I wrote this for a friend who told me on the phone that he had been abused as a kid. We didn't get to talk about it then so I wrote this.
A Map for Healing
Yesterday when we spoke you said you were dealing with something difficult. You couldnít speak specifically because you were out in public, but I could put the pieces together. You said it was someone in your family and that made it harder to deal with. I could only guess that you were molested by a family member. Unfortunately, I am not surprised. Why? Because it is common. Because it fits the description you gave. Because I know the symptoms all too well. I have been there.
I can tell you that I believe you. I can tell you that Iím sorry. And I am. That will serve as a salve for a moment but truly you must move on from there. I could tell you that it is horrible and it is and was. But you donít want to stay in ďhorribleĒ forever. There are much better places. You must walk out the door and embark on a journey.
What can I tell you? I could give you a road map for the journey, but being a man you would not want to ask directions. Thatís a joke. Yes, there is some humor in all of this. If there wasnít, I could not have survived. Truthfully it would not be possible for me to give you an exact map. You must create that yourself. So without naming specific ways and routes, I can give you some advice as you progress. I can tell you some of the places you will most probably go. You will build a map step by step. Years from now you will be able to look back with amazement at what you constructed.
No doubt you have gained certain tools as you have grown. You are not a young child and with reason. It has taken this long for you to be able to confront what happened. You had to be ready to face your own shadow also. Shocking as it may seem, but some people never look at their demons. It doesnít make those people better or worse. Just maybe in a different place. Itís important to be careful about comparisons because at others times you will also feel you fall short. Perhaps neither is accurate. We are all on a journey as Teilhard DeChardin said, ďWe are not human beings on a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings on a human journeyĒ.
Healing is a journey. It is not as easy as saying I want to go to Albany or Buffalo and being able to choose a direction and speed and know when you will arrive. The destination is somewhat unknown and oddly, the faster you want to go, the slower you may actually travel. The destination is somewhat amorphous and hard to track. I canít even tell you what vehicles you will take.
Perhaps it takes you to wholeness. Love. Peace. This journey is not only about where you must go and what you will find there but also, and perhaps more importantly, about what you will experience along the way. All roads lead back to you but you must find the route and that will take time. Be kind about that also. No one is judging you.
Your journey is yours. It starts with awareness. I was unaware for many years, choosing a life that was not completely whole, in order to deny. Not being whole for me means not being able to experience the wide range of emotions. Like watching a Technicolor movie in black and white, you never know what you were missing until you see it in color. Like newly gained sight, it canít come all at once. Like the game, Barrel Full of Monkeys, as you open the barrel, each monkey, each memory will be attached to another. Anger, hate and love will all arrive and you will not always be able to determine the speed of arrival. Do what you can. Feel as you feel.
You will need all the tools and weapons you were given along your way. Yes, you were given the ability to heal, sometimes from the most surprising places and people. Most of all, practice compassion for everyone. Because that will help you do the same for
yourself. Remember the child was not to blame. Please repeat this. The child was not to blame. It will be all too easy to negate the raw power of innocence. And it is about power. Regaining yours. That comes with responsibility not blame.
And you will want to blame. Boy, did I blame. But eventually, we must become responsible for our lives. Years ago, a group of children was held hostage in a bus. All of the children had post traumatic stress disorder except one. The whole time he was held hostage he was trying to dig his way out. Dig your way out bit by bit. Regain your power. Regain your innocence.
There will be pain. There were times when I could not walk. There were days when I was numb. I was a being who had been frozen and I wanted to thaw too quickly. Be kind and listen to the pain. Be kind to your body. It is not to blame. It may be hard to allow people to touch you. Start slowly. Practice hugs. Go to massage therapists. You allow what you feel comfortable with.
You will need to be your own advocate. I had one experience in which a medical doctor left me in a hospital gown in the examining room for a long time. It brought back bad memories and nearly caused me to have a breakdown. Several years later before my next physical exam, I explained this to him, knowing he needed the information and wanting to be heard. His response demonstrated that he did not listen and could not understand what I was saying. I did not go back to him and after that I interviewed for doctors, finding one who was able to listen. People with advanced degrees and expertise may be experts in certain fields. Donít let that intimidate you. You are the only expert about you.
I am not saying not to trust. Just make sure that you trust yourself also.
It will be hard not live for anger. It will seem like that protects you. To an extent it does, but it also keeps people away and there is certainly enough anger in this world. I am convinced that we came here to learn to love. Believe me I lived in anger and bitterness for years. But truly I only planted more seeds of the same. It served no purpose. And honestly, the only one who suffered was myself. Sometimes I think that was the point. To show God. To show life. ďYou hurt me and now I will destroy the one thing I canĒ Myself. I remind myself that I did not come into this world to hate. Hate is overrated. Love is not.
