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Posts Tagged ‘courage to heal’

On my About Faith Allen page, a reader posted the following comment:

hi, just discovered your site- congratulations on your integration- we have a daughter who has been suffering for over 17 years, many treatments, many drs., many hospitalizations- not much progress- currently in crisis- looking for help again- who and what helped you? would you mind sharing this info? we would go anywhere just to find person/persons/hospitals. etc. who could be of help
thanks!

The most important element in healing is choosing to heal. Until a person decides that he or she is willing to do anything to heal, you can invest in all the resources in the world, and it is not going to make much of a difference. Choosing to heal is hard work. You have to relive painful memories, and you have to accept that these horrible things happened to me. Until a person reaches this place, resources are going to be of limited value.

If your daughter is sick to death of being in this awful place and is ready to begin the hard work of healing, I have several resources for her:

Books

The two “must reads” for a survivor of severe child abuse are Safe Passage to Healing (book about healing from ritual abuse and understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder -DID) and the Survivor to Thriver Manual (walks you through the healing process in a non-triggering way). Another great resource is The Courage to Heal.

Online Resources

Isurvive is a message board for survivors of all forms of child abuse. The Survivors of Ritualized Abuse forum is for those who suffered the most severe forms of trauma. It is also the place to talk about DID-related issues. The Sidran Institute is another great resource, offering lots of helpful articles on healing from severe child abuse.

Therapy

It is crucial that your daughter work with a qualified therapist with experience in working with survivors of severe child abuse. In my experience, the therapist does not have to be a DID specialist as long as he “gets” what alters parts are and their function. Healing from DID is too difficult to do alone. I strongly advise working closely with an educated therapist.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my blog entry entitled Healing from Child Abuse: Ongoing Process of Endless Growth, a reader posted the following comment:

Hey… could you talk more about this idea of “pushing through the barrier” and “getting it over with”… I’m really feeling stuck in therapy lately. We’ve hit some rough territory and every session we’re doing the same “I’m too freaked out to go forward” thing. ~ Else

Every survivor of child abuse battles conflicting agendas. One agenda is a healthy one – we want to heal from the pain of the past so we can embrace a brighter future. The other agenda is one of survival and self-protection. We resist healing because of our fear. Put another way, we need to learn how to feed the right wolf.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. I reached a place in a friendship where I was beginning to trust my friend, and I decided to tell her that she was becoming a good friend. Just the thought of saying those words threw me into a panic. I had panic attacks, diarrhea, hyperventilated, and trembled all morning long. Whenever I thought about not saying those words, all of those symptoms went away. I chose to say the words, anyhow. After a period of extreme stress, I broke through all sorts of invisible barriers inside of myself.

Because of my courage to push through the anxiety, I freed myself up to open my heart to friendships and let someone else in. Since then, I have opened my heart up to even healthier friendships. My life is much better and richer because I had the courage to push through the anxiety years ago.

I had very good reasons for the anxiety and fear. I had loved my mother, and she betrayed me. The same story held true with many other people in my life. I had a long list of people who had betrayed me, so I had good reasons to cover my heart in ice. Nevertheless, I longed for emotional intimacy with another person. In order to achieve this, I had to risk letting another person in. It took an enormous amount of courage to do this.

The same holds true with any barriers that you are facing. You have two “wolves” at war inside of yourself. Each time you choose to give in to the fear, you are feeding the wrong wolf. If you want to heal, you must feed the right wolf. You must choose to take risks and face your fears head-on.

The most important thing to remember is that self-love and self-acceptance is your natural state. It feels unnatural because of the abuse, so you have disconnected from your natural state of being. Whenever you choose self-love, self-acceptance, and health, that path is going to win. Your unhealthy side knows this, so it will fight back even harder. However, if you choose to feed the right wolf despite the backlash, you will come out of the other side of the battle as a healthier you.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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