Standing up to Damaging Advice and Overcoming Trauma DirectivesBy
People always told me things like “deal with it” and “get over it” and “put it behind you” They always seemed so impatient with me and even exasperated that I was still “there” and not over it.
Has anyone ever given you instructions on HOW to “deal with it”? Have you been giving information about HOW to get over it, that didn’t include statements to which you have to keep asking “how do I do that”?
Just get over it (HOW?) Just put it behind you. (HOW?) ~ “give it to God”. (HOW?) To which the answer was “Have faith” (HOW?) well you get the picture.
I was told to accept things with statements like “nothing happens by mistake” And while I totally love that expression when I was in the right place at just the right time and suddenly met the person who was going to change my life, what about when someone uses that expression “nothing happens by mistake” when you are trying to comprehend the leftover emotions from child abuse? That expression becomes a way to try to make you grateful for having been abused!
What about people who tell me that I would not be the person that I am today if I had not been abused; that the abuse made me a stronger person. (again that I should be grateful that I was abused) But the truth is that I will never know how I would have turned out. I don’t know how strong I would have been if I had never been abused. Perhaps my brilliant mind would have been capable of finding the cure for cancer or creating brilliant best selling thrillers instead of writing about overcoming depressions and child abuse. I will never know what my gifts could have been used for and although I love what I do, I will never be grateful for the abuse just because it enables me to make a difference in the world now.
Perhaps even God has a different idea about this whole thing. I wonder if He would suggest any of those lame and unhelpful directives.
What if dealing with it is embracing the justifiable anger and rage for the damage that was done against you and for the time that you lost out of your life because of it. What if dealing with it is acknowledging to yourself that it was not fair, not right and a rotten horrible and usually illegal CRIME that was forced onto you? (and remember that emotional abuse and neglect are crimes too) What if dealing with it is feeling all the feelings that you were never given permission to feel when the damage was done?
What if dealing with it IS talking about it? What if dealing with it means talking about every little detail as many times as you needed to state them, for as long as it takes until you understand and realize that you didn’t deserve the treatment that you got. What if dealing with it means you talk about until someone else agrees with you, that you were unjustly treated, without telling you to “get over it” or “put it behind you?” and thereby validated your pain by not trying to get you to ignore it because the “truth is” that it makes them uncomfortable.
What if you were not told to “get over it”?
What if dealing with it meant confronting the person who did it to you or confronting the person who ignored what happened to you if that was what you needed to do in order to get over it?
The real message out there in the world is “don’t deal with it.” The real message is sweep it under the carpet where it will fester and grow bigger and bigger and manifest itself as depression and mental illness, dissociated identity, multiple personality, bi polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and yes, even narcissistic personality disorder.
“Put it behind you” is the same as saying “don’t deal with it”. Stop talking about it means “don’t deal with it. Get over it really means “don’t deal with it” Anger is a sin means “don’t deal with it” Don’t think about it, don’t acknowledge what happened to you…although they don’t realize that what they are saying is actually “don’t deal with it and let it slowly kill you. Let it take whatever ever small part of you that is still left”.
Not dealing with it was like denying that it was ever a problem. And the truth can only set you free if you face it.
You will never find any of those recommendations written by me in this website. It was dealing with this stuff, facing all of it and talking about all of it until I finally believed that I was not the problem that cleared the fog and opened the doors of my prison. It was in talking about it enough that I finally realized that I did not cause any of it to happen to me, that I finally overcame it and took my life back. It was by looking at it long enough to realize what I had come to believe about myself because of what happened to me, that I was able to overturn all those false messages that I had accepted as truth.
I think we have been living under the false definition of the phrase “deal with it”
So here in Emerging from Broken I say “deal with it” in every way that you can! Your LIFE depends on it!
Freedom is on the other side of broken;