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#520041 - 01/14/18 12:21 AM How do you know when your are healed?
LoneWolfX Offline

Registered: 08/04/17
Posts: 616
How do you know when your are "healed"? I say "healed" because it is a process - maybe the question should be: how do you know when you are healed enough not to work on your CSA issues any more?

The above may seem a stupid question but I have a feeling it actually may be a useful topic.

Please do not take offence to what follows because I am only commenting on myself when I say "going through the motions". I am NOT minimizing the experiences of others!

In my case my issues are largely caused by CSA but I had issues before the CSA. But maybe I have done all I can to heal from my CSA experiences and now I am just "going through the motions" (using it as an excuse) to keep myself in a safe place.

I have had therapy with 3 different psychologists focusing on the CSA for nearly a decade now. I came across a journal I had been looking for yesterday written 8 years ago - a lot of the stuff I have written on here is surprisingly consistent with my feelings then. I do not know if that is a good or bad thing?

How do I know if it is the right time to just put it all behind me and move on? I will continue seeing my therapist though.

Edited by LoneWolfX (01/14/18 12:21 AM)

#520044 - 01/14/18 01:23 AM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]
Napoleon Offline

Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 238
Loc: Utah
I soppose that is answer you can only answers yourself. I would just say listen to your inner voice and what it is telling you.

I think most of the people on the board don't have an answer to this one. Perhaps, I will have a better answer for you when and if I ever get there.
�Your only limit within reason, is the one that you set up in your own mind.� Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success, 1925.

#520045 - 01/14/18 02:32 AM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]
house Offline

Registered: 04/08/17
Posts: 72
my first post here was titled, how do you know when you are healed. You might want to check out some of the responses. I think the question is a good one. My own belief now is that at some point I need to get past the why stage and move into the do stage. I'm not there yet I still have too many deep under laying questions to figure out. But at some point I want to look at myself not as this emotional undefined moving target but really know who I am and how I got here. Then hopefully I can move on, living life without the internal turmoil and confusion. I'm not sure how or when this will happen because everyone is different. I think you do have to confirm to yourself that getting better to a healthy degree is possible. Then believe it and then live it.

#520064 - 01/14/18 03:49 PM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]
UniversalBeing Offline

Registered: 09/15/17
Posts: 116
That is a normal question to ask.

I don't have a definite answer but here is what I've found out:

The therapist matters a lot. I had a therapist that was very slow and was dragging me in the swampland for 2 years. I switched therapist, now I have two and things are moving faster. These therapists are looking for my best interest and are not trying to push their beliefs on me. They really see all my strengths. Strengths I could not see.

They don't push me to do more healing work. Actually, both of them are telling me I am doing really good and that I don't need to see them that often. I see one once in 3 weeks the other one once in 2 weeks.

My natural sense of enthusiasm and optimism is returning back. I notice how I feel when I wake up.

I am starting to have plans and hopes for the future whereas before it was only pitch black darkness.

I feel a sense of agency over my life. It's my life and it belongs to me, not to anyone else.

I intend to continue therapy as needed and what I've learned is that you do not have to be "fully healed" to live your life. You do not need to be healed to be whole.

Some therapists focus too much on healing but little action in changing your life or your actions and behaviors. If you feel that you are not making any progress with your therapist you can take a break from therapy or see another therapist.

Ask yourself if there are things you always wanted to do but were too afraid and work on achieving those. For example, maybe learning to play an instrument, learning to paint, becoming a writer, finishing a degree or doing a PhD. Getting a better job, having more friends, exercising, opening your own business, etc.

Edited by UniversalBeing (01/14/18 04:06 PM)
My journey:

#520071 - 01/14/18 10:31 PM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]
Ceremony Offline

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 2810
Loc: Minnesota
This resonates to my recent therapy experience LonewolfX.

(using it as an excuse) to keep myself in a safe place.

It seems the layers peel back the longer I'm allowed to have therapy. I hope it goes on, I see the benefits very keenly. To me, with how much I think about, it could be years of reinforcing what I am trying to accomplish, but I don't know if that's what the therapist thinks?

I see my newly discovered safety parts as both disconcerting, causing me to grieve and wonder how I made it, and then I'm grateful that the voice was there. I have discovered, like with so many of us, I kept myself held back from adding more to my life, from jumping into situations that might have overwhelmed me. I might have dabbled, and gone into the shallow end of the big pool, but venturing out seemed way to scary. My anxiety and negative perceptions, feeling hard pressed and hyper vigilant, too much was nearly everything. My safety was to avoid, and my voice kept me down to maintain the status quo.

That's the gratitude, that in the time of unmanaged trauma history, I didn't trigger it worse, but saved my self from extra stresses in the real world. However, those translated into a depression and self hating attitude that I'm a failure. It's been hard to look at that voice, and the internal dialogue that's kept me down. It works really well, I can recycle it over and over and not move forward, or I can consider that I've learned about managing and try to keep doing that.

This is a lot of work. I'm not work averse, but, this work meant to heal me, to help me, I have to redo my internal narrative from hating myself, into one that's going to want the healing. What a trip!

#520118 - 01/16/18 05:40 AM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 4140
This is a great question. I do not think there is one answer that fits all. We each measure healing on our own terms, on our emotions and on how we feel about ourselves and the future.

I believe each of us will know when we are healing and when we are struggling. We will have a better sense of self, the past will not control our lives nor will we let those you deny our abuse push us back to having guilt or shame.

There is no timeline for healing. Too many individual and unique factors influence how and when we heal. Being here we have taken first steps, recognizing and admitting the abuse occurred. How we proceed from this point will be different for each of us, and no one way is right for all of us.

