(c) P R
We tend to get frozen in time when it comes to abuse. Like little deer caught in headlights, victims tend to freeze and leave "photographs" hardwired in their mind of the abuse.
Something triggers the memory and instantly the image will be displayed in your mind. Flashbacks are like a haunting old slide show that is no fun to watch.
The cruel thing our minds do/did, is that victims also hardwired in the EMOTIONAL aspect of the incident also.
So BAM you are blindsided by a flashback or a trigger causes you to go to that dark space in your head and then the second punch hits you...you are not experiencing it as the grown up you are right here and now....but rather your mind reacts as if you age regressed back to that day.
When they happen suddenly everything is giant and you feel small. That is a normal reaction, your mind/body instantly returned to the last hardwired memory.
As strange as this sounds....you can't work through being abused as a child as an adult. You are not in the same head space any longer. You have many more life experiences then you, the abused child, did.
To heal you have to undergo some unpleasant digging into your past and looking at it from the child perspective. You will have to reconnect those frozen photographs into the movie format of what is your life story.
You have emotions to uncover and reconnect with.
The healing journey is painful in the beginning. People off doubt they will heal when faced with the hard work and uncomfortable emotions they have to churn through. Don't give up its very much worth the effort to put your past into perspective and get to a place where the memories no longer hold power over you.
Healing and thriving are possible no matter how long ago the abuse took place.
"healing" is not the right work for the process...Nothing will change the fact we were abused. So in a sense that work doesn't accurately define what happens. For me at least the "healing" is like this:
(prior to therapy)
I have to walk by a vicious barking dog each day and as I approach the fence the mad dog lunges and barks and tries to bite me. I flinch and jerk away and run in fear past it. Unable to even look at it.
Therapist and I go stand a safe distance away from the fence and look at the dog, and talk about all the experiences and feelings that come up.
Therapist teaches me how to walk past the dog and how to deal with my emotions and physical reactions to the dog. Basically how to take back my power. We practice until I am back in control and empowered.
I get back on with my life and while the events did leave a scar on my soul and mind, I am able to go on and keep living my life without the crippling emotions/memories of the abuse disrupting my life to the degree that I am non-functioning.
I still have to face the vicious dog each day, but I no longer flinch or look away. I know it is chained and though it once hurt me, it can no longer hurt me. I have taken my power back and can deal with it in my adult mind vs my child mind, most of the time.