Choosing to Heal vs. Not
Today’s post on Sexual Abuse has brought up a lot of big feelings and a few people have shared that with me.
I was chatting with Endellion on Skype and she told me she was going to catch up on my posts because she hasn’t had time to read them in a few days. A bit later, she asked if I could call because she thought she was going to puke because of today’s post. I hadn’t even realized what post was scheduled to publish today so I didn’t know what triggered her. I immediately called her and she was sobbing so hard, I couldn’t understand her. I had to say, “Honey, take a deep breath. I can’t understand what you are saying.” She’d start talking again and I’d have to stop her again. She was really shaken up.
As we talked we discussed how we’ve chosen to heal from the abuse that has been heaped on us. You see, Endellion’s husband punched her in the face a year ago and she is in the process of divorcing him. She’s just now starting to admit to herself that he raped her. Today’s post made everything hit home for her.
As we talked, I told her it was a good thing that she was hurting and crying and talking. I told her this was the nasty work of healing. When we admit something, another aspect of the abuse that was done to us, it will hurt us. We will feel pain. What we choose to do with that pain is what not only defines who we are but also whether we can heal or not.
You see, Endellion and I have chosen to feel the pain. To cry out to God and to each other. To talk about it with each other and our counselors. To feel the pain, to shed the tears, to process the hurt, and finally, to let it go. Feeling the pain is the only way to release it.
We talked about why our husbands chose to hurt us. They both admitted, at the beginning, that they abused us. They both promised to get help. Then they went back to their abusive ways.
Endellion’s soon-to-be-ex and Bubba have much in common. Both of them were abused by their parents. Both of them continued the abusive cycle by becoming abusers themselves. Both of them were confronted on their abuse and both of them have chosen to continue in their ways instead of getting help and healing.
So what is the difference between what Endellion and I have chosen to do and what our exes have chosen to do? Why do some people choose to heal while others choose not to?
I think it comes down to an ability to feel pain, acknowledge that pain, then work through it. Endellion’s ex and Bubba are fundamentally broken somehow. Endellion and I aren’t.
I wish I count put in to words how very much it HURTS to go through this. The pain, at times, seemed unbearable. When I started processing the sexual abuse, there were times that I thought I would be crushed under the weight of the pain. But I kept going. I kept pushing through the pain because I didn’t give myself the choice to not heal. That is who I am. I chose to fight for me. I chose to not be a victim anymore. I chose to let myself feel the pain because that is what needs to be done in order to heal.
I think of this way. Let’s say you cut your arm badly. You put a bandage on it and in a few days the skin has healed over. Then you notice that you are running a fever, your arm hurts, and you see red streaks running up your arm. You go to the ER and there the doctors tell you that your arm is actually infected. On the surface, it looked like it was healing but underneath it was a hot bed of infection that was literally beginning to kill you. The doctor must open up the healed top layer of skin and clean out all that infection. That is going to HURT!!!!! It is going to hurt worse than the initial cut. It is going to continue to hurt because the infection caused so much more damage. You know though, that if you ignore the infection, it will continue to eat away at healthy tissue until you lose your life.
Endellion and I understand that the pain we feel now, as we process our experiences, is like cutting out that infection. We know it hurts. We know it is hard to get all the ick out. We know that healing will take time and it will continue to be painful until it just isn’t anymore. We are willing to have that pain because we know that that is the way of healing.
Endellion’s ex and Bubba can only see the immediate pain. They were both going to get help but then stopped. They can’t see anything beyond the immediate pain when the doctor begins to cut the skin back open. They’ve pulled their arms back and are refusing to have the infection cut out because they are unable to see past that pain. They can’t comprehend that the crushing pain is a necessary part of the healing process. In order to cope, they deny that there is a problem. They shift blame and accept no responsibility because that let’s them ignore the pain. They are choosing to live with their infection by deflecting all that pain away from themselves. If they can convince themselves the problem is actually our fault, then they can continue to avoid the pain and ignore the infection.
Endellion and I are made of strong stuff. We think that is a reason our exes hurt us so badly. They could see the strength that we possessed and couldn’t live with the fact that we are strong where they are weak. They had to put us down to build themselves up.
Now we are both free from their abuse. We are healing and we are getting stronger every day. We have chosen to feel the pain and work our way through it because we want to heal. We also know that we have each other to hold onto when the pain gets to be too much. Two weeks ago I was processing some stuff and she stayed on the phone with me and helped me through it. She had enough strength for both of us that day. Today, I did the same thing for her.
I pray for Bubba and for her ex. They are dealing with a type of buried pain that I can’t even imagine. I don’t understand how it feels to choose to walk away from health – to be that convinced of my own lies that I would rather continue in the way I was going instead of work hard to heal. I pity them. I pray that they someday find healing of their own – both for themselves and so that they will stop hurting those around them.
- Posted in: Healing