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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hope for the Future

As an adult survivor of childhood abuse and as a family estrangement survivor, for years, I wondered if there was hope for my future. Would I ever be at peace with my life?

Gratefully, at fifty-one years old, I can reach back in time and comfort my younger self:

"Yes, Nancy. Stay strong; you will find peace.

It will take a lot of hard work, but the reward will be great!

With the help of therapy and a circle of support, you will break through your self-protective denial about the severity of your abuse. You will feel overwhelming relief when your injuries are validated for the very first time in your life, and gratitude for those who share your burden of pain, anger, and loss. You will be awe-struck when you discover that you dissociate with trance-like states and that your flashbacks, anxiety, fear and hyper-vigilance have a name: PTSD.

At first you will just "skim the surface" of your recovery and think that you are done - ready to move on with your life. You will be devastated when you learn that in reality, these first steps only set the foundation necessary for you delve deeper into the core of your pain.

You will recover in layers - each more painful than the layer before. This will feel like you are not making any progress; however, don't be discouraged. Each layer of recovery is dependent on your prior healing experiences.
At times you will fear that you won't survive the pain. But you will! Remember, you already survived the worst of it. You survived your childhood!

You will understand new concepts intellectually years before they travel the distance from your head to your heart. You will become impatient with yourself, believing your pace is too slow. At times you will be positive that your pain will never go away. It does!
Be gentle with yourself.

You will learn about boundaries in theory, but it will take a decade to learn to effectively set and maintain clear, respectful, boundaries. It will also take years to put down your scapegoat mantle and to place your well-being firmly in your own hands.
The hardest part of your recovery is the desire for instant results, rather than the deep understanding and healing the years will provide.

You will learn to treat yourself different than your mother treated you. You will treat yourself with self-respect, love and compassion.

I know it doesn't seem possible now, but your heart will heal enough to accept estrangement and move on to live the best life possible. You will realize that you have no control over the choices of your family members. Their words, thoughts, and actions have nothing to do with you.

Although your abuse and estrangement will always be a part of you, one day, it will be a distant memory rather than a present reality. The most important part of that memory will not be the abuse and estrangement itself - but rather all that you have learned and accomplished along the way - your strength, courage, compassion and the pride of living a better life in spite of your past."


Michele Rosenthal said...

Part of healing is helping others by sharing what you have learned. Bravo for what you're doing here!

I'm a trauma survivor who struggled with extreme and chronic PTSD for over 25 years. Now I'm completely healed, and I'm giving back, too, by writing a healing PTSD blog.

If all of us who have healed join together think of the good we can do. :)

Marj aka Thriver said...

Wow! I really like the way you wrote this. You are lucky to have YOU to love you!

If you weren't already hosting our next BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE, I'd tell you this would be a great post to submit. Of course, you CAN submit posts yourself. I always include at least one of my own when I host the carnival myself.

This is one of the most eloquent "Healing" posts I've read! Thanks for sharing!

healandforgive said...


Thank you for stopping by. I'm happy to hear that you have found peace with your past.

Your blog has an incredible amount of information on healing from PTSD.

Kudos to you too!


healandforgive said...

Hi Marj!

Thanks! I didn't think about submitting a post myself, but actually this does fit in with the non-theme "a post that is relevant to you at this point in time."

Thank you for your comments too! You have a big gift for encouraging others!


April_optimist said...

I found myself nodding at everything you said.

Enola said...

This is awesome!!!

healandforgive said...

Thanks April and Enola!

Colleen said...

Beautiful post. And so true. Every word. Thanks.

healandforgive said...

Thank YOU!

Marj aka Thriver said...

I'm glad you included this in the carnival. You know, I was thinking, this would be great to include in the thread of the discussion I started over at the Child Abuse Survivors ning/network about comforting the inner child. Are you a member yet? If not, I officially invite you! ;)

healandforgive said...

Hey Marj,

Thanks for the invite! I just joined. As soon as I get a free moment, I'll take a look around :)