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The price of coping

The human psyche is truly amazing. That we can experience so many things that hurt us and we are able to put it in a box and carry it in our subconscious until we are ready to process it. It’s a true testament to our will to stay alive.

My experience with my trauma is that some of it was visible but so normalized by my family that it was actually invisible because I believed it to be the truth about how people behaved and the way the world worked. The other side of my trauma was completely hidden from my consciousness.

Looking back I can see how both of these pieces of trauma were determining the routes I was choosing in my life. I was completely ruled by fear. In my decision making I would always choose to avoid anything that looked scary. This is a very negative consequence and prolonged my journey. The path of least resistance is behind the curtain of fear at every intersection. I had no idea I was even afraid of anything let alone avoiding fear. This is what it’s like to be in denial.

I had to really dig and do a lot of work to gather and upgrade my tools and rebuild the trust and love in the relationship with myself before my hidden subconscious was even willing to allow my trauma to be seen. That’s how much shame and judgment I feared from myself.

A few days before the revelation I had a counselling appointment and I remember saying out loud “whatever is in there I can handle it, I’ve handled everything else that has come out so far and I know I have the tools to handle whatever else there is.” The magic words had been spoken. I trusted that I knew what to do to take care of myself. When it came up I at first didn’t believe it. It hurts my heart to say that I thought I had officially lost it and I pushed the memory away.

The next day I had a memory come up about high school. I went to a party one summer and blacked out, I didn’t remember anything. Later in the evening a friend came to see me and she received a call from the friend of someone I remembered making out with. The friend told her that I had sex with the guy and she asked me if it was true and I said no I was blacked out. When school started the next fall everyone was talking about how I’d had sex with this guy. It was very confusing at the time. I realized that when bad things happen to me I black them out. My mind started digging for other times this had happened and then the memories started coming.

The feeling of complete emotional devastation when you are shown, there just aren’t any words. It also helped me to understand myself so much more. My past started to make sense as I could see how I had been suffering and why I had felt so utterly awful my entire life. I’m also grateful that I didn’t know. I’m grateful that I was able to create an identity that was separate from my trauma. This way once you do see it you can take steps to heal it because it’s a really lonely journey. I lost my entire family when that memory came up. I was not just healing the wounds of being used for sex by my father, I was also healing the wounds of being completely abandoned and punished for speaking my truth by my mother.

I can see why this was so deeply hidden from me, I can see all the different choices I could have made that would have made my life better and easier that were affected by my trauma, and I can take accountability for those choices.

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