Pain in the Process of Recovery


And a woman spoke, saying, ‘Tell us of Pain.’ And he said: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain….” ~ Kahlil Gibran

"Glass Art" by Robert Kraft

We are learning to struggle well.  Our desire speaks to us of a new place, a place we have belonged all along but for so long believed we didn’t… Wholeness.  A place of validity, entirety, freedom, fulfillment, excitement, promise, purpose.

People and events told us we didn’t belong in this place, we didn’t deserve to go there, we weren’t good enough for it, we had to work harder to earn the right to be there. We got broken. And then we got tangled up in trying so hard to make ourselves “righter”, make ourselves more worthy so we could get there. We got sidetracked on our way in all kinds of other places that promised peace but only delivered disappointment and anxiety. We doubted ourselves. We questioned if we should keep trying to get there…But continually burning deep deep down inside, we knew that we belonged there; we wanted to belong there… Even if at first all we heard was a whisper, a longing, a puzzled feeling, the “click” of a moment when we realized, “hey, this and this and this that I’ve believed all along about myself doesn’t really make sense…”

A dawning starts to happen.  And the light draws us toward it. The warmth we feel says, “Yes, this is the right direction. You do belong here. You are stepping in the right tracks.”

The tracks are not always easy. Some feel very painful.

Pain feels like something is wrong, and if something feels wrong our old belief system tells us that we are wrong. We try to avoid the pain because of this misconception, one we have suffered under for so long. We avoid the pain because we are afraid that it will tell us that we really are mistakes after all… But now we see the misconception for what it is. We connect with the new truth about ourselves that is gaining life deep down inside. We see the lies woven into the misconception that fuels our fear and we decide that we don’t want to agree with those lies anymore.

Pain invites us to look deeper, to look through. It is not telling us that we are wrong, just that something is wrong. It draws our hands to feel around us, to feel at what confines us. It draws us to open more windows, to let in more light here, then more light there, so we can see more clearly, bit by bit. It says to us with matter-of-fact assurance, “I can’t leave until you really pay attention to me.” It wasn’t our brokenness that was the problem; the real problem was what caused the brokenness. And what caused the brokenness was not of our making.

We work to understand this. We peel back the layers of our past, we uncover the lies that were whispered or shouted to us. We learn the truth. We realize that all the work we have done to earn our worthiness, the crawling and striving we have done towards feigned acceptance, was not required of us. It was work done for other people’s benefit, not our own. We feel the pain of being deceived, of being discounted, being taken advantage of.   We feel the pain of disbelief, of sorrow and grief. And sometimes after we have gotten to this new place of wholeness, we feel the pain of learning. We feel uncomfortable because it is so new. We sometimes still slip into those redeemable ruts. And we are invited into one journey after another of rebirth.

Our pain is a corridor. A place of deep movement towards where we truly belong. It is the breaking with the past, the hope of new growth and new life, the acceptance of reality all rolled into one. It is part of the process that helps us to keep moving forward.

Courage and love to you on your journey…


18 response to "Pain in the Process of Recovery"

  1. By: Carla Posted: 29th July

    Thank you for your beautiful and hopeful comment Roshani!! May you have all the grace you need to keep moving through the pain and see your true good self for all that you are. Much love to you! ~Carla

  2. By: Roshani Posted: 28th July

    THANKS SO MUCH ….CARLA for your beautifull articol!!!! I am just now in the middle of this PAIN , that comes from the UNDERSTANDING of all the lays and belives that i had to trust quite all my life !!!! THERE IS SUCH A TRUTH IN the precious words of GIBRAN : ” YOUR PAIN IS THE BREAKING OF THE SHELL THAT ENCLOSES YOUR UNDERSTANDING !!! ” . And to break this shell it is so PAINFULL ….that i feel like i would prefer to DIE!!! But now i know, shearing with all of you , that there is an EXIT , because beautifull BEINGS like you , DARLENE , CHRISTINA and others they have gone trought ..and on the other side will be the SO WISHED LIGHT!!YES ….it is also true that when i feel all this BURNING PAIN , the first association is that ” I AM WRONG ” , ” I DESERVE TO SUFFER , BECAUSE I HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG !! ” and with this BELIEVE coming out again , all my ALLARM SISTEM is activeted to struggle and to fight , to defende and protect myself from the judgment and the discrimination from the others …to prove to the others that i am not BAD!!!! But i know now that this is not the right way to go!!! I HAVE JUST TO FEEL THIS TERRIBLE PAIN and feeling this slowly …slowly. It will dissolve !!! I can feel that it is like this !! THANK TO BE !! LOVE AND LIGHT!! Roshani

