* * * * trigger for abuse memories * * * *
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.
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.
(during therapy) - 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.
(post therapy) - 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.
Healing from past abuse's isn't going to come naturally. You are not just going to instinctively "know" how to respond to the trauma etc. Therapy is part padding the landing site BEFORE you jump out of the window. IE: learning skills to help you process the memories.
You are not sending "grown up you" after these memories. You, the grown up, in a strange way "do not have those memories" they belong to the young child who lived them.
You aren't going to be dealing with them initially.
A young child will be.
Its isn't you (the grown up, mature, capable of dealing with lives crap) that will be dealing/confronting with this stuff.
You are sending an unarmed, unprepared child to confront and fight monsters.
Which is why you want a therapist who you trust in your corner for the duration of the fight. A good therapist will eventually gently guide you to look back into the past and go after some of the puss pockets of unhealed/unprocessed memories.
Its easy to think..."I'm coping fine and things are great. why would I want to look back into that pain?"
Because its little pockets of pain waiting to ambush you when you get triggered. The abuse has left landminds (my term for the land mines abuse leaves in your head).
You are not white washing the past, you are going to be surgically, removing the bandage, removing the scab, cleaning out the puss, Appling antibiotics and allowing new tissue to grow and form a solid scar.
You will not be changing the memories. You will not be erasing them. Processing abuse memories is a way to take back your power, a way to gain control, and above all away to re-feather your wings so you can return to the sky.
Abuse beats you down.
Having the abuse stop/end allows you to be able to grow again. But most do it with a flinch in there shoulder, a defensive posture. Proper therapy will help you to change your stance so you approach life with open arms instead of a posture that indicates...I'm here, but I'm tensed up in preparation for the blows.
You choose your pace in which you go sifting back through memories.
A therapist should NEVER push - demand - expect you to present memoires to dissect.
When you are ready, let the progression of memory surfing unfold as it does. You will find things will not unravel in a linear line. Your going to jump all over the place. Let your mind dictate the direction. memories are coded in there own patterns in your mind. Don't be surprised to be working on 5 year old childhood memories and then 34 year old adult memories.
What is the purpose of this...all of it....what is the elusive comprehension you seek?
how many times in your childhood did you wish/pray, someone would come for you? Someone who would see your pain and rescue you.
The one you have waited a lifetime to come for you, is the one you see in the mirror. She knows where you hide in your mind. Let her come and take you through the maze of monsters, let her loosen the chains, wrap you in her arms and save you.
You may not feel like it, but you are fierce warrior who has survived. Your shield is dented but strong. Your skin is scarred but free. Do not stop fighting until all of you are rescued.