Archive for August 14th, 2008

In my last blog entry The “End Result” of Healing from Child Abuse, I mentioned that I am dealing with new challenges today as part of my healing from child abuse. The healing process is never “over.” We continue to heal at deeper levels as we grow into who we were always meant to be, rediscovering the beauty of our true natures as we go along.

I spent years dealing with flashbacks. Today, I am dealing with “flash nows.” I can best explain what I mean by using an analogy.

Before you begin the child abuse healing process, it is as if you are going through your life in a dark room with only a small candle to illuminate the room. You are surrounded by your truths, but you do not see them.

When you are ready to begin the child abuse healing process, someone turns on a light with a dimmer switch. Initially, the light is on its lowest setting. The light illuminates a bunch of painful experiences that have always been a part of what made you who you are today, but you never “saw” them. These are your first flashbacks.

As you continue to heal, the dimmer switch grows the tiniest bit brighter to illuminate painful truths from your past. You are shocked to see things that you did not see before, and you find yourself having to “clean up” baggage that you never even knew was there.

At some point, you finally clean up all of the areas of your life that pertain to the past. While there will always be some residue, you can check that corner of the room off your list. You are “done” with flashbacks. That is where I am now.

What I did not know is that the past is not the only baggage with which I must deal. The dimmer switch has gone a little bit brighter. Before me is an entire corner of the room filled with baggage, but this time, the baggage is about the life that I have built for myself today. I feel like I have been thrown into another “breakthrough crisis,” only this one is filled with “flash nows” rather than flashbacks.

I now see how I have filled my life with relationships that continue unhealthy dynamics for me. I have chosen relationships that make me feel unimportant and valued for what I can do for the other person rather than for who I am. I have questioned for years why I continue to struggle with feeling worthless when I have silenced the voices of my abusers in my head. I now see that I have set up my life to continue sending me this message.

This truth is so painful to face. It means even more changes in my life, and I am still recovering from all of the changes I made previously. It means making difficult choices about which relationships to hold onto as best I can without sacrificing myself, and also deciding which relationships I need to release. I cannot tell you how painful the idea of doing this is to me. My sister has been telling me for years that I need to “weed my garden” – that not every relationship is forever. I cannot invest my energy into too many relationships, and yet it is so hard for me to let go.

So, that is the crux of my struggles at the moment. I see myself facing another marathon or another mountain to climb, and I question whether I have the strength to do it. But, like with facing the flashbacks, I have no other choice. I feel propelled toward healing and growth. I am just trying to catch my breath before I start climbing.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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