Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Forgiveness Doesn't Mean It Doesn't Matter

"She acts as if it doesn't matter."

That's what I thot the 2 times I've seen some one who had been raped. That was many years ago. The sight of those carefree women still haunt me and the idea of being that carefree is forever in my mind. I want to feel that way. I want to spend at least one day without the presence of the memory of of it. I'm jealous.

Not long into my therapy, I was deep into a pity-party and T was trying to explain how/why those women have moved past their fear and pain to live as they have a right to, when I blurted out, "Why can't I do that? How do they just wake up one day and poof, it's all better?" I felt like a raging idiot.

Since that day, we have discussed forgiveness many, many times. Not the forgiveness that every one believes is telling the bad guys it's okay, because it's not okay. Not the forgiveness of saying it doesn't matter, because it does matter - a great deal.

He's tried to explain to me the forgiveness that allows me to forgive myself for carrying the burden of shame, fear, hate, disgust, and the myriad of other negative emotions, and the forgiveness that allows me to unburden the child I was back then and let her grow up. Have I done that: kept her (them) at the age when they were treated so badly and invasively? Have I kept that pain close to me because that's what kept me alive? Have I forbidden myself to forgive for fear of losing that pain?

It's what I know, I know how to do it. I don't know how to let it go, but at least I'm aware of it. At least I think about it every day along with the fear and pain.

I'm hoping that one day, I will think of the forgiveness and I will be that woman who walks along as if it doesn't matter because I will have gotten thru it and moved past the horror of my childhood.


Paul from Mind Parts said...

This is a hard one. "Everyone is different" I tell myself.

There are a couple points, though, to make. First, your impression of these women may be what you saw on the surface. You don't know what the inner effects of what happened to them were. Plus, I don't think anyone ever forgets. We misplace, perhaps.

Forgiving yourself is healing, and I don't know how good any of us can do that completely. I do believe there are mindful or conscious or enlightened states one can achieve, though perhaps not stay at, that do speak to this. It's a general freeing from self, which is different from dissociation. I haven't achieved these states recently, but I do remember them. They were immensely powerful.

Have you tried mindful exercises or yoga? These help change your thinking patterns and cycles that we tend to remain in.


Ivory said...

I have not tried yoga. As for the mind exercises, I've used neurotherapy with EEG biofeedback. (electrodes are placed on my head and then using my brain waves, I make pictures draw, or bugs jump, or fish swim on programs on a monitor. It's not as easy as it sounds) I used it more in the beginning and now I use light/sound stimulation with glasses and earphones. The light stims do in a few minutes what neuro--biofeedback takes weeks to do but doesn't last near as long. The neurotherapy retrains the brain to find it's way from the fight or flight of traumatized brain wave frequensies and to help it to form normal patterns that become the norm, rather than the occasional.

It has helped a great deal for brain waves, but it cannot control what I think.

jumpinginpuddles said...

forgiveness relases the endorhines to work better

Kate said...

Hi Ivory,

I wrote a long post to this when you posted this and couldn't get it to post. So here I will try to do it again, as I was able to get some other stuff posted today.

I agree wtih Paul. Seeing things on the surface is not the truth of the matter.

I have known lots of rape survivors at a large message board and they have been devastated. It has forever altered their lives and this happened to them as teens or young adults. There is no discounting the impact. Though many men and women try to run from their sexual assault memory and run away from healing.

When I was going to a local abuse center for free counseling some years ago the woman who ran the center told me that people in the field consider that it takes an adult six years to fully process and heal from one incident of rape as an adult. She looked at me very kindly and said how much more for someone who was abused repeatedly and at a young age?

Someone who hasn't done the hard work of healing and who don't look like they have any remnant issues are doing the best that they can. But they are hiding, repressing, and this is a natural reaction to abuse. We all do it as children. Adults do this as well.

It is something huge to be able to day I am not hiding from my pain any more and I am healing.

Good and healing thoughts to you.


Ivory said...

I'm not used to having to wait so long, or work so hard, for healing. I get discouraged, so I picked one thing: forgiveness, and am trying to deal with it and learn what it is exactly, and what it means for me.