The most commonly occurring trauma I have dealt with in my 32 years of private practice is physical and sexual abuse. A teen comes in and shares that he had been molested by a neighborhood boy for a number of years. A grown man is barely in control as he shares that he recently discovered that his son had been molested by his grandmother. Another man told of his step father “beating the shit out of me” for years, while his mother made excuses for her husband’s behavior. A woman was virtually held captive by her cruel husband in the most remote area of Utah for years. The list goes on and on and on. Although the steps to take to help the healing process differ from person to person, there is a couple of common threads.
Abuse is the hurt that just keeps on hurtin’. The father with the abused daughter may find himself running grotesque mental videos through his head. He will most certainly feel like he didn’t protect his daughter well enough. So how does one begin to heal from something they cannot control? As an overly simplistic image, we can look at our lives as a big see-saw. All this horrible crap is placed on one side, throwing off the balance in favor of the trauma. Most people seek relief from therapy by hoping they can reduce the weight of all the negativity. Logically though, other than amnesia, these are your memories. So the way of counter-balancing the trauma is to begin to add “weight” onto the other side. As we strive to improve our lives, we add weight to the “good” side of the see-saw. What is it that a person needs to improve their lives? Work diligently at making our marriage a powerful one? Vigorously seeking ideas to become not a good, but a remarkable parent? Consistently working at improving one’s health through new found nutrition and/or physical improvements? Seeking a new and enlightening spiritual or religious awakening? Dedicating ourselves to be in the service of others?
In other words, we break the bondage of mental of physical negativity by concentrating on improving ourselves. It is not so difficult to begin, but the effort to stay focused on the long term effort to improve our existence is demanding. However, what is more exhausting: working diligently and consistently to improve ourselves, or to quietly rage at the stupidity or cruelty of some massively screwed up person who impacted our lives? Hey, they did bad stuff before, I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow them to continue their shitty behavior year after year in my head.