Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Healing Through Repeat Trauma

When I first created and named this blog, I didn't know it would be so prophetic. Then, I only chose this name because it fit my screen name, and I loved the parable of the houses built upon sand and rock. Since then, my house has truly been buffeted by storms I did not imagine at the time. There have been times that I was sure that my foundations would crumble. I could feel some sands upon which my life had been built washing away from under me. There have been times I've clung desperately to the rock that was left, sobbing for help. Some of those times, there was someone to help. Many of them, there was no one.

After the night my ex-husband left for the final time, I had symptoms of post traumatic stress. For days, I got no sleep and for weeks I got very little. Someone would use a word, or I'd see an object that was involved that night, and the world would skip ahead. To others, I would cease to respond for a few seconds as my mind blanked out. Certain interactions, especially those involving any kind of conflict, no matter how mild, would leave me trembling for hours. I'd get flashbacks. And that is only a few of the things that had suddenly become a part of my life for months and years.

Gradually, these symptoms have faded away. I thought they were gone forever. But some time ago, someone was upset with me, and came at me with hands raised just as my ex did that night. It was the first time in years I had been the recipient of such directed anger towards me. And I discovered I wasn't so over it after all. But in the course of the incident, rather than flinching in fear or collapsing in on myself in self-recrimination for doing something wrong to cause their loss of temper, I was able to stand firm. Rather than excusing their behavior and taking ownership for it upon myself, I was able to assign responsibility where it belonged, verbally identify the behavior for what it was, and avoid crumbling under the silent verbal onslaught of my inner voice. Even though I was completely alone and without help in that moment. Though I still felt the same old terror, it was a moment of sudden realization: fear has lost its power over me.

It might not seem like much to an outsider. Pretty much anyone but me would fail to be impressed. (No one who witnessed it was.) But, after my post-event shaking faded and my overwhelming urge to run somewhere/anywhere was reined back in, I felt something I have not felt in a very, very long time. I felt at peace. It was as if pieces of the puzzle of my life which have been missing for so long suddenly slipped back into place. I was more complete than I have been for a long time.

Sometimes in our world, we do everything we can to avoid hurting people. It is as if we feel that pain is the ultimate evil, and comfort the ultimate good. But while I would never choose to have gone through that recent incident, nor would I choose the subsequent consequences which are very real and unpleasant, without it I don't think I could have made that final conquering step over the fear that has controlled my life ever since I looked into my husband's eyes and saw the possibility of my own violent death.

Maybe the Lord knew what He was doing with my life after all.

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Matthew 7:25


  1. I am happy for you that you were able to get to this stage. This is definitely something worth writing in your journal in more detail.

  2. Congratulations does not seem like the right word. I am happy for you. Thank you for sharing.

  3. "Feel the fear and do it anyway" - right? :-)

    You have shown great courage, especially in the way you are sharing your story with all of us. You and God are a good team, as you build your life.

    Coincidentally, I watched these two videos yesterday:



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