Wednesday, August 19, 2015

4 Myths that make healing nearly impossible

I believe that it is possible to overcome the impact of sex abuse!  I don't have a specific a,b,c of what that looks like; you decide what healing might look like for you.  I would, however, offer for consideration the definition that you have overcome the impact when sex abuse is not how you filter your world.  You have overcome when you walk in the strength and power of authentic identity, no longer accepting the "story of sex abuse" as who you are.

We appreciate the work of Caroline Myss, who offers the term, "woundology" to describe the reality that victims typically redefine their lives around their wounds in a process of accepting them.  These 4 myths come from her work. To help you explore them, we have added our "fill-in-the-blanks" worksheet. 

 Myth #1:  My life is defined by my wound. 

It is virtually impossible not to be influenced by a personal history of emotional or psychological wounds. Sadly, most victims convince themselves that their lives are only a compilation of their wounds and that they feel they can do little to heal, other than to share their stories and manage the impact.

To release the grip of this myth you must take more responsibility for the quality of your life. 

"Sometimes I make excuses for why I am not focusing on doing more positive things in my life such as (be specific) ________________________________.  The excuse I use most often is _____________________________________.  There are times I compare my history of wounds because _________________________________________.  If I feel more wounded than someone else, I often feel more empowered because____________________________________________."

Myth #2: Being healthy means being alone.

Sometimes people believe that once they are healed they will no longer have emotional or psychological needs and therefore all support for what is happening in their lives will be gone forever.  The truth is that whether or not we are healed or are in the process of healing we will always need loving friends and family; a community based not just on wounds or neediness, but on shared interests and emotional nurturing.

"I am afraid that if I heal, my support people will___________________________
When I picture myself as healed I see _______________________________ with me.
Emotional wounds may be a source of bonding with others and healing from those wounds may  mean__________________________________________________."

Myth #3: Feeling pain means being destroyed by pain.

The opposite is actually true:  Not feeling your pain will destroy you.  Pain collected in the body causes physical aches and illness. Identifying and expressing the reality of your emotional pain releases you from the weight of it, and releases you from a constant connection to the trauma.  The pain can feel overwhelming because it has accumulated over the years.  As you move towards owning the pain, releasing it, you still have skills to back away if need be.  Pain will not destroy you. 

"I hold onto my pain because ________________________________________.  If I process the pain and release it, I will lose _________________________________ and I will gain________________________________________________________."

Myth #4: True Change is Impossible

No one particularly likes the process of change.  Yet, healing and change are the same thing.  We cannot heal without first investigating what behavioral patterns and attitudes we need to alter.  Once these characteristics are identified, we have to DO something about them.  Willingness and action bring about change that results in healing.  You have to want it more than you want the "safety of the norm" you think you walk in. It requires determination! 
"I often don't believe change is possible because _____________________________.
It is also possible I am hoping change is not possible so I don't have to deal with 

__________________________ or take responsibility to begin to ________________


Consider checking out our Connections Community online - to get the skills necessary to overcome and the support needed while you change!  
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Friday, August 7, 2015

Getting Through

This phrase has been haunting me since I heard it expressed in a meeting last week.  At the time it was used in connection to people who find themselves in life circumstances that appear insurmountable. When we say, "we'll get through", it denotes that there is a destination in mind, that we are getting through to something.  And if there is a destination in mind, there is a measure of expectation to get somewhere. And some won't achieve that. They will always feel as if they aren't making it.

I find that every day seems to have something "to get through."  And I don't think that phrase points to a specific destination.  As soon as I get through one thing, there is another one to overcome. I think "to get through" points to how we maneuver our way through the experiences and challenges of life. 

This week my constant companion, my dog Teagan, died unexpectedly. A huge loss that I have to manage. A dear friend with compassion for my hurt said, "you're a strong women, you'll get through this."  I was puzzled by that statement because, although my friend did not mean this, it felt as if because I'm "strong"my experience of getting through this should be swift and easy. That isn't the case. 

So, I've decided that getting through something is definitely not about getting somewhere. It is not about an end result. It is about being authentic in the reality of the experience. It is about naming and expressing the deep emotional reactions; yes, both the joy and sorrow, the scared, the angry, and the hope. 

Getting through means that you recognize the reality, pass through the emotions and connect to those around you who can journey with you. It's about being vulnerable and honest with yourself and those around you.  Its about accepting help and hugs when needed.  Its about being connected both inside and out.

It is actually when you don't embrace the reality, or express the emotions and learn from the experience that you don't "get through."

So, in my getting through the loss of Teagan, I am feeling her absence; smiling when I remember a special behavior, crying when I sit down and she doesn't jump up, and speaking her name as many times as I need to. 

I'm getting through.