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Archive for October 3rd, 2007

Sunrise (c) Lynda Bernhardt

What does it mean to heal from childhood abuse? I asked that question so many times when I was in the throes of having flashbacks. For me, healing meant that I would no longer be in pain and that I would be “normal.” I now view “normal” as overrated. LOL

I compare the healing process to healing a broken arm. For most of my life, I knew that my arm did not work the same way as other people’s arms did. I tried to overcompensate so that nobody would know that the bones were shattered.

One day I started having flashbacks, and at least I knew why my arm was broken so badly. Through setting boundaries and focusing on healing myself, I wrapped my arm in a cast. I found a message board filled with other people who were also healing their broken arms. Some of us had similar stories while others had stories that were much different. However, the net result was the same.

I found an identity in having a broken arm. I used to feel like I did not fit in anywhere because of my brokenness, but now I was a member of a club! As painful as the healing process was, it helped to know many other people who were in various stages of healing.

About six months ago, my arm fully healed, and it was time to take off the cast. The problem was that I was not ready to let go. Losing the cast meant losing my identity. If I was no longer an “adult survivor of childhood abuse,” then who was I? I would take the cast off but then quickly put it back on again. There was comfort in the known versus the unknown of taking it off. Also, losing the cast meant losing my excuses for not engaging in life to the fullest.

The problem was that my arm was now healed, and my body longed to have full range of motion for the first time in my life. Whenever I would put the cast back on, it felt wrong. I finally had to take a leap of faith that I would be okay and remove the cast. It was scary but incredibly rewarding.

I now have a new identity: I am a conqueror. I am no longer defined by what was done to me in childhood, nor am I defined by the resulting limitations of today. I am free to be whoever I want to be and do whatever I want to do. I can live my life in any way I choose, free from the clutches of my history.

This can be your future, too. Let me show you how.

Related Topic:

The Guarded Heart of the Abused Adopted Child

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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