It’s no big deal. I can handle it. It’s not that bad. I just shove it away and pretend it never happened. I get on with my life.
Those are some of the words I have repeated to myself and to others through the years. It’s been my response to what has happened. Smacked upside the head with a gun while being raped – ‘no biggie, it could have been worse.’ Sexually abused at the age of 5 – ‘I can handle it’…I close my eyes and pretend it’s not happening. Father leaves the country when I am 13 – ‘ At least my mom’s around’. Three family members commit suicide – I squish down the pain of loss and pretend it never happened. Two failed marriages….drug addiction…..self destructive behaviours….loss of feeling…disconnection from self…disconnected from life.
I’ve spent my life minimizing what has transpired in my life. I refuse to wallow in self pity. I refuse to spend time in the pain of loss. I choose instead to focus my attention to the beautiful and good things that life brings. Okay. That’s good BUT I have learned that I need to face what has happened in order to heal. When I do not face them they sneak back and haunt me. An unrelated event will trigger a memory. An emotional response that is disproportionate to the event. A ‘friend’ makes a decision to no longer have me in her life and it sends me back to being 5 years old. I grieve and beat myself up over it for weeks on end.
Starting today I am going to be honest with myself about what happened. I am going to revisit significant trauma and acknowledge that it happened. I am going to allow myself to grieve.
Minimizing what happened does not heal. It is a coping mechanism. I choose to heal. I choose to thrive. I choose to do more than simply cope.