Four years ago I was so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed for more than a few moments. Today I am happily working two jobs and going back to school to finish my degree. What could’ve changed so much in just a few short years?
Four years ago, the secondary wounding from my family of origin had gone on for so long and was so intense that I was completely exhausted and paralyzed by fear, anxiety and depression. I was in the throes of complex trauma, also known as C-PTSD and I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. All I knew was that I had to keep fighting – God had been ever present in my healing and in giving me directions that kept my children safe from my childhood abusers, but I didn’t see how life would ever recover. Little did I know that my husband was a month away from filing for divorce with my family’s full backing – one more way that my Mother tried to silence my insistence that sexual abuse had been happening in my family for generations. This final betrayal was enough to shatter my already broken self and it served as the catalyst for cutting ties. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
There are a lot of painful aspects that accompany setting such strict boundaries – completely cutting family ties is commonly referred to as “no contact” in abuse recovery forums – but the most amazing aspect is that suddenly there is room to heal. My healing has come in steps but the thought that has crossed my mind a hundred times over the past month is that four years ago I never even fathomed that I would be working two jobs, finishing my degree, sleeping 6-8 hours a night without sleep aids and waking up feeling completely rested in the morning. I rarely even take a nap anymore! It didn’t happen overnight but the hope that I wish to pass on is simply that it DID happen! I am happy, I am healthy and my children have a Mother that is able to go and do fun things with them again.
The wound that festers since childhood will never heal unless we care for it using proven methods of healing. These wounds do not start out as self inflicted but now that we are adults we absolutely must accept responsibility for ensuring their healing. This can never happen if we keep allowing ourselves to be re injured by our abusers and their supporters.
Someone in your family shoots you with a gun. Survival instinct takes over and you try to get help from the other members of your family by showing them the wound accompanied by your tears and anything else that you feel would help them understand that you were mortally wounded and in desperate need of immediate help! With each plea you receive, not help, but another gunshot in the exact same place. By the third time around you have a gaping hole and you are an absolute wreak. You eventually understand that your family isn’t willing to help and they aren’t worried about the effect that their treatment is having on you. So eventually you stop asking for help from your family and go to a hospital.
The wounds that we have from being abused as a child need critical care. Our children can’t heal us. Our friends can’t heal us. Our families deserve the chance to help treat those wounds but if they refuse to help then it is up to us to WALK AWAY! Does it feel wrong to walk away from the people who are supposed to be helping us? Absolutely. But that feeling stems from the fact that they were in the wrong for refusing to help, not from the misconceived notion that because they are our family we are bound to them and the wounds they inflict.
Walk away. Walk away and get help. Walk away and heal. The gospel of Jesus Christ does not tell you that you should subject yourself to abuse for the sake of calling yourself a family – it’s actually quite the opposite. If you doubt the truth of that statement, look through this site, starting with the following quote from the School of Family Life from BYU.
You have the right and responsibility! Get healthy and stay healthy. God is with you wherever you may go. He will carry you through your healing and He is the only one that we need. -Nicole