Category Archives: Forgiveness

Therapy – Letting Go

untitledI’ve been thinking a lot about last week’s experience with my Therapist, Paul, when we sat together, “Experiencing the Void.” While I realised this was significant, I had no idea what “the void” actually was.

The void feels like I am standing mid-way along a footbridge that leads from the past to the present and into the future. Behind me is the small world of soul-destroying experiences, which I’m somehow miraculously outgrowing, and ahead is vast uncharted territory. I am unable to go back but feel equally uncertain of how to proceed, so I hover in this weird void like state.

In my last post, I talked about there being a wall of emotion I need to walk through before I can move forward. This transparent wall holds all the things I need to face up to – The tears and acceptance, the unresolved anger, and the uncertainty of how to emerge and connect with a new life. At the heart of this wall, the mortar that holds all this negativity together is fear.

There have been times in recent weeks when I worried that perhaps I am not quitethMSM9H3Q5 ready to move on. Maybe I’ve not remembered enough, talked enough, felt enough, let go of enough. Maybe the healing I am experiencing is only in my imagination, or worse, dissociation.

I used to think healing meant reaching a point when all the hurt and trauma had completely dissolved, but none of us would be human if we were able to look back at painful experiences and not feel a certain degree of emotion. I guess the key is the ability to leave the memories where they belong, in the past. If only it were that straightforward.

When I first started blogging, I read a lot about other people’s experiences of childhood trauma. I remember the terms, “Moving on,” and “Letting go” being used along with the most challenging word of them all, “Forgiveness.”

I initially believed the only way to ‘let go’ and ‘move on’ was to forgive the people who had caused us a lifetime of pain in the first place. Through time, I have come to understand that this has less to do with the abusers and more about making peace with ourselves.

thAUBJJ0MLI think all of us can eventually find healing, but we need to be at the stage when we feel ready to let things go. Unfortunately, that seldom happens spontaneously and never easily, but it comes from allowing ourselves the space and time to feel the pain and analyse whatever we do not understand.

We are not wallowing in self-pity or being too afraid to face up to the real world. This is a special time of reflection and grieving, which is imperative to future healing. When that process starts or ends, is entirely down to each individual.

I’m talking here as if I’ve already crossed over my bridge, but I still hover anxiously in the void, reflecting, and not quite ready to move forward, but maybe that is part of my journey. I am not sure when the time will finally come to leave it all behind, but it looks as if I’m closer now than ever.

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This Crazy Notion of Forgiveness…

If our abusers said they were sorry and asked for our forgiveness, would it make any difference to the emotional pain?  Would it have the potential to soothe the trauma and bring us healing?

I doubt it would make any difference to my child within. Victims/survivors of abuse need a safe place to explore their painful memories; “sorry” is seldom a short cut to healing.

My childhood friend, Stewart, was a huge part of my life, the comradeship strengthened by our encounters with sexual abuse by a neighbour.

The fields surrounding the street where we lived were every child’s dream of freedom, but the dangers of the local slate quarry must have been a parent’s nightmare.

There was an enormous basin carved out at the heart of the quarry and the local kids would build rafts from old oil drums, with little concern for a drowning the previous summer.  I cannot remember being told not to go there, but it probably featured somewhere in the rulebook.

When Stewart and I arrived home, I didn’t even realise I was dirty from the slate dust, but keeping clean had never been an issue before. I ran indoors still pumped up from the excitement of a hot summer’s day.

I was usually good at reading facial expressions, but my guard was down that day and I had no way of detecting the impending danger

“Dad, can I have a drink of water and a…”

Before I got the chance to finish the sentence, there was an almighty flash of bright light, as Dad’s thickset hand came crashing down hard on the side of my face, sending pain searing through my ear. It felt as though I was flying through the air in slow motion, my back hit the floor as my head bounced off the concrete wall.

As I attempted to catch my breath, Dad’s flaying feet and fists pinned my defenseless body to the floor.  I could hear him shout above the ringing in my ears, “Look at the colour of you, you’re filthy.”

We lived in a block of flats, but there was never any concern for the neighbours overhearing the beatings because I seldom made a sound.  The hollow thuds from his fists are what permeate the black hole of silence.

I stayed in bed with the covers over my head, terrified in case he heard me breathe, his blows throbbing in the darkness, but the physical pain is nothing in comparison to the emotional violation.

He terrified me, he still does.  I hated him more than I could ever admit.  I used to vow never to forget or forgive. Childhood pain has no concept of time, the trauma feels just as bad today as it did back then.

How can we consider this crazy notion of forgiveness…?