People say that when you bring your wounds out, healing occurs but my experience about bring my wounds out had been a bizarre experience.
I am a Mental Health Counsellor in making. My journey started two and a half year ago when I joined the institution which trains people to become a certified therapist. I was coming in with a lot of social anxiety and emotional baggage but knowing that I would be working in groups made me feel more anxious. But, in that moment, all I knew was that I was not a failure and I would like to challenge my comfort zone. All along my first year I kept my traumatic childhood hidden. I had fear of judgement and rejection. I was playing like a rejected and wounded child in the group. I would process the superficial things going on in my life but going to that dark place of taruma was a nightmare. I gradually got to have a lot of significant insights and then finally when I opened up in the group, I was done with my certification and next step was the diploma.
The moment I stepped in for my diploma class, I knew something was not right. I didn’t feel safe and protected. It was a huge group of 21 people and I freaked out. There were some old members and new members were also welcomed but instantly my dynamics with my old group members changed. I could see them taking over new identities which was very painful for me. Through out my diploma, I processed about how I felt disconnected with the group, the rejection I felt from the group and the facilitators, loss of my identity, my social anxiety, etc. Besides, me process all my discomfort, I wasn’t getting any comfort. Instead, my anger came to surface and I became defensive. Pressure started to build on me by my tutors that I need to process and make relations in the group which I was not able to for some good reasons.
On the other hand I felt that I was sitting through my classes very congruently and honestly. I turned every assignment in time and was submitting all the learning reviews; processing and reflecting about everything I felt in the group. But my tutors knew about my Childhood Sexual Abuse which I had been talking about in my essays and learning reviews. I had a threatening sense of failure that my facilitators might not allow me to see the clients and this nightmare came true. So I mustered up my courage and I spoke about my trauma.
I was 5 years old when I first came across the sexual abuse. It was so painful for me that I don’t even remember my abuser’s face or identity. I don’t know for how long it happened and what made me let my abuser do that; a threat or an incentive. On a feeling level, it was devastating for me. I was struggling with a rejecting mother who would be absent for most of the time and even when she was there, she wouldn’t really give me any holding.
So, the second time when I was sexually molested, I again failed to protect myself and this time my parents knew and they believed that somewhere I was responsible for it. What killed me inside was that I was a 9 year old child responsible for this abuse. It shook my whole personality and I was all dark and lonely inside out. My grades got worse. I was a failure at school. My teachers would ridicule me because of my failures and my peers would make fun of my anxiety. I was bullied at school due to which I suffered selective mutism. For my parents, me being a girl was a huge failure in its own kind. I wasn’t an extraordinary child for them hence I was not worthy of their love and attention.
The third episode of abuse happened when I was 10 and was done by one of the very trusted uncles. I failed to protect myself again. I hit the puberty with a lot of pain, guilt, shame and anxiety. It took me a lot of time to actually understand that, no I was not responsible for all of this. I was a victim of sexual abuse and I am a survivor. I wasn’t protected by my parents and this was the exact feeling I had for my diploma group members. When I processed this in my group, other people came up with their pain but that didn’t give me any comfort or healing. My wounds were open and I felt like my facilitators failed to provide me with enough holding.
What I experienced by opening up the trauma, was that it’s not necessary that talking about the trauma would help someone let it go. For me, it’s a big no; no I can’t let this painful experience go just by talking about it because my body remembers the trauma.
I understood that healing comes with everyone’s own pace and when the person is ready to let go, not at someone else’s pace even if they are expert mental health practitioners.