Be cautious about thinking you are the only one who has ever experienced this. Unfortunately, you share this experience with many. And they can help, if you let them.
Some people will respond by trying to save you. You donít need saving right now; you need to learn to swim. Let them know how they can help you learn.
Some people you know will be afraid to listen or talk about it with you. They might say ďjust get over itĒ. Others will not want to listen or wonít believe you. Itís too bad but in the long run itís not necessary. The real question is: Do you believe yourself?
I can tell you not to get distracted. I did. All the time. I just wanted to ignore and so I was easily pulled off task. Focus. Thatís a key because you have the answers inside but they ask for silence so that they can be heard. Listen. Listen to your soul.
You will probably have to explore different modalities of healing. I did. At some point itís important to remember that they are there to lead you to wholeness, as an ends to a means, not the ends. Itís easy to get stuck. Write. Sing. Dance. Express your voice.
Be careful not to compare yourself to others. I know that all too well. What you have experienced will take time to deal with. It is not easily remedied. So be patient.
Everyone has trouble with something.
Sex. Thatís a confusing stop. At least it was for me. Some people are promiscuous, some are not. I was not. At least for most of my life. I am not sure either way is easy. Just honor the way you take.
Most people explore sex when they are in their teens, when most everyone else is exploring. Hormones fuel the journey and they fund the activities. Late bloomers, like me struggle, almost like having braces when you are an adult, I was an anomaly. Love your uniqueness, whatever it is.
Confusion around sexual orientation? Sure. It only makes sense. And that may mean having to explore. Am I gay? Am I straight? Do I have odd fantasies? More guilt and shame. All I can say is be kind and donít take it all too seriously. Sex is pretty funny when you think about it and believe it or not, most people have some confusion. Except in the movies sometimes. But you are not in a movie. You are flesh and blood. Be kind. And find others who are kind also.
And intimacy? Yes, intimacy. Not just sex. . It is not just about sex. But about love and trust. In order to get these, you will have to give. Strange as it sounds, once you can learn to be vulnerable, people will stop hurting you. You will have to learn about boundaries. But the funny thing about walls is that they not only protect but they keep people out. Learn to be semi-permeable.
Honesty. Yes, be honest. I wasnít always even though I thought I was. I hid my feelings and what I thought were inadequacies. I was afraid that people could not love me. I was damaged goods. I was afraid to tell what happened and how I continued to sabotage my healing. Sometimes I was afraid of my thoughts. But light helps us to heal and keeping thoughts in the dark only allowed them to persist. Most likely, you will have done nothing to be hated for. If you have, take responsibility. And open up to a higher power.
Yes. You will need something bigger than yourself. God. Life. Saints. Spirit Guides. Because sometimes you will not feel strong enough for the challenge. I believe that there is strong call in the universe for each being to be whole. You are a part of the universe.
Acknowledge miracles. You are one. You may be surprised what and who shows up when you need them.
Isolation? I know this place well. I isolated myself even when I was with people. My mind and maybe my soul were distant. There is a fine line between needing space and isolation. Sometimes you will need space and itís important to know the difference. But to heal, I believe you must make relationships. Find community. To know that you can be loved. Walk slowly if you need. You will become aware of those who understand because they will walk slowly towards you. But all people and relationships have the ability help you to heal in their own unique way. Some because they help you cross boundaries and others because they help you to establish them.
Will you abuse? Most likely if you have gotten to this point without abusing, than I would say no. If you have already you will need to take responsibility for your actions.
I have little advice in this area except to say you can be part of someone elseís healing.
You do have to be cautious about self abuse. In many ways, itís the same. You may find that you put yourself in situations that are similar to your abuse. Relationships that are toxic. Power dynamics. Once you become aware, just get out. Donít look back and blame yourself. Just move on.
You might think youíre crazy at times. Of course. As you wrestle with what happened you will encounter a world that doesnít make sense. Your true self can not make sense of your experience. Perhaps you created a reality to help you through. Perhaps you blamed yourself as it was the only way that you felt you had any control. While it may seem like you are crazy, more likely you are more sane than most.
You might ask why? Why me? I donít know. I could answer with talk of karma. Or that God wouldnít give you something you canít handle. But you know what, that just complicates matters. One can perseverate forever. But one can also ask the questions: Why wasnít I killed in car accident? Why do I not have a terminal illness? They are also answerless questions that only bury time uselessly. Live in the present.
And remember this. For you to have lost trust and love, means you had to have them in the beginning. Under all the layers, they are still there. Love. Trust. You had to believe this or you would not be here. You have chosen to awaken because some spark within you will not be denied.
Life is a beautiful gift, but is also a journey. You have, perhaps without knowing it, chosen the Heroís route. It will be filled with adventures, challenges, beasts, and wonderful guides. It starts now.
Edited by PhoenixRising (11/29/13 02:46 AM)