For me, I have a better sense of self, I know longer have the horrific nightmares, I no longer allow those without human compassion to dominate my life with words or triggers, I feel and believe in hope. I still struggle but no I am beyond where I was several years ago. I am gaining a stronger sense of control. I also do not give a rat's ass what others think because they are the ones who need to travel a path of healing from the darkness and death they pushed onto a survivor. I see myself differently, I see goodness and I do not dismiss the mistakes I have made. I feel loved, respected and this only happened when I accepted those that triggered and abused me while I was attempting to heal are not part of my life. Can they be, yes, but it will not be on their distorted views of truth.

I do not believe I will ever be 100% healed--because we all are imperfect. For me, healing is having a sense of peace, resolution and control over my life that is surrounded by joy and happiness. Your measures may differ but remember they are your emotions and thoughts--no one else's.


#520130 - 01/16/18 02:07 PM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: KMCINVA]
UniversalBeing Offline

Registered: 09/15/17
Posts: 116
Originally Posted By KMCINVA
I feel loved, respected and this only happened when I accepted those that triggered and abused me while I was attempting to heal are not part of my life.

This is so true KMCINVA. You can't heal surrounded by people that trigger you or abuse you.
My journey:

#520171 - 01/17/18 02:46 PM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4464
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
LoneWolfX -

First, it is very perceptive to realize that healing is a process – as I say, not a destination, but a journey. And furthermore, using the term “healed” seems to be more accurate for many of us, rather than recovered – which seems to imply that you are back to your original state or condition. With healing, there are likely to be residual effects that last after you reach the place where you can function well again.

My take on it is that it is an ongoing and never-ending process. I see it in much the same way that alcoholics do – that they are never finished with the exercise of recovering – never fully recovered. I have read a lot and discussed a lot and observed a lot – and am not basing this perspective on soley my own experience. As to my experience, I have been on this journey now for over 30 years, since I first started working on the issues caused by CSA. I have been in therapy twice, with two different therapists – both of who were excellent, but with a long gap in between, during which I tried to convince myself that I was finished with all that. I have been participating very actively here on the MS forums for 6 years and 3 months and have found it to be at least equal to my therapists as the most helpful tool among my resources.

Another phrase in your post caught my attention: ”’using it as an excuse’ to keep myself in a safe place.” It made me wonder what you thought you needed to be kept safe FROM? I would guess that whatever threats – real or imagined – make you afraid, they are probably linked in some way to a complex situation in the past that was somehow intertwined with the abuse. For instance, I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my self-esteem was damaged very early – which made me especially vulnerable to the abuse, whether it was directly connected – as in the case of the step-dad’s treatment – or indirectly – as in the cases of the bullies at school and scouts, who recognized my fragility and took advantage of that. If this is true, then it is not an excuse, but a reason.

You also mentioned discovering that your feelings now are quite consistent with what they were a number of years ago. I don’t know if you can categorize that observation as either good or bad. I would say that many of my feelings have remained consistent, as well. However, the difference is in how I treat those feelings and what I do as a result of them. I used to feel as though I was trapped and confined and doomed to never change. But that is no longer how I see my circumstances. I know that some of my feelings were not an accurate reading of my situation unless I let that remain the status quo. I can refute some feelings with facts. I can use some feelings as motivators to force myself to action. I can embrace some feelings as symptoms that show an area that needs to be nurtured or healed further.

Finally, I question the possibility of your being able “to just put it all behind me and move on.” I think most survivors have discovered that once the Pandora’s box is opened, it cannot be closed again. That was my discovery. Because I did not continue the work, I found that I needed to repeat some of it and continue beyond what I thought I had finished. I don’t mean that I have to continuously be in therapy, but I am continuously aware of and alert to situations that may be triggering and further opportunities for growth and even situations and relationships that can encourage and promote healing and growth in other survivors. I am actively involved in a peer support group for male survivors and in a faith based 12-step program that allow me to both give and receive.

I once asked my second therapist how I would know when I had reached the point when I was “healed” and/or a place where I no longer needed to be in therapy. Typically, he asked me what I thought. He suggested that I write out a list of descriptions of what that would look like to me and we would go over them together. I know I did that, but it was three moves ago and now I can’t find it. We considered each of the probably 10-12 points and tried to assess where I was in relation to each of them. Some I had already achieved, and others were not too far off. I used those as a set of goal to work toward. By that time, I had no illusions that a day would come when I would never think about it again. It was more like being able to live a fulfilling life without the CSA controlling and confining my thoughts, feelings and actions. i think that now I have healed almost as much as I ever will. And I am OK with that.

so - i guess only you can decide when you are healed enough - and it will probably look a little different for everyone.


Edited by traveler (01/17/18 02:48 PM)
"The wound is the place where the light enters you."
- Rumi

#520183 - 01/17/18 08:30 PM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]
Greg56 Offline

Registered: 01/10/14
Posts: 381
Loc: Upstate NY
I believed for a time that I was "healed". Although I thought of the "incidents" everyday...they were fleeting and had (I thought) no effect on me. I now believe that although we may get to a comfortable/peaceful place in our lives...the memories will always be there. I think being healed is in our minds like the memories...we have the duty to ourselves to put the incidents into perspective and in their rightful place.

much love
"I am here...they are not...I own my life...they do not"
I no longer have to fear decisions made for me...I'm an adult, therefore I make my own decisions now.

#520194 - 01/18/18 12:37 AM Re: How do you know when your are healed? [Re: LoneWolfX]
LoneWolfX Offline

Registered: 08/04/17
Posts: 616
Thank you so much all for your insightful comments.

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