I started going to therapy for the past five years. I have faced everything that has happened to me from my childhood sexual abuse, bullying, trauma and then of course the suicide of my oldest son Anthony. It has been difficult to say the least to look at all the ways that I have been hurt in my life.
It often feels like I am standing in the landfill that is my emotional well being sorting through the piles of trash looking for the source of the strongest stink. What wound is causing all this trash to pile up? That is often the question I am asking when I am sitting in the chair in my therapist’s office.
I have identified quite a few wounds and I can trace so many of my self destructive actions to them. For one thing, anger is how all of my pain presents itself. Growing up I was laughed at a lot for different reasons. Not having a dad, my mom living with a man, being poor, not having the latest brand name clothes plus I was a dork. Because I felt alone in the world, having the kids at school make fun of me instead of being my friends made me feel even more alone and instead of standing up for myself, I just shoved my anger down. Once I grew up and realized how anger could help me feel safe, well that is what I used to cope with situations where I felt unsafe. I still do that to this day. When people lie about me, lie to me, just lie which proves they are not trustworthy or make fun of me, I get angry. When I see injustice anywhere, I get angry. Anger is my coping mechanism.
The problem is that I no longer need anger as a tool in my life. With therapy and maturity and a lot of pain, I have come to realize that I do not owe anyone anything but love. Love does not mean friendship, relationship or space in my life either. I can hope the best for a person and set up a boundary to keep them out of my space at the same time. Not only is that possible, but it is the healthy way to be. Much more healthy than cussing people out and destroying my own reputation while disrespecting the dignity of that person.
I can stand up for myself and still respect the person who is doing something hurtful to me. I can forgive someone who has hurt me and still not like them or let them off the hook for whatever they did to me. They can be forgiven and still held accountable at the same time. I do not have to lower myself to their level to do that. In fact, I do not even have to give them any thought at all. I can hand them over to God and walk away from the whole thing. Block them from everything and move on with my life. It is that easy. Again, I do not owe anyone space in my life.
Healing is hard. It hurts. It is way more painful before it starts to feel better. And as I heard on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy “Healing is not a team sport”. It is often a lonely journey. But I can tell you for a fact that it is so worth it. Especially when the fruit of it is breaking generational chains of trauma and bad coping skills.