Some days suck. While today is not one of those days, it feels like it could turn that direction quickly. Mostly I feel good, and that’s because I work on my issues. I face pain and trauma head on and talk about the things that hurt to talk about, whether in therapy, with trusted friends, the hubby or D, or even sometimes a stranger online. The point is, I talk about my problems and actively work on them. But at times, the healing process sucks. I’m not going lie. Dealing with trauma and facing areas that require growth and change, they’re hard. Some days, all I want to do is curl into a ball and be done.
I’ve recently learned that curling into a ball is the worst thing I can do, however. Sure it feeds my need for safety in the moment, but it does nothing to get me out of the current state I’m in. What I have to do is walk. Stay active. And talk! I can’t forget that part of it. Because talking to those I trust helps me see areas I’m overlooking. Which is truly helpful and necessary for all of us if we want to be better people.
So why do I feel like curling into a ball right now?
This last weekend I finally figured out why I’ve hated my birthday in the past. Bad things have happened. There’s no doubt in my mind that that’s played a role. But this birthday was different. Nothing bad happened. In fact, amazing things happened. Yet the entire week and into the weekend, I couldn’t get past the worry that something awful was going to occur. I was waiting for the bomb to drop and it was taking away my joy.
There were things I was feeling, like pain in certain locations in my body. Fear, almost to the point of terror. I even went so far as to ask someone to tell me they hated me, just to see if hearing those words again would rid myself of the notion that something awful was going to take place. But no matter what I tried, no matter how much I tried to focus on the positive and be in the moment, this was one of those circumstances when I needed to dig into my past in order to understand my present feelings and how to work through them.
For me, this has been one of the most difficult aspects of healing. Because I was raised that we don’t dig up the past. We move forward. I’ve even had gurus tell me that in order to be present, we have focus on the ‘now’. And while I fully believe in focusing on the ‘now’, sometimes I can’t. No matter how hard I try to be present, my mind circles on feelings I don’t understand, and those always take me into the past. The difficulty is knowing when it is time to focus on the past. If I figure out why I’m circling, then I stop the cycle. So this weekend, I did just that. And I stayed as present as possible by talking about it actively and engaging others rather than suffer in silence.
I shared with a trusted friend about the feelings in my body as well as the emotions I was having, and he helped me connect the dots that I wasn’t seeing. What I came to was that the worst trauma of my life happened right by my birthday. The pain I was feeling was my body’s memory of that trauma. Sometimes it takes getting into a certain position and having someone put pressure on those painful places in order for me to figure it out, but that generally works.
This weekend was no different.
Not only did I finally associate the missing timeline of events with my current mood and pain, but I also realized where my feelings of betrayal were coming from. Every year, around my birthday, I feel betrayed by someone I love. Even when I’m not, I still feel that way. I look for clues of people lying to me. Evidence to support my paranoia…
This year I knew I didn’t need to be paranoid (as I have amazing people in my life!), but I still felt it. Which was a huge clue in understanding that what I felt stemmed from another time.
After connecting dots this weekend, I realized there was a reason I’d been feeling betrayed all these years. Because I was betrayed. By people I should have felt safe with. Should have felt loved by and protected by. They failed me. And I continued to get hurt because of their failure.
This understanding has changed everything. I know where my feelings come from now and therefore, I can continue to work through them. I’m already passed the ‘bad things are going to happen’ worry, and eventually, I’ll be there with the betrayal too. I already know that the feeling comes from another time and who specifically betrayed me, so even if I haven’t or can’t work through that in a short time, I still have helpful information that explains the feelings.
While so much good has happened these last several days, I still feel sad and worried. More anxious maybe, but not in a good way. There are things I need to do to heal this betrayal and they are much harder than dealing with memories of rape. As I posted in my piece on The General’s Daughter, betrayal is far worse than rape for me. For a lot of people I’ve spoken with, too. It’s why I have the instinct to curl into a ball. It’s hard to fight that instinct right now.
Sometimes I give in and get into a fetal position, but I don’t stay there. I allow myself a few minutes, then I force myself up and get my attention on things that need doing. The healing that needs to happen around my betrayal can’t be rushed. It takes research and planning of conversations, and that is intimidating for me because once I’m aware of something, I want to hurry up and deal with it.
But again, this can’t be rushed.
So today, I’m trying to keep my chin up. I’m focusing on not curling into a ball and staying there. I’m remembering how fun this last week has been and how I’ve gone places and been spoiled (only in a good way) with birthday wonderfulness… Because that’s what I need to do to get through this next part of my healing. I need to focus on the love in my life and the lengths that people go to help me heal and show me how much they care.
I don’t want to face this next part. I wish I could bury my head in the sand and let it all heal without my help. Which seems ridiculous considering all I’ve already been through. Yet there it is. Healing this betrayal will be the hardest. But I know I’ll get there with this too if I stay strong and keep doing my work. No matter how hard things get, I’m not alone. I have love and support whenever I need it.
For that, I am eternally grateful.