I have been thinking a lot about the blog entries I wrote on Friday and Monday as well as the many comments that I received both in the comments sections as well as through email. I had an epiphany that I hope will be healing and affirming to all.
I think that the big picture of healing from child abuse is the same for everyone but that the specific details are as varied and individual as we are. Let’s start with the big picture …
I told my therapist my theory on the “big picture” of healing from child abuse, and he wholeheartedly agreed. The way that anyone heals from child abuse is by learning to love and accept himself and his experiences. The more you love yourself, accepting your experiences (past and present) as “mine,” and express your true feelings and emotions, the more you heal. Healing from child abuse really is that simple. Unfortunately, “simple” is not the same thing as “easy.”
Here is where the details come in. Each of us is unique. Not two people suffered the exact same abuses or reacted in the exact same way. So, it makes sense that no two people are going to heal in the exact same way. I have found yoga to be immensely helpful in healing, while Michael shared that yoga was not helpful to him but that Tai Chi has been found to be more beneficial to those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I found that therapy was absolutely crucial to get me through the early years of healing, but Lacey (as well as many others) have had unhelpful experiences with therapy. I found reading numerous books to be immensely helpful, but Michael did not – he found expressive therapy to be much more helpful. My faith has been crucial in healing while many others are triggered by religion and manage to heal without having a faith.
So, who is right? We all are!
To heal from child abuse, I think we always need to keep the big picture in mind and then ask what steps we can take toward loving and accepting ourselves and our experiences. I initially came at this from a more traditional left-brained approach – working with a therapist and reading lots of books, but that was not enough. I needed to branch out to yoga, meditation, and Reiki for more spiritual healing.
I think we need to think of the specifics as tools that we can put in our healing toolbox that we can use as we feel the need. My healing journey is not going to look like yours because I am going to use different tools than you are. The best thing I can do is share what works for me while all of you share what works for you. Collectively, the more tools we add to our healing toolbox, the more resources all of us will have available to heal.
This gets me back to the point that a few readers made about my Friday blog entry – that they felt that there was judgment because what worked for me was not working for them in the way or timeframe that it worked for me. We need to remember that each of us is an individual, and we are going to progress at different paces while using different tools to get there. Instead of comparing the tools, let’s urge one another along our healing journeys by keeping our eyes on the big picture – Let’s do whatever we need to do to learn how to love and accept ourselves.
Photo credit: Hekatekris