Archive for September 28, 2013

Guest Post – The Truth Shall Set You Free

Guest blogger C. Ellori Hart contributes a moving piece about how a myriad of anxieties can mask the real source of our uneasiness. It’s only when we get to the actual reason for being anxious that we can heal, she says.

– Mary

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

I did not wake up one day and decide that I was going to search for the truth.  I wish it were that poignant but it was not.  It was a host or anxieties that led me to intentionally seek the truth; anxieties that would kidnap me and keep my mind busy with many fears…medical issues, our children’s safety to the point of ridiculous control, highway driving, keeping everyone around me happy.

These fears did a beautiful job of protecting me. Instead of looking at the pain that was hiding inside of me, I could ruminate on getting to the next town on back roads, making soup for my depressed friend or improving my immune system so I could avoid a doctor’s office.  I say this seriously:  I am profoundly grateful to these fears for helping to manage the chaos inside that I was not able to manage myself.

But there came a time when these fears got in the way.  Maybe that is when I began to get stronger.  Or maybe I just had more space in my life to do the work.  But whatever it was, I realized I couldn’t keep living in such a way that I kept growing my fears because of how well I fed them.  And so began the painful process of removing these wonderful, well meaning protective layers of fear.  Beneath them, I found that I had a story.  A painful one that was not nearly as lovely as the one I had falsely lived into for so many years.

You see, I didn’t really know I wasn’t telling the truth to myself.  But something in me did know.  It kept nudging me as I suffered and sweated the on ramps of highways or the headaches whose origin could only be cancerous.  I was lucky to have wonderful people walk this jagged and confusing terrain with me.  Eventually, I was able to see the truth inside was not any different than the stories of so many, but it was my story and one that needed my fullest attention.  And you know what?  It set me free. Or at least I am free-er.  I knew the darkness inside and no longer needed to be enslaved to those fears that threatened to snuff out whatever light was left in me.  Their job was done.

I am a therapist now and many times a day I am reminded how the truth sets us free because I see it happen 5, 6, 7 times a day.  It is wonderful work I do, to be able to sit so humbly in the presence of this reality.  Recently, I met with a parent and child.  The child had some hard things to say to the parent.  The parent, with wisdom, was able to sit and receive all that the child had to say with patience and acceptance and without defense.  It was a powerful moment for me as I realized that the kind of presence the parent engaged with the child, is how we need to be with ourselves in order to coax the truth out of hiding.

The truth is respectful; it will not show up unless we invite it.  And the truth is a pacifist; it does not respond to the kind of inner violence we do to ourselves when we don’t like what we see.  Witnessing to these painful truths requires patience and acceptance.  It asks that we be with it without defense.

Every one of us has a story.  Maybe it does not contain the violence of abuse or the bitter pain of broken families or any number of horrific things that we experience as part of our human experience, but we do each have our own story.  When I could clearly see my story, I no longer had to work so hard to cover it up.  And it was not until I could see clearly that I could learn to be fully present in this experience called Life.  And that feels a lot like freedom.

Response to In The Silence Nothing Changes

SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF A LIGHTWORKER blog post by Patricia Singleton

Child Abuse, Incest, Domestic Violence – In The Silence Nothing Changes

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 06:00 AM PDT

Child abuse, incest, and domestic violence have always been around. People have just now started breaking their silence and talking about it so it seems that it is every where. It is and it always has been. That is why so many of us are so vocal about child abuse and domestic violence. In the silence, nothing changes. Awareness creates change.

This is why so many survivors like me are writing about and speaking about their childhood experiences. Women survivors have been speaking out for a few years now. Finally men have joined the movement forward to a time where every child will be safe from all forms of abuse. That is why I am now writing my memoir about my childhood and efforts to heal from incest. As survivors, we give each other hope and dreams of a world different than the one we grew up in. Join me in this march forward to a better world.

Patricia

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This message above from Patricia Singleton encourages all of us to be more open about our woundedness. Patricia has a long track record of helping others with her blog posts. She is obviously a woman who has done her own work and is now ready to publish her story in book form. Congratulations, Patricia. We’ll look forward to your book.

That’s right for Patricia, as she has known her story for a long time and has done her healing work. What I’d like to add is this: If you are still raw and hurting about your own abuse history, if you’re still discovering new awful stuff, be very careful how open you are with telling. Here are some things I know about telling.

– telling the wrong person can set you back in your healing. You can get badly hurt.

– family members are the hardest to tell, as you’re talking about their family too. Even if the perpetrator wasn’t a family member of friend, it happened while you were a vulnerable child in their family.

– since one in four women and one in six men was sexually abused in childhood, the person you choose to tell may be a victim too. If they haven’t dealt with their history, are still in denial or have dissociated the traumatic memories, they may not give you the support you’re looking for.

– there’s a danger that your courageous disclosure will be met with, “Are you sure?!” “Oh, that can’t be!” When you’re struggling to accept fresh memories yourself, such incredulity sets you back in your healing. You’re no doubt plagued by doubts yourself, even though you know it to be true.

So be careful how you tell your story and whom you choose to tell.

In my own life, I first told my husband, our son and a few close friends whom I knew would understand. My memories surfaced when I was nearly 50, a typical age for this to happen. I didn’t publish my book, Confessions of a Trauma Therapist: A Memory of Healing and Transformation until I was in my 70’s. In my book I tell about the painful experience of telling my sister and my mother. I wrote it to guide others in their healing and to caution them about the pitfalls.

Finally, I want to say that the most important person to tell is YOU. A therapist who’s skilled and experienced in dealing with child sexual abuse can be a great help. As for me, the first therapist I went to, didn’t really believe in sexual abuse. Make sure you find a therapist who will make a safe place for you to discover your own past, without being too directive.

I wish you strength, courage and finally peace of mind in your healing journey.

Mary