As many of you know, trauma is an area of specialization for me in my research and practice. Hence, there are times when I like to send out some words of encouragement and guidance to the Survivor Community.
However, the reader may discover that what I will share here today is not only for victims of severe abuse, but that it can apply to many of us. Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes, and often people who thought there was no trauma in their history discover that there indeed was.
What I am referring to are situations that left a lasting impression upon the mind that led to various internal conflicts, fears, phobias, insecurities, etc. I have myself experienced these “light bulb moments” when the insight hits and the understanding emerges that a past experience was more significant that I had previously thought.
What I want to share here today is that we can indeed face and integrate our traumatic experiences. Psychology continues to develop very effective means of intervening and assisting victims in becoming victors. There is now more than just hope, there is actually good probability that healing can happen.
One way that I help survivors is by framing the injuries and the perpetrators. It is SO IMPORTANT that people understand that “this was done TO me, not BY me.” We must allow responsibility to rest where it belongs, with the abusers.
Next, I like to frame the healing process as a way of taking back the power that was stolen from us through the abuse. It is not fair that perpetrators should be able to continually abuse us through the aftermath of the abuse. We make a decision to heal so as to “shut them down” and render them “non-entities” in our lives. We ultimately release them to face the consequences of their own choices.
I find that these ways of framing the situations of abuse and the processes of healing foster a strong sense of empowerment and motivation to press on to recovery. We take on healing as a way of taking back what was taken, and allowing responsibility to fall where it belongs. We require that abusers face the consequences of their choices and actions and . . . a real stretch here . . . hope they they will make amends, change their behaviors, and . . . another stretch . . . ultimately heal within themselves.
Yes, I said it. While we can indeed want a little “pay back” for the wrongs done to us, we can actually evolve beyond revenge or wanting any other human being to suffer. What we come to desire for our abusers is, 1) That they stop abusing, 2) That they face their consequences, and 3) That they ultimately heal and make amends by becoming healthy and productive citizens.
An interesting aside: As I wrote the paragraph above it occurred to me that where healing is OUR vengeance, it is THEIR (the abuser’s) amends. Something to ponder . . . .
In closing, a saying from Words that Heal:
“Abusers have no right to remain present in our lives. Our recovery renders them insignificant, and releases them to their own karma. Healing is our best vengeance.”