I forgot my childhood….all of it. I remembered nothing except tiny snippets here and there. I didn’t talk about my past. My children were not regaled with tales of my childhood growing up. It was a dark secret that I didn’t recall. Counseling changed all that. I will tell you honestly that not knowing was not better. Or to eliminate the double negative, I needed an understanding of my past to learn why I acted the way I did in the present. In counseling, I read other people’s experience and my counselor gauged my response. I had no emotional reaction to the most brutal abuses, even the Holocaust seemed ‘normal’ to me. I asked my counselor why I needed to remember to heal? What was the point? His explanation made sense to me, “If you went to a medical doctor with a wound that healed over the surface but left the infection inside, the first thing they would do was open the wound and clean it out.” For me to process the emotions stuffed in nooks and crannies of my life, stored away, unacknowledged, I needed to clean out by bringing the venomous vermin out to the light of day. They screamed and withered as secret after secret ripped from its hiding place as I faced the truth of my own life. The process was long and painful. I was wounded so many different ways, my counselor and I lost track until when another counselor asked what type of abuse were we dealing with I chirped, “Clean sweep, all of them, physical, emotional, sexual, social, spiritual, if there is a way to abuse a child I had it happened.” Forgetting it, repressing it, hiding it, denying it, avoiding it….did NOTHING to heal it. I had to face it by remembering it. I accepted it. I prayed about it. I lived through it. I am reclaiming my life from my abusers. It is my life now. I feel sad when people are under the illusion that if they forgot then it will be all better. Here are some of the disadvantages of forgetting:
I learned nothing from it.
I put myself back in harms way of my abusers because I didn’t remember what they did before.
I blamed myself for my sleeplessness.
I tore myself down for being so jumpy.
I felt guilty for suffering from depression.
I felt like I was standing outside of my life and looking in with no idea how to change it.
I didn’t cry except on rare occasions.
I would forget things and call myself stupid because only a stupid person would forget such simple things.
I suffered both body and soul not knowing why I was suffering.
I blamed myself.
I am thankful that I did not remember every detail. I only have a rough outline of many of the more horrific events. I am thankful my counselor did not believe in reenacting or delving into every horrifying moment of my life. I know enough to know what I need to do differently. I know enough to know that many of my actions have a reason behind. I know enough to mostly stay out of harms way. I learned how to set boundaries. I was blessed with a counselor that believed in teaching me how to reclaim my life. For me, I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ that loved me and suffered more than I did, so He understands.
A shot up cactus doesn’t stop blooming.