  3. By: Carla Posted: 15th February

    Hi Joan~ I sense both the angst and your courage in your comment. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to respond with your thoughts. I understand the pain in the process of untangling from abusive situations and people. The pain passes with time… and the new health and freedom that grows inside afterwards is something that lasts and satisfies deeper and deeper. All the best to you on your journey and I hope you’ll find a lot of inspiration and empowerment here at EFB. ~Carla

  4. By: Joan H Posted: 13th February

    Today I stopped contact with exboyfriend who is emotionally abusive –
    I didn’t want to feel pain from cutting contact Soo I kept putting it off, but I was losing more control and I saw the little self esteem I had built since I was with him 17 yrs ago go down so quickly.
    Every time I stop contact and tell him I cant be his friend ,he becomes Soo “nice” so charming finds a way to “show up places i am at” n then I would get side swept and then told i was acting crazy n clingy… This I never wanted ever ever for to ever the rest of my life let him think that I ever needed him for anything.. I just wanted to make him feel what I felt. I have to understand this will never happen and if he does feel down about himself he will never let me see it!
    I’m so mad at my self for ever even letting him be my friend from day 1. It seemed like he was there and supportive and then the next day he was a different no caring person, makes me feel crazy. Them he denies everything- and get mad at me

  5. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 13th August

    PeggyEllen, thank you for sharing these thoughts. I just love how you describe the reminder to “nurture myself, look at the big picture, value the journey, notice what is being born.” I especially love that last part- notice what is being born. As we recover, we are continually unfolding… Thank you for being here and sharing your beautiful insight. ~Carla

  6. By: PeggyEllen Kleinleder Posted: 12th August

    “Pain invites us to look deeper, to look through. It is not telling us that we are wrong, just that something is wrong.” Thank you for these encouraging words. It is easy for me to fall back into my old patterns of self-blame and shame when difficult feelings arise. This beautifully written post reminds me to nurture myself, look at the big picture, value the journey, notice what is being born. PeggyEllen Kleinleder, co-author of The Thursday Group;A Story and Information for Girls Healing From Sexual Abuse.

  7. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 14th May

    Patricia, thank you for sharing this hope with us. Addictions are very painful things as well; they fool us for awhile but their “help” doesn’t last long, just like you say. It can be so scary to walk towards and through the pain. I like how you say that only feeling the pain will make it go away. It’s like it’s just waiting to be acknowledged and as we acknowledge it, we can move forward. Thank you Patricia! ~ Carla

  8. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 14th May

    The only way that I have discovered to end my pain is to feel it and go through it. Addictions help some to avoid that pain. It doesn’t go away. It is still there waiting for you to pay attention to it. Addictions let us hide from our pain for just a little while but can’t make the pain go away. Only feeling the pain makes it go away. Yes, it hurts while you are in the pain but when you reach the other side, the pain subsides and eventually leaves.

    Great article, Carla.

  9. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 12th May

    Thanks for sharing that quote Splinteredones… Yes, I think that numbing our pain and trying to “let it be” deep down seems to be an easier way to live, or more accurately, survive! I’ve heard people say, “Why do you have to get so deep and complicated? Just enjoy life and the good things and don’t focus on all that painful stuff…” I can relate to what they mean, and the fear of facing the realities of how we feel, but ultimately the pain keeps pulling us down in one way or another until we acknowledge it and why it is there. I agree that taking the steps to face the pain is definitely heading in the right direction. And in going through the pain, we find relief and understanding and the real, good life that we desire. Hugs to you, and thanks for being here! ~ Carla

