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I have been reading the book The Shack by William Paul Young. I have been focusing upon different words of wisdom in the book that can be applied to survivors of child abuse. See my first post for more information about the book.

Today’s quote is a biggie for me and, I suspect, for many of you. The quote is kind of long, but this is all really good stuff:

The darkness hides the true size of fears and lies and regrets…The truth is they are more shadow than reality, so they seem bigger in the dark. When the light shines into the places where they live inside you, you start to see them for what they are…

“But why do we keep all that crap inside?” Mack asked.

Because we believe it’s safer there. And, sometimes, when you’re a kid trying to survive, it really is safer there. Then you grow up on the outside, but on the inside you’re still that kid in the dark cave surrounded by monsters, and out of habit you keep adding to your collection…Some folks try with all kinds of coping mechanisms and mental games. But the monsters are still there, just waiting for the chance to come out.” ~ The Shack pp. 176-177

I see the “monsters” as all of the lies that I internalized as an abused child – that I am unlovable; that everyone in my life will betray me; that I cannot trust anyone; that I must be perfect. When I keep them in the dark, they seem larger than life. However, when I shine the light of self-love onto them, I see these lies for what they really are.

I have experienced the feeling of these “monsters” always wanting to come back out. I will make marked progress in my healing. Then, out of seemingly nowhere, the “monsters” will come out, and I will feel the punch of the shame and self-loathing all over again.

Like the author says in the book, I will try all sorts of coping mechanisms to “tame the monsters” with varying levels of success. Ultimately, the more compassion that I show myself, the easier it is to tame the monsters.

I still have not conquered my monsters. I think my monsters are part of my “evil wolf.” I can starve them, but I never seem to be successful in killing them off altogether.

My therapist has advised me that, after I win a battle with my monsters, I should “go to the beach” in my head. The beach is my safe place. He says that I need to take some time to nurture myself after one of these “battles,” and “going to the beach” in my head has been a good way to do this.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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