I belong to and am loyal to the values I hold dear. By living my values, respecting my own boundaries of what I expect from myself, and embracing all of me, loving me – even the deeply scarred part of me, finally conceding to the fact that I don’t have to prove myself to anyone – for it’s just me and God, that’s it! By letting go of all that angst, letting go of all that pressure that I have allowed into my space, my very being, there is now room for freedom, joy, love and connections.
And you know what? That emptiness is dissipating. That bodily hunger is going away. I am being filled with unconditional love, with acceptance, with peace, with passion, with vibrance and joy. It is so wonderful to have that door opened and being able to allow all that goodness in!
Trauma Recovery IS possible. It feels great and so well worth the work! Because – to get to the other side – there is no life like it. I have unfurled my wings and am soaring. Love has lifted me up high.
I have been there where you are, so let me help you get to where you want to be too.
I am Lisa, a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach offering support for adult survivors of childhood trauma transform tragedy into triumph.