Archive for August 7th, 2008

This week, I have been talking about the stress of returning to your hometown in which you experienced child abuse. I have talked about my apprehension before the trip, my stress during the visit, and the aftermath of the trip. I do not recommend returning to your hometown where your child abuse took place unless you have a very good reason to do so. Even though I have been healing from my child abuse issues since 2003 and, for the most part, live a life that is free from my past abuse, I experience a terrible regression in my healing whenever I return to my hometown, as I did recently.

After this last trip, I questioned my sanity. I do this every time I return to my hometown, but I still find myself falling into the trap of questioning whether I really am “crazy.” I don’t feel like myself. I push away the people I love the most, and I just want to die. The despair runs so deeply that the things that matter the most to me no longer seem to matter. I can barely function. All I can do is sit and cry.

I have learned that trying to repress the emotions only makes things worse. I have to allow myself to grieve, which is something I do not enjoy doing. I have to allow myself to feel the anger, despair, terror, and grief before I can move past this terribly painful place.

And then here is the real challenge – I have to allow myself to release these emotions without attaching to them. I have learned through experience that my thoughts and energy are incredibly strong. I equate my energy with being a like a Corvette when many people that I know are like a Corolla. Other people can drive down the wrong road (suicidal urges, etc.) and then turn around much faster than I can because they do not go as far as quickly as I do. If I add my own thoughts and energy to the suicidal urges, it is like flooring it in a Corvette. I will find myself so far down the wrong road that I run the risk of never returning. Of course, the good news is that, because I am a Corvette, I can also get myself out of a bad place much faster than many other people can, but have to recognize that is even an option first.

The strength of my energy is both a blessing and a curse. My strength enabled me to survive levels of child abuse that has broken many other people’s sanity. However, the flip side is that, if I direct my energy in the wrong direction, I can find myself in such a bad state that it can be very, very hard for me to find my way back out. It is not my strength that is at issue but my self-perceptions about my strength. Once I buy into the lie that I am weak and that my situation is hopeless, I am vulnerable to harming myself. Because I know this about myself, I am very careful never to act on the things I am feeling when I am in this place.

What ultimately pulls me out is expressing my emotions for a few days and then talking about how I am feeling. My feelings are so “off” from who I am today, but I need an outside person to remind me of who I am. When I return to my hometown, I “forget” that I am this strong conqueror who has healed from my past. Instead, I buy into the lies that I am weak and worthless. The challenge is remembering who I am. Once I remember, I am able to propel myself out of this two-week period of h@#$.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I added the blog What about when MOM is the abuser? to my resources list a while ago because that blog is well-written and researched. The author of that blog contacted me about a two-part series that he was writing entitled People See What They Want To See. You can read both parts here:

The articles help explain why people tend to see what they want to see, even when evidence to the contrary is standing right in front of them. These articles help explain why people believe that the abuser is a good person and fail to see the abuse.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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