Having a breakthrough while trying to heal is extremely painful in the moment but you absolutely have to deal with it and push through the pain. You have to cry and listen and hurt in order to move past the issue. Dealing with a breakthrough head on is what is going to keep you from having a real life break down. They are very similar but break downs are harder to recover from. Your will is shattered. All hope is lost and it sometimes requires hospitalization.
When dealing with abuse we had no control. Our abusers were controlling us. But even though a breakthrough may feel like a loss of control, it’s not. No matter what is going on, if we are responsible for ourselves with no abuse in our lives, then we can master the outcome. It might not always be exactly what we wanted, but how we deal with it, how we respond, whether or not we let it consume us is all a part of taking charge of our own lives and being mentally strong.
I recently had a conversation with my 18 year old. It started with him kind of teasing me all day. He was picking on my short comings and at first I thought he was tired because he had a house full of friends over, who were still in the house by the way, when all this teasing started. He wasn’t being cruel but he wasn’t being loving either. His friends spent the night and stayed until about 5 the next evening. I don’t remember how it all went down but I do remember saying to him in front of his friend, my bonus daughter, to please stop. I’ve had enough of the teasing for one day. He continued and it amped up to the point where now it was getting traumatic for me and with tears in my eyes I said, please stop, you are causing me trauma and I walked away from the dinner table to the kitchen. He followed me and said “I’m sick of you using the divorce as an excuse not to change things. You are divorced! Dad was a dick. Get over it!” I in turn said, “I’m not upset about the divorce at all! I wanted to divorce.” He said, “You know what I mean.” I said, “No, I don’t. I don’t use the divorce as an excuse.” He said, “Are you going to be a bitch and make me say it?” (now I was completely confused) “Fine. I’ll say it. My father abused you! He verbally, physically and emotionally abused you and every day I have to live with that and everyday I try not to think about it and I try to be happy. I know you tried to protect us but you didn’t. We know more than you think we know.” Now he is sobbing. I am sobbing and a lot more discussion and yelling and pain is being thrown around. My poor bonus daughter, who has had trauma in her life is crying her eyes out, and hugging me. My older son comes upstairs and starts in and I’m just a mess. Then I realize I have control over this. I had no control over the abuse they saw. I was afraid to leave because he would have visitation and I was afraid he would abuse them so I kept us together until my kids were old enough to fend for themselves with their father. I did the best I could there. I’ve got a kid in trauma who won’t go to a counselor. My bonus daughter now dealing with our trauma and her own and my older son who compartmentalizes it all to deal with it as his father abused him the most out of the two boys. I realized at that moment that my boys will NEVER understand the impact their father’s abuse had on me because they were very focused on their own trauma and that was okay. At that moment I realized they are dealing with it in their own way and I need to be respectful of that process and maybe they will never be able to understand the full weight of abuse I lived with and that is okay too. I wouldn’t want to be in their position of loving and needing my Dad and hating who he is at the same time. That must be extremely heartbreaking on any given day.
We cried, we yelled, there were a few things said that came out wrong so we clarified but then we hugged and loved and I realized later that night in bed that we had a breakthrough and that my bonus daughter had been placed there by God. It is usually the boys against me. Not in a bad way but they are brothers, they usually stick together and my girlie was there for me. She was a witness to my pain, she felt it and as my son’s best friend, she will be a light for him. He doesn’t need to understand my trauma in it’s entirety but she will be the female voice in his head that advocates for all women and moms and this will all come full circle when he finishes his psychology degree because through her and I, he will understand both sides more than most.
My breakthrough in all of this was it is even more important for my sons to see me loved and respected. I need to let them have their Dad be it good or bad and deal with him on their own. They are too old to try to protect and when they do complain I need to remain neutral. It’s easy to say I get it, I lived it. Which to me was understanding but they don’t want that. They just want to vent. They don’t want to hear that this is their Dad.
I learned a lot that night by listening. Feeling the pain, hurting, crying etc…but the next day, as exhausted as I was, I knew we were now on our way to healing even more.
Push through the pain. Take care of yourself. Seek out your doctor if you feel you need him or her. Keep emotional vampires an arms length away and pull those support systems in closer. Everyone is a work in progress. We should never be stagnant in trying to be the best us possible. It is even more important when healing from abuse.