Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Retraumatization

Some times people don't really stop and use common sense about healing. They do things that may feel like euphoria in the moment but really do not do much. Often times, what we view as healing is fueled by anger, resentment and bitterness. While all of these things can be a big spark of ignition to get us moving through our pains of the past, if we're not careful we will walk down a long and winding road to nowhere, only to have to turn and walk all the way back.

There are so many healers out there sporting so many different ways to heal. In all reality, the percentage of what truly heals from these things is probably so small that it is often missed. Yes, I know that each one of the healing modalities and concepts has proof of why they are so effective. Unfortunately that does not always mean much other than someone believing it is healing.

Often I see survivors of child abuse focus on doing things that they feel are healing yet in the long run, it is nothing more than re-traumatizing. Of course in that moment, you cannot convince them otherwise. Stories of abuse are told time and time again without very little movement forward, the lure of going on TV shows becomes the moment of saving grace in their life and spending more time in counseling than trying to live life becomes the norm. Please don't get me wrong as some of these things are very helpful. It is however, when they become a crutch or an illusion that they become re-traumatizing.

Please do not think for a second that all healing is healing. It is not and I can name numerous accounts of this that I have been through and that I have witnessed in others. You really need to be careful because some "healing" can be very hurtful and really throw you off the path you need to be walking. I am sorry if anyone thinks I am being too harsh on this topic but this is reality.

We all have common sense and if we listen to our bodies, our minds and our hearts, we will find the way forward. To give our power up to a TV show, or healer or to some conference or organization does not mean we are healing. True healing is when we go within and we go to the source of the pain. We find the answers within ourselves because no one can give them to us. Other people can offer a flashlight for us to see more clearly but if the answer is not coming from within, question it with all your might. Just because someone else claims to have healed themselves from pains of the past does not mean they have all the answers as well.

I have recently heard about a TV show in New York that is looking for child abuse survivors to confront their abusers on TV. When you go to this TV show website, you will quickly see that it is a Jerry Springer type show with a lot of anger, yelling, screaming and fighting. While it may make someone feel good to go yell, scream, and fight with their abuser, what will that prove? I'm afraid, it will not prove very much except connecting with the anger, bitterness and resentment held in your own pain body. Anyone is free to disagree with me but healing does not come from growing your anger, bitterness and resentment. It comes from moving past those and a show like this does not appear to offer much in that way.

Consider this for a moment about a TV show as I described above. If the survivor's abuser comes on the show and says, "oh I'm so sorry for what I did and I can understand how angry you are but hopefully you will be able to forgive me one day" and then leaves it at that, do you think the show will really want to promote this display? It will have no emotion, no kick or wow factor and they won't get many people continuing to tune in to see the show. It will not hold anyone's attention.

In order to make the show successful, they need viewers because that is what brings in the advertisement dollars. What this show wants to see is people fighting, screaming and getting angry with one another. Now if you think that is a healing thing by all means do it but more than likely you will come away from it feeling victimized once again.

In the end, the details of your story and memory are essential to help you begin the healing process. As time goes, the details of the story hold less importance because you begin to realize that memory is not always linear. Our minds don't necessarily remember events that happen in a step by step fashion. Sometimes one part of a memory is mixed within another part of our memory. It is truly hard to trust all of these parts and that is why the emotions that arise and the body connections we physically feel are a more accurate way of healing through the trauma from the inside out. For what we experience in our body is the part that holds the potential energy to transform our lives and our healing.

The stories of our abuse and learning to release the anger and pain are vital parts of healing. However, we need to be careful in the ways that we do this so that it becomes a positive step forward and not a re-victimization of past painful events in our life. We all have our common sense and we all have a built in sense of what is helpful and what is not. When we attempt to look through things in an objective way or ask others to help us do this, than we will be giving ourselves something very powerful and life changing.



Blog Post & Images (c) 1/5/11 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

2 comments:

  1. beautifully put, and from the heart..we live in a country that loves heroes and victims and we tend to encourage both for the sake of the mighty dollars and ratings. I think if everyone only seeked more from their own spirits, and not from outside sources there would be more healing, for this reason I truly believe in higher spirituality and never forgetting the greatness of all beings, no matter what one may have experienced. People have to learn to trust their own gut intuition and power to overcome things, and this is very real. blessings.

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