The question is “How do you deal with this?”
How do you deal with twisted emotions? How do you unravel a knot that seems too complicated, big and frustrating?
These are the often-asked question from people who have been sexually abused as children. Sexual abuse infiltrates into the very core of who you are like a tissue in a load of washing. Everything gets covered. Sexual abuse creates damage to your sexuality, self-esteem, effects the way you relate to others, your confidence and much more. Every part of this damage flows into your emotions, twisting and knotting you up.
As a sexual abuse victim it’s one thing to know that some “stuff” happened to you as a kid but it’s another thing to deal with it. It take a deliberate effort.
I have a large linen/craft cupboard in my hall-way. It’s a complete clutter fest!
It gathers more junk than any other storage space in my house. I have walked past this cupboard many a time with little consideration to what’s behind the doors.
Earlier in the year I hunted through my house for a pair of scissors. This shouldn’t have been a complicated exercise but after exhausting all other avenues I decided to search the linen/craft cupboard. I reluctantly pulled open the cupboard doors and as I gazed at the chaotic mess I said to myself “I really need to deal with all that” and quickly closed the doors.
This week I plucked up the courage to deal with my linen/craft cupboard. I had ignored it for a long time because I knew it would require a large amount of effort and time on my behalf. I stood in front of the cupboard and made a deliberate decision to dedicate the time and effort to deal with it. I pulled everything out, all the stuff shoved in the back, old empty glue containers, papers, broken pencils and various bits. What a ridiculous mess it was! It was quite overwhelming just how much was stuffed in it. I found things I’d been looking for. I found things I can’t believe we kept and after many hours of sorting and tossing things out, the cupboard had been dealt with. I felt good and at peace that all was well.
Many people live their life accepting their twisted emotions as normal, but in fact all they are doing is ignoring the mess deeper down. They're keeping their cupboard door closed. The key is to not only recognise that something unpleasant happened in your past but to deliberately face it by pulling it all out and dealing with it properly. Twisted emotions will only remain twisted when the damage is left to it's own devices.
Over the past five months my emotions have felt heavy and intense; sitting on me like a heavy blanket draining my joy. These feelings were groaning at me for my attention, to stop and look deeper on the inside, to go beyond a past experience of abuse(knowing it happened) and to see another aspect of damage that had yet to be healed.
To unravel my emotions I have had to dedicate time and effort to open the door of my past again. I have gone back and pulled out the memories of what happened, what I remembered and I lay it all before God. I wrote down thoughts, feelings and I connected with my seven-year-old self and in all that I let her grieve. Although I thought I’d already dealt with my past I recognised my emotions were telling me there was something else, something a little deeper, a new angle or another layer that needed healing. As I pulled my past out again I felt pain. I saw fear, confusion, loss and the one thing that stood out was the feeling of being alone. I talked it through with God and as I did I pictured my seven-year-old self laying on that couch after being abused, scared and alone and I reconnected with those memories and I grieved for sometime.
Three weeks ago I again visited my past because my emotions were still telling me to and in doing so something amazing occurred. I pictured God scoop up my seven-year-old self from the couch were I was abused and carried me away. I saw God place my bare feet on the ground and he wrapped his arms around me and with no words spoken He just held me. He held me for a long time. I just stood there as a frightened, confused child. I had nothing to give; my arms just hung by my side. God held me and as he did I felt this – “I am cared for”, “I am loved”. My seven-year-old me who had felt unloved, uncared for and unnoticed was now noticed, loved, and cared for. In this picture healing occurred. It didn’t change what happened to me but I was no longer alone. I didn’t need to see anything else but to see that I was and I am loved. This visual experience had resolved another aspect of my past. I found peace with it. I had opened the door of my heart, pulled it all out and I had dealt with it with the help from God.
My emotions are now untwisted. They are quiet and I am at peace. I have no doubt that I will have other aspects of my past to work through in the future but one thing is for sure I know what to do when my emotions are telling me there is something more to deal with. I will not ignore it. I can not afford to ignore it. Peace and joy are too valuable.
Dealing with your past is similar to dealing with a messy cupboard, all you have to do is:
Give it your full attention
Allocated time to focus on it
Expect to make a big effort
Pull it all out and look at it, explore it
Keep what’s good
Let yourself feel the pain and grieve
Resolve the damage caused
Get a new perspective on it
Repeat this with every struggle you have and keep on doing it and as you do more freedom and wholeness will be yours. The happier you will be.
Are your emotions telling you there is something deeper that needs your attention?
Is there something you need to deal with?