I saw something the other day that really was an “a-ha!” moment. You’ve heard the saying “hurt people, hurt people”, right? Well… then there stands to reason another saying “HEALED people, heal people”
Like really smoked me upside the head! Like earth shattering observation that has never occurred to me. Don’t know why but when I saw that, a light bulb went off and I was a little embarrassed that it never occurred to me. With all the reading and self-reflection I’ve been doing over the past few years, this had never crossed my mind. With all the healing I’ve been doing with my inner child, I never thought I could help others heal once I healed my past.
This is where healing past trauma is so important – and why sometimes the best thing you can do is cut off contact in areas that refuse to participate in healing their own traumas. Sometimes people are in their trauma for so long it’s all they know. It’s their comfort zone and they don’t see the harm it’s doing to people around them. Or, unfortunately, some people don’t care – and that’s where you need to decide if it’s worth keeping them in your life. Sometimes to fully heal, walking away is part of it.
But sometimes the person hurting you is yourself – and you’re hurting those around you.
I can see that in me; having been sexually abused as a child, I had a lot of baggage when it comes to men and dating. Thankfully my husband was patient enough with me to stick around when we started dating to help me acknowledge, confess, and, with that, heal. Unfortunately, “dealing with” isn’t always “healing”. For me, “dealing with” was getting into alcohol and later combining with OTC and prescribed medication in a dangerous habit of numbing. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago I really started doing the work and healing – without the alcohol.
I got lucky, though; my husband was a good influence on me. Yes, he had/has his own issues that he’s taken steps into his own recovery, but we weren’t, for the most part, fueling each other’s fire – we helped each other through the issues.
So what can you do to help heal yourself?
1) Pay attention to how you react to things – whether in movies, comments in person or online, from family members, friends, coworkers or strangers. If you react poorly to something, there’s probably an underlying reason why.
Now I’m not talking about actual shit that’s bad – like what’s been happening in the US. Thinking specifically about the 17 year old kid who took a machine gun to a BLM rally and MURDERED 2 people and got acquitted. Yup, I said it: murdered. Bullshit like that, by all means, get fired up about it!
For the longest time I couldn’t watch rape scenes in movies nor read what others have been through. Though I don’t openly advertise that I was sexually abused as a child or assaulted multiple times as an adult, I don’t have the utter panic like I used to.
2) Feel how your body shows up; stress will reveal itself in our body. Migraines, body pain, tight muscles, anxiety, exhaustion, inability to concentrate, sleep issues….. you may think you’ve dealt with things but your body doesn’t lie.
3) Train your brain to get out of the replay loop. You can take yourself back to your trauma with your thoughts. I’ve been there many times over the years; replaying and reliving trauma – and most of the time it wasn’t even my trauma! I would rehearse scenarios loosely based on my trauma. The “What if….” loop.
When I find myself in that feedback loop, I will repeat to myself “that’s not what happened. You are safe” and that helps get my mind back to reality.
4) Don’t be so judge-y! Do you find yourself excessively critical of people’s life choices? Why does it matter? 95% of the time, other people’s actions have nothing to do with you, so time and energy you are wasting on them should alert you to some deep seated belief you need to address.
Do you judge someone for their body – either because of them being fat or fit. Is it possible that you’re jealous? Of the dedication, willpower or drive of the fit person? Or are you regurgitating the patriarchal beauty standard towards the fat person because, heaven forbid a fat person be happy! Maybe you need to deconstruct your belief of beauty and happiness.
Have you ever called someone a slut or whore because of their choice to have multiple sexual partners? If their behavior doesn’t affect you in any way, what is it trying to teach you? Maybe you’ve been ignoring your sexual health – or sexuality!
About 25 years ago, my sister-in-law and her friend were visiting my husband – but here’s the thing; I was at work and I didn’t like her there without me due to her being disrespectful towards me during that timeframe. I ended up having so much anxiety about it that I made myself sick and I ended up leaving work. After I got home, I don’t remember what we were talking about or how we got on the subject, but her and her friend kissed – and I was SO offended!
Why? Because I was bisexual and had been denying it.
if you are easily offended, overly critical of yourself or others, there’s a good possibility that you have unaddressed trauma. If you don’t heal your past trauma, it will cast a shadow over anything else you try to achieve when it comes to personal growth.
Think of putting a bandage over a wound; if you don’t cleanse the wound, there’s a very good chance it will get infected. It may not, but there’s a very high probability that it will get infected and never heal.
Even though it’s in the past, you still deserve closure.