It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life with the many distractions and unexpected curve balls that get thrown your way. At times it can feel like a constant game of dodge ball where you must master the 5 D’s: “dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.” Everyday life changes – sometimes for the better and other times not so much. I’ve returned to counseling several months ago and have a standing appointment every other week. If I’m completely honest then I must say this is a love/hate session I choose to experience every 14 days.
I choose it because I’m looking long-term in the hopes of living a full, bright and free future for myself and my family. One reason it’s challenging is because I loathe crying. It’s true. Navigating through childhood abuse I discovered it was the one thing I could control. I believed it brought others satisfaction to watch me emotionally break down in front of them. Not only did they own my body and mind through sexual, emotional or physical pain, but they also controlled my emotions. I just couldn’t have that. So I battled inwardly to be in complete control of my outward emotions (inside it was a different story). Somehow my desire to be victorious over my abusers was stronger than anything inflicted upon me – and I stopped crying. On the outside my face looked like a statue or maybe a mannequin, but on the inside I was a crumbling mess.
So now every other week I sit in a small, peaceful office where inevitably I’m reduced to a blubbering crybaby. Believe me – I still try to use my old techniques to control my tears but it doesn’t work anymore. I thought at first it was due to years of unshed tears, but then I realized it’s because I’m healing. (That’s a good thing). We discuss things that are so very painful. Each session my therapist listens and then poses questions to me I never expect. Things that help me to view the truth from all sides and I love it. It triggers other memories but helps to bring my world into focus. Just like a camera lens – things become crystal clear. It’s a gift and I’m thankful.
I’ve spent so many years miserably wishing my abuse never happened. To have a childhood free of reprehensible and perverse injustice. Sometimes I see mothers and daughters or fathers and daughters out together laughing and having fun. My heart used to ache because I wanted it so badly. Why did she get it and not me? It seemed so unfair. I still desire it but I’ve accepted right now it just isn’t possible. The reality is I could open the door to a relationship with my parents, but I would have to accept less than I’m worth and deserve. If I do this I know I can’t move forward. In this moment healing is bittersweet because in the end I choose me. Now when I see parents and children enjoying life together it brings a smile to my face. I’m happy because I see it does exist, and know that child has been given an amazing gift. Happy knowing I give that gift to my children and grandson and now my daughter-in-law. It’s good and it makes me smile.
I can honestly say I’m okay with my past and have stopped wishing it never happened. I promise this didn’t take place overnight – it took many years – but it did finally happen. While the bad in my life is a nightmare – the good planted seeds deep down inside me. What were they? I discovered years later that in the end I reaped the following :
- I’m strong and resilient
- I believe there is always a way
- Cherish the gift of unconditional love
- Highly value respect and loyalty
- I never quit
- I never settle
- I believe in the impossible
- I am more than enough
Would these things been deeply rooted inside of me if there hadn’t been so many things to duck and dodge? I’m not quite sure. There have been times I’ve encountered someone who has suffered like I have – too many times to count. I see their pain and I listen to their stories and I connect with their souls for a minute. I am thankful I can share my story to let them know they are not alone, and their ending is still unwritten. I’ve done it many times with both children and adults – in the United States and across the globe. I’m not even completely healed but it doesn’t matter because I can now see that day off in the horizon.
I’m grateful in some ways I’ve somehow managed to hang on to my child’s heart. I do believe that good will triumph over bad and that true love will conquer all. You see I’ve experienced it in my life again and again. My husband, children and grandson are my world. Their love in many ways has saved me and our lives together has been a divine gift. This gives me the courage to return to that counseling office and wrestle with the past. November is the month where we gather with family and loved ones and count our many blessings. From the deep recesses of my heart and soul I know my abuse and betrayal helped me to become a better person. Like it happens with many others I didn’t end up paying it forward – I ended the cycle.
And for that I am eternally thankful.