The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mourning

Many years ago, my therapist told me that it was important to mourn my losses. I didn’t even know what that meant!

It is significant to note my complete inability to identify how I felt when I was wounded. Before I could mourn, I needed to become present with my feelings. Grieving came after the long process of protecting myself, having my experiences validated, and expressing my anger. First, I had to heal enough to “hold” my own feelings.

Without bringing our injuries into the light, acknowledging them and feeling them, we are unable to mourn and move on to the life we deserve.

For me, this was no easy feat. When our feelings are denied as children, we develop an emotional disconnect. I became detached from my sense of self and self-compassion. In order to banish that which was too painful to endure, I dissociated.

Like many other victims of childhood abuse, I learned that my survival depended on being tough enough to handle anything. Although I was acutely aware of – and compassionate to – the pain of other people, I was blind to my own suffering. Long into adulthood, I “powered” through every situation just to survive. I never learned how to process my own pain. Undoing a lifelong mechanism is a very difficult undertaking. In order to grieve – I needed to “unlearn” the way I learned to ignore my agony. Then I needed to re-learn a healthy method of expressing my sadness. It was very important for me to learn to cry for myself and to share those tears with others.

Each time I thought I had finished mourning, another wave of heartbreaking losses emerged. However, as I peeled away each layer of pain, I grew increasingly stronger.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am mourning a new layer and it feels almost unbearable right now. It is hard to stay with the feelings sometimes and go back into old patterns but I know the healthy way is to stay with them. Each time I just keep wondering when the pain will stop and then after a while I have a new mourning period again. This post of yours is good for me because I dont feel quite as alone however I just keep thinking-when is the pain going to go away so I can feel like I can live again. I do have times when I am doing well and then there is a trigger or something and I am back to this.

healandforgive said...

Dear Anonymous,

I feel bad for what you are going through right now. I experienced many long "patches" of pain that seemed almost unbearable to me as well. So, I have a great deal of empathy for what you are dealing with.

For a while, I felt hopeless, like the pain would keep visiting upon me for the rest of my life. Sometimes it felt like I wasn't making any progress; however, in retrospect I realized that each time I hit a "patch of pain," I was healing at a deeper and deeper level. And, each layer of recovery was dependent on my prior healing experiences.

In other words, there really is hope for the future. It is possible to heal and move on to the life you deserve!

Stay strong!

Thanks for writing.

All my best,
Nancy