The old adage, “Time Heals All Wounds” is actually very misleading. Time will not heal wounds. Yes, the pain will lessen; the memories will begin to fade; the anger and resentment lessen (maybe), but unless you take specific actions to lead yourself to true healing and to get to know the real you, the opportunity for transformation may not be available.
This does not mean you shame yourself further and continue to berate yourself for not “trying harder” or “doing more”. This is not a laundry list of self-improvement tips that must be completed in order to “heal.”
Many victims think they can heal by toughening-up, being strong, plowing through without fully feeling, and shoving everything under the rug. This is a huge myth that will actually cause more harm.
You can work longer hours at work, you can do more, try more, pretend all is perfect and you are fine, ignore
The other side of the same coin is being stuck in the victim stance. You know what this sounds like, “This sucks – I didn’t deserve this” blaming, rehashing, and ruminating over all the terrible things that happened – and believe me – I know how terrible these things are however – that stance will not lead to growth.
During my divorce, I could barely get out of bed or face the outside world. Each day I poured a little energy into reading and journaling. I turned to meditation, yoga, and other mindfulness practices.
I was trying to make sense of the madness and understand how the hell I got myself into this place. What happened to me?
In the early stages of recovery, I was hypervigilant. Never pausing. Reacting full of fear with quills raised from perceived threats.
My fight, flight, freeze response was on overdrive from years of being subjected to unpredictability and abuse. I saw narcissists everywhere. Trusting only a few friends and blocking myself from entering, exploring or opening to the prospect of learning to truly live beyond the fear.
My physical body was in pain all the time. I was so anxious, afraid, and felt such shame, I couldn’t stand up for myself or defend myself. I could not see that I was not the one who should be ashamed or hiding. I couldn’t see that I was the one who deserved kindness and compassionate understanding.
Our inability to speak into truth about what was happening to us during the course of our toxic relationship may continue to keep us draped in shame.
You may continue to feel a need to fix and problem solve the challenges of others, you may continue to excuse and make excuses for inexcusable behavior, you may continue to strive to remain “perfect”, you may be in a perpetual victim stance, you may be stalled and apathetic.
You may continue to take on the caustic words of the narcissistic abuser as if these lies are truths. This is where objectivity, a clear vision, and a broader perspective with sincere kindness and compassion for yourself can bring you closer to healing.
As survivors, we are entitled to a future that is not ruled by the fears, anxiety, and deep suffering from our past.
Spending years devaluing our needs and wants, minimizing glaring signals, neglecting to care for ourselves and labeling needs as unimportant and inconsequential causes unhealthy habitual ways of thinking that become ingrained.
You may think it is normal to feel distressed and overwhelmed. You may feel resigned and accept anxiety, helplessness, and chronic stress.
You may not see that you deserve better.
Loss of self-confidence. Loss of self-esteem. Unsure of who we are. What do I stand for anymore? Who Am I? How did this happen to me?
There can be healing. You can choose a different way. One small step at a time there can be an authentic life that is hopeful and full of promise.
This is the power of personal choice coupled with focused energy, determination, and a compass that is aligned with your integrity.