When a man starts my program, he often says, “I am here because I lose control of myself sometimes. I need to get a better grip.” I always correct him: "Your problem is not that you lose control of yourself, it’s that you take control of your partner. In order to change, you don’t need to gain control over yourself, you need to let go of control of her.
Some people stand and move as if they have no right to the space they occupy. They wonder why others often fail to treat them with respect--not realizing that they have signalled others that it is not necessary to treat them with respect.
There is a moment in our healing journey when our denial crumbles; we realize our experience and it's continued effects on us won't "just go away". That's our breakthrough moment. It's the sun coming out to warm the seeds of hope so they can grow our personal garden of empowerment.
Having one's mother or father or past abuser admit to their crimes or even apologize for them changes nothing--certainly not what they did. Rather, such an apology would give you the psychological permission to "move on" with your life. But you do not need anybody's permisson to move on with your life. It does not matter whether or not those responsible for harming you ever understand what they did, care about what they did, or apologize for it. It does not matter. All that matters is your ability to stop fondling the experience with your brain. Which you can do right now.
Dissociated trauma memories don't reveal themselves like ordinary memories. Like pieces of a puzzle, they escape the primitive part of our brain where the trauma has been stored without words. These starkly vivid and detailed images are defined by our five senses and emotions, but there is no 'story'. So we are left trying to comprehend the incomprehensible while trying to describe what doesn't make sense. Healing is about collecting as many pieces as possible. It's finding words for what we are seeing and feeling - even when it sounds crazy. It's daring to speak our truth until it makes sense.
It takes Wonder Woman courage and Superman strength to heal the wounds of our abuse... because it brings change... and we are inclined to hold on to the stability we created in the chaos of our past experiences. So imagine more. Take small steps. Be guided by your personal truth and not the impressions left by the bad guys in your childhood story.
In addition to reaching out for help, you will also need to reach within yourself. Your biggest ally will be your emotions. Through them, you will learn more about what really happened to you, how the abuse affected you, and what you need to do in order to heal. Your emotions will enable you to reclaim the self you long ago hid away.
Our abusive parent didn't give us the gentle, encouraging nurturing we needed. But healing invites us to give our inner child the kind of loving empowerment that will help us reach our potential and celebrate our spirit. Move past what you wished you could have experienced and embrace the uncommon, sweet possibilities of being your own best parent.
Stuffing our memories might become familiar over the years, but it requires a mental vigilance that separates us from our inner world. It's building our lives making sure we never step on any path that might lead us to the tender and scary places we carry within us. We don't dare explore the unknown. We can't allow new possibilities. And yet, those are the very paths connected to the core of who we are beyond our abuse.
There are many heartfelt reasons for pushing our childhood sexual abuse to the edge of our lives and one amazing reason to embrace a healing journey; it reunites us with our shining, colorful, joyful spirit.
Logic becomes a loud voice when the wall of our past abuse begin to crack with awareness. But that's our adult speaking. The child within, who had the experience, talks to us through flashes of insights. Trust your perceptions. They are a powerful guide in healing.
There was a moment of hesitation in which Joe looked into her eyes, and she looked back without flinching. Many a time, he had been at the same game with her, and she had always crumbled, bowing to his will. Now, he must have realized he was looking into the eyes of a stranger. She was someone he could not recognize, a foreigner inhabiting the body of that old Clairey, the girl he had abused, intimidated, and broken. Clairey decided then and there she would no longer cower before him. It was almost as if she were daring him to strike her in their unspoken exchange.
In the weeds of childhood sexual abuse, we are the sturdy flowers that kept reaching for a slip of sunshine and a trickle of water so we could grow into wildly beautiful, singular people. Together, we are creating a colorful bouquet that is changing the world.
So many moments of potential holiday joy got buried in the pain of our abuse. Now these days offer us a chance to give our inner child the gift of caring. Sometimes it's as simple as asking, "What do you want?" Most often the answer is a small thing. Be a Santa to your wounded child and feel the healing passed forward to you.
'My problem was comparatively simple,' Marcus said. 'One kiss was enough to solve it. But that doesn't mean one kiss is enough to wake everyone up and end every nightmare. [...] That's okay,' Marcus whispered to him. 'One kiss doesn't need to be enough to let you know that the nightmare is really over.' Liam swallowed rapidly, the world around him becoming embarrassingly misty. 'I'm not going anywhere,' Marcus promised. 'There'll be as many kisses as you need.' Tilting Liam's head back, Marcus dipped his head and brought their lips together one more time. Liam sighed softly into the kiss and, very slowly, woke up just a little bit more.
Clairey tasted the bile rising up in her throat, could smell the pathetic fear she was giving off, and they were as familiar to her as waking and sleep, as hunger and thirst. In her time of peace there with Ellis, she had nearly forgotten the taste and smell of it, how her joints became liquid and her mouth became sour. That was what violence did to her.