My friend Gary Roe sent me a copy of his book Heartbroken: Losing a Spouse. Much of what he writes applies to healing from abuse as well as from the loss of a spouse.
One sentence stayed with me long after reading: "As we allow ourselves to feel the pain, our hearts will begin to heal."
Wonderful words, but the problem comes for many with the statement, "allow ourselves to feel the pain." That's what many won't or can't do.
"It hurts too much," is a common response.
Of course it's painful and traumatic. If it didn't hurt, the healing would have taken place long ago.
Instead of facing the situations, too many medicate themselves so they can run from their past—and it's not a conscious choice. It's our individual way of coping. Some resort to drugs, others by cutting off their emotions. My medication was busyness. For years, I was a driven man but had no awareness of it. "That's just the way I am," I often said.
Gradually, I learned to stop running (which is what my busyness was accomplishing). I wrote gradually because that's probably the best expression I know.
After I became aware, I decided to do something about coping with my drivenness. I read everything I could on how to live in the present and slow down. Taking time to read, in itself, was part of my slowing down. Yet slowing down was painful because I had time to think. And to feel. But I stayed with it and I'm making progress.
The struggle to run from my pain was useless. I couldn't outrun my childhood trauma.
But I could face it.
And I have.