  10. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 12th May

    K8, it is good to have you here and thank you so much for sharing. I can relate to trying to ignore the pain and push it down, down, down. I did that a lot because it was hard for me to understand why my pain was even there and I felt like there was just something wrong with me. But you are so right~ it doesn’t just go away that way. My heart feels and cheers for you as you turn towards the pain and go through it. Know that your soul is courageous and able to carry/lead you through. ~ Carla

  11. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 12th May

    Darlene~ thank you. You introduced me to Kahlil’s quote and writings, and you are also a huge inspiration to me as I go through the struggles along my journey. I am always empowered as I see the compassion and patience you have for yourself and the joy and freedom that you have found on the other side of the pain. Love Carla

  12. By: Splinteredones Posted: 12th May

    A sage once told memthat pain is the Universe telling us we are
    moving in the right direction. This post is very profound, thanks for the reminder. Peace.

  13. By: k8 Posted: 12th May

    I’ve spent a lifetime pushing down the pain, locking it in tiny drawers and boxes in my mind until it was so distant it was if it never happened. I thought this is how I dealt with it and I was *over* my trauma. I realize now that I need to experience that pain and work through it in order to heal. The realization does not make it any less terrifying. Thanks for this post – it really resonates with me.

  14. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th May

    This post is really profound. I came back today to read it again and I decided to do a series of quotes from it on our fan page. You discription of pain, of struggle and the reasons behind it are just so true and so deep. You paint such a vivid picture of where we get so stuck, and the mental battle behind all of getting unstuck. This is just so excellent. Thank you.
    Love Darlene

  15. By: Carla Posted: 11th May

    Hi Nikki! I love the enthusiasm and hope that winds its way through all that you have said. I like how you describe that people’s initial understanding of “love” can really cloud how they believe God loves them. Because I grew up believing that love meant sacrificing myself for other people’s happiness, I also believed that God wanted the same thing from me. It is really freeing and hopeful to know that God desires for me to live whole and alive, just as I was created to be- that he desires this for me is the true definition of love. You shed a lot of really good light on how we get this mixed up. And I love all your imagery! You have a beautiful spirit and thanks again for sharing it here Nikki.

  16. By: Nikki Posted: 11th May

    Wow this spoke right to me through out the day I have come across or stumbled over something that is about this very topic of being broken. I was talking to my mom earlier today and I told her the reason the churches are not reaching people anymore is simply because many people have been lied to .. for instance if a person is sexually abused as a child and they are told that the reason why they are being abused is because it is love then that person grows up with a wrong concept of true love. It is a brain washing that happens. So to go to someone who has been raised in that kind of environment and tell them that Jesus loves them they don’t take to kindly to that but many churches see this as a defiant reaction and they believe it be the devil tormenting that person when in truth it isn’t just a matter of spirituality it is the whole concept that in order to reach this person we don’t do it by our judgment instead to reach someone we have to be willing to hold their hand, to listen to them and share tears with them not throw the bible at them..

    And before that can happen many who fill the pews at church has to reach that point of facing their own brokenness. Now I am relating this to a church concept but that applies to all of us really. But people in general don’t like pain so what do we do? we shrink away from it thinking that it is bad thus we avoid it but in truth pain is a journey and yes their is pain in healing.

    It is when the alabaster box is broken that the fragrance of the oil is poured out without it being broken then the fragrance and the anointing oil can not be used. In other words as long as we refuse to face and deal with our brokenness then we never get to the heart of who we really are. As a Christian this also applies to the spiritual life. The Lord gives us beauty for ashes a cup of oil of anointment to heal our wounds.

    As a person who has been thru abuse darkness is what we know but the Lord doesn’t want us to stay in the darkness He wants us to come to the light and that is the process of healing … let me explain a little deeper the darkness is the years of lies, shame, and guilt that we have believed and the light is the truth, the redeeming, the anointment of healing, the recovery, saving grace! And we have to have this foundation of darkness broken in order to let the light in. As your blog very well points out..

    Thank you for sharing this. I hope you had a wonderful vacation!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.