Archive for May 5th, 2008

Man on bike (c) Lynda BernhardtWhen a person chooses to heal from child abuse, the biggest hurdle that he faces is the momentum of a lifetime of thinking about himself in a certain way. It is second nature for a child abuse survivor to put an enormous amount of energy into hating himself. Healing from child abuse involves doing the exact opposite, which is learning how to love yourself. This can be hard to do.

It is kind of like turning a big ship around. When you turn the wheel, the ship is not going to do a 180 right away. It is going to take some time. First, the ship has to slow down. Then, as it slows, it can begin changing direction. As it turns into the way that it needs to go, you can once again pick up speed in the right direction.

I have found that, to heal many aspects of my child abuse history, I had to begin by slowing down the negative stuff before I could implement the positive stuff. For example, to heal my negative associations with sex, I could not suddenly wake up one day and say that sex went from making me feel badly about myself to feeling great. Instead, just removing the negative energy and becoming neutral about sex slowed the ship, enabling me to begin turning it around.

I have applied this to many areas of healing, including self-injury and an eating disorder. Sometimes the most kind thing I can do for myself is to slow the negative progression. Then, as the negativity slows, it leaves room to start adding some positive energy to the situation.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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