When someone says to someone else, to just get over it already, or anything along the lines of “you have had enough time, you should be healed by now”, they only say this because it is uncomfortable for them to see you feeling your feelings. I doubt you would hear these words directed at a cancer patient, from someone who claims to love them. There is no “getting over it”. Healing takes it’s own time. Healing cannot be rushed. It requires rest, recovery, the right remedy, and allowance. The body and mind will heal itself if it is allowed.
This healing journey has been a rollercoaster ride for me. Some days I feel better, some days I feel worse. Healing emotional trauma is like that. And probably the biggest thing you can do to heal yourself is to let it be that way without judging yourself for it. The roller coaster was set into motion by my caregivers when I was a vulnerable child. Eventually I took over and kept it in motion myself. The only way to bring the ride to an end, was to give myself permission to stop keeping it in motion. This means not letting other people keep it in motion, either.
It has taken me a long time to see where the trauma began, to accept it and to detach from it. Attachment to the trauma has been the hardest thing to let go of. I had been on this ride so long, it was scary to imagine what life would be like any other way. It was too painful to feel the feelings I couldn’t feel when I was little. But now, as I reflect on where it began in this life, I think I am ready to see it objectively.
When I was a baby, I could perceive the angry feelings in my father. My mother shielded me somewhat from him. She didn’t have the stamina to keep doing this. She decided to leave him. I am pretty sure she wanted to come back for me like she said she would. She tried, but her own life was so unstable, I don’t think she felt like she could handle being a mother. So I ended up back with my dad. I needed her, but she wasn’t there. So I suffered and I endured. I was 4 years old. When I look at a four year old face, I ask myself if they should be able to handle suffering. I ask how much pain a 4 year old should have to endure, if anything.
When my dad married his next wife, I could perceive that she did not want me. Being my stepmom was not part of her plan. She married my dad in order to provide for herself and her daughter. Having me around was an inconvenience she didn’t try very hard to overcome. Her daughter reflected her mother’s disdain for me quite openly. She treated me like a dirty animal. I felt saddened by this. I wanted a family. I wanted a mom and a sister. I wanted to feel wanted and loved. This was between the ages of 5-12. When I see children within this age range, I ask myself, how much love does a child need? How much do they deserve? How much accountability do they have for their behaviour? How much anger, neglect and ridicule should they be able to tolerate and still behave normally?
My dad was responsible for protecting me. I needed him to. I needed his approval, his attention, his love, his understanding, his protection. He didn’t give this to me. He didn’t validate me or my feelings. He didn’t make me feel loved, wanted or supported. But still, I endured.
When stepmom #1 left us, I felt abandoned. I spent my time at home alone. Dad hired a babysitter, but quickly fired her. He worked nights so I rarely saw him. I needed him. He wasn’t available.
Soon, Stepmom #2 came into the picture. She and her three kids moved into our house within 4 months of meeting my dad. When I met her, she seemed sweet. She seemed loving. She seemed kind. When she moved in to our house, I quickly understood that she was not what she seemed. She was actually extremely hypocritical, manipulative, angry, conniving, deceptive and wicked. She also married my dad in order to provide for herself and her children. Being my mom was not on her list of priorities. There were unspoken expectations that I could never meet. Her children seemed to be perfect, like they could do no wrong. Meanwhile, I couldn’t figure out what I could do to feel like I was doing something right.
I left my dad’s house as soon as I could. I only spent three years living with him and #2 out of the thirteen years they were married. She manipulated my dad and he gave her kids the things she wanted for them. My dad did not support me or protect me. He just liked being married, no matter what the effect was on me.
I am detaching from this experience, very slowly but surely. I can see the effects of this experience in my everyday life. Because I was never approved of and encouraged by my own parents, I find it threatening if someone else is receiving attention from those who are closest to me. Because I never felt secure as a small child, I struggle with feeling secure within myself as an adult. At least I am aware of this.
Awareness of the issue is the beginning of resolving it. It really is necessary to go through the entire emotional journey in order to come out on the other side. The only way out of the trauma is to go through it. There are no shortcuts. It is not easy, it is very painful, but for every time you were unable to feel your feelings when you were little a block was created or added to and removing that block takes as much time as it took to create it.
Don’t push yourself
Love yourself like you needed to be loved when the trauma happened
Get plenty of sleep
Make healing a priority
You can have a happy life
You can heal yourself
And you deserve to be happy