I have been mulling over the goal or point of healing from child abuse. In my early months of healing, my goal was to stop being in pain. I was having flashbacks every night and felt like I was losing my mind. My goal was to “get over this” and stop being in pain.
I am no longer in ongoing pain. Yes, I go through periods of processing pain, but I also have periods in which I feel peaceful and am not in emotional pain. Does that mean I am “done?” I don’t think so.
After a few years of healing, my goal of healing from child abuse became more about exploring the person I was becoming. My actions and reactions were different from what they used to be. Instead of being the world’s doormat, I could be a b@#$% when needed, and as time went on, I even learned to embrace this facet of myself. I learned new ways to interact with the people in my life and the world around me. I wound up growing distant in some friendships and developing healthier friendships with different people.
I have heard different theories over the years about what the “end game” to healing from child abuse is. Some people tell me that I need to process and process until there is nothing left to process. Others tell me that the ego is never “finished” and will keep spewing up stuff to process until I learn how to live in a different level of consciousness through tools such as yoga and meditation. My therapist told me that I will always have trauma issues and triggers bubble up, but I will process them faster and faster as they become speed bumps rather than brick walls. My church tells me that through my faith, I can be miraculously healed from all of the trauma and lived the rest of my life renewed.
At the moment, I am toying with my own theory that I have not heard others mention. I wonder if perhaps the goal is not to heal from the child abuse but, instead, to grow. Processing trauma was part of my growth – and a central focus for a while because I needed to work through X, Y, and Z to continue growing. Now that I am on the other side of regular flashbacks, etc., perhaps I don’t need to think about “healing from child abuse” but, instead, simply focus on growing into the person I am becoming. As I encounter trauma issues that need processing because they are interfering with my growth, I’ll process them, but I also don’t need to go looking for traumas to uncover and process, either.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Photo credit: Hekatekris