I just finished this book today, and it’s been a journey. As I mentioned in my recent letter to mom, I’ve been reading about how a child’s mind deals with pain that is too large to handle. Often, it breaks.
This book is primarily written for people working with traumatized individuals, but I can’t afford therapy, so I read it in search of understanding and tips for working with my own mess. The main take away that I found is “Take this seriously; some of your symptoms are more intense than you’ve acknowledged before and if you don’t change, you won’t be able to progress past them.” Roberts didn’t say that. I just recognized ways that I dissociate, and repress painful memories, and check out of daily life.
Healthy people don’t have all of these crazy, interconnected responses firing up when things hurt. I don’t want to go from calm to unresponsive in a few seconds forever. I want to feel pain, accept that it hurts, and move past it. Right now, I just lock up and then try to do anything but understand why I’m in pain.
It’s like running on a broken leg; if I don’t learn about how I got injured or give myself opportunities to recover and grow strong, I will just make it worse.
I need to be willing to revisit those dark days that shaped my image of myself and to reject the lies they planted. I didn’t deserve it. I can’t control the actions of others, so it was never about being good enough. I am not worthless or irreparably broken.
I am hurt. And angry. And betrayed. And bitter. There is a reason for my feelings, but these emotions are also keeping me trapped in those dark moments when I was vulnerable and helpless and deeply hurt by people I had trusted.
To put it simply, I suppose you could say that this book showed me that healing is more complicated than I thought. During an earlier stage of my healing journey, I only dealt with pain until I could get it contained enough to seal it in a box and not need to dwell on it any more. Instead, it seems like I’ll need to reevaluate some old things, and allow myself to disconnect from them.
It’s hard to put into words. By accepting the emotions connected with trauma, I can know myself more fully and have a stronger handle on the truth. Yet, once I reach that point, I can also release the weight and intensity of the emotions, so that I don’t have to carry or fear them any more.
Oh well. In any case, Candyce Roberts’ book was helpful for me, and I’m still trying to responsibly evaluate her approach and its implications for my current state. I’m glad I pulled it off my shelf to read in its entirety.