This is a link to 10 things not to say:
I like what she wrote. I think it is worth your time to check it out. I am going to list the same 10 things not to say with my perspective. This is not a rebuttal. I am sharing a different view to perhaps help someone that needs another way to look at the same information. My years in counseling I spent many sessions going over the same information from different perspectives trying to wrap my mind around what happens inside my head. I am sharing my ‘Why not’ to say these things.
1. Calm down now or I will not talk to you. First of all, inside my head a real emergency is happening. The chemicals are dumping into my system that literally make it impossible for me to calm down. Adrenalin is a heavy duty drug and threatening to walk away from me will not change its effects. I like A Rose with Thorn’s approach. I would add, “May I sit with you while you go through this mind storm?” Sometimes it is not helpful to have someone there. I am so raw and so flooded with emotion other people cease to exist. My counselor is the only person I know that has sat with me through a storm and stayed calm. He has years of practice. It is hard to watch someone else suffer so much and do nothing because there is nothing someone else can do.
2. Just forget about it. I did. It was no where in my conscious memory for years. PTSD destroyed me without me knowing why I was so sad, terrified, miserable. All the emotions and triggers were there without knowing why I felt the way I did. I felt so relieved to finally remember and understand why I acted the way I did. Forgetting doesn’t resolve the issues. The body has its own ability to remember that doesn’t require the conscious mind. Just forgetting sucks, a lot. Fortunately, I still don’t remember everything. I appreciate the blanks that I used to rail against. I am thankful I can remember and learn from what happen. When I forgot, I didn’t learn anything.
3. Don’t you just repress the memory and forget about the whole thing? For me repressing my memories held them in perfect mint conditioned, unprocessed, raw emotion neglected for years incubated to become much, much worse. It appeared to make things easier but I trusted people that I didn’t remember were untrustworthy. I believed things that if I hadn’t repressed my memories, I would have known were lies. When I finally remembered, there my pain was just as fresh and agonizing as the day I repressed it. Processing memories and painful emotions is easier to do as you go along rather than facing 40 years of unprocessed emotions.
4. The past is the past. You need to move forward with life. That is true but not simple. I don’t ask for flashbacks. It is like the past throws out hooks to trip me up. Part of working through past issues is cutting the emotional ties that keep me tied to past experiences. It is a daily on going process like beating back the monster trying to get out of the black lagoon. I keep inching forward and my past keeps trying to drag me back. I learned that when I hit a trigger, I go looking for what is festering to allow healing to occur.
5. You need to forgive them and forget what happened. I like A Rose with Thorns’ answer. There is one part I want to add, if I forget, I don’t learn anything. From past experiences, we learn to protect ourselves, healthier responses, and better ways to avoid dangerous situations. Remembering my past helps me to feel greater compassion for what other people are experiencing. I mentioned before, forgetting doesn’t solve anything. Forgiveness I learned is quite separate from forgetting and reconciliation. Too often this type of statement is said by the abuser that doesn’t want to take responsibility for their actions or by someone that feels uncomfortable with my distress and just wants ‘stuff’ to be swept under the rug. I believe forgiveness is a gift I give to myself, because in my mind, it means I am no longer tied to the abuser.
This post is getting long so I will continue with the other half tomorrow. To be continued……..