The weather here has been really crazy lately. I remember that right before we had “Snowmageddon” it was getting warmer and gorgeous outside. We could finally go to the park without gloves and the cabin fever of winter was starting to go away.Then, the snow came. As beautiful as it was to see our new home and neighborhood blanketed with snow, it also brought problems. People couldn’t get home due to the conditions on the road being so horrendous. There was a possibility that power would be lost and for a while we were snowed in and getting anxious.
After the snow melted, signs of spring began to show themselves all around us. There were flowers popping up and the temperatures were warming gradually back up. We were going back to the park again and establishing a new routine. Then, Icemageddon. Everything was iced over again and we were back inside, not allowed to be on the roads and unable to walk in the driveway without falling over. Even though we were prepared, it was miserable getting everything together and trying to keep a 22 month old entertained without being able to go anywhere.
These periods of freezing over and thawing out remind me a lot of my own healing process after abuse and leaving a long-term relationship. Around three months ago, I felt like I was totally healed and could move on. I thought that I could totally handle being in another romantic relationship and I would be fine. Now, I’m discovering that the healing process is not as cut and dry as I thought it was.
I’m definitely not ready. And that’s completely okay.
Healing is called a process for a reason. It takes time. It’s different for everyone. And there isn’t a set time that healing will be completed. For some people it only takes months while for others it takes years. You can’t judge how long it takes for someone to be completely healed… not even yourself.
I think I thought that healing was a like a test.
You take it, you pass, and it’s done. If you don’t pass, you take it again until you do. But, with healing, sometimes you feel awesome and over it, and then out of nowhere it’s there again. Much like wanting the spring and feeling like it had finally come, Snowmaggedon can come and ruin everything. For weeks after I left, I would feel like I had accepted it. Then, one day, something would trigger the longing that I would have for the future I had once wanted and I would fall apart.
It seems that moving on after abuse is a lot like grieving. You are grieving the hope of what might have been, all the horrible things you’d rather forget, and trying to repair yourself simultaneously. Sometimes, you think that you’ve completely moved on only to feel the same hopelessness that you felt in the beginning one day months later.
Healing is not an easy process. It is complicated, messy, and, above all else, hard work.
I think that the only thing that can heal your pain and trauma is time. God is there to help you when you feel low and to lean on in the hard times or when you suddenly get the old feelings of despair and grief again, but in the end time is still needed. Healing makes you grow. The beauty in that is that eventually, the memories won’t sting as much and the anger subsides. Somehow, you are able to talk about things without breaking down and the sadness mysteriously disappears.
The true beauty of healing is that it ends in acceptance.
No, that doesn’t mean that what happened was okay. It doesn’t mean that it was fair. It simply means that you have accepted that it happened, it has made you into a stronger person and somehow you have moved on. I think a lot of people have a hard time moving on because they think that it means that you are saying that what happened was okay, but that’s a misconception. The ability to move on doesn’t lessen the importance of the trauma that has happened to you or the effect it had on your identity. It is simply the process of handling what happened and how you feel about it while not allowing it to crush your spirit anymore.
Acceptance is crucial to healing… and acceptance takes time.
I think the major problem is that we are now a fast-paced convenience-based society. We expect healing to happen in the time that it takes to get a happy meal. It’s never going to be that easy. There isn’t a magic pill you can take to heal and move on from trauma, as much as some days I wish it existed. I am the biggest offender when it comes to this because I’m an over achiever who is ambitious and doesn’t like to miss goals. When I told myself that I was going to be over this thing in six months, I meant it. And when I wasn’t over it in my set amount of time, my perfectionism went into hyper-drive. I had failed! I missed my mark and now did not earn an A in my self-taught healing class.
I hadn’t failed. Really, I just didn’t understand the process of healing.
Why? Because I didn’t understand that it takes time. It is a lot of little things that add up in the end to healing and moving on. It is realizing that the plans you made will never happen and that somehow you are okay with that. It is having the courage to make new plans when you are ready. And, equally, to have the courage to realize and admit if you are not ready.
I am not finished healing.
I really hate admitting that. I wish I could say that I did it in my self-appointed six months and now am the healing grand champion of all time. (Seriously, my parents probably don’t know the over-achieving perfectionism that came out of paying me by the A! Haha!) But, I’m not. It’s been almost nine months and I’m still healing. Some days, I still hate that I am not over it and that I’m still angry about the cards I was dealt. At the same time, I am proud that for the most part I have moved on and am building a new life. But…
Don’t judge yourself harshly if it takes you longer to heal than someone else.
I have decided that I am not dating right now. And I really don’t know how long I’m going to commit to that. Honestly, I’m just not worried about it anymore. I’m kind of tired of trying to date when I really don’t want to, just because I feel like I should be ready to by now. It’s hilarious because I really thought I wanted to date. But, I haven’t liked anyone that I’ve met enough to want a relationship right now. I think that I was pressuring myself to move on and I wasn’t ready. I think that also there are other things that take precedence over a relationship in my life at the moment. Making sure that I am completely healed, happy, and have built a new life is very important. I’ve finally found my calling from God and have a really awesome life with my baby. I think that, for right now, I really don’t need or want anything else.
For the first time in my life, I am making my own happiness and God’s will a priority.
And if you are getting out of an abusive relationship, you should probably prioritize those things too. Once you are in one abusive situation, your chances to be in another go up significantly. That’s the last thing anyone who is healing needs! I think that anyone who has been through abuse needs to incorporate learning about abuse into their healing process, especially the red flags that can show you that a man could possibly be abusive.
Knowledge is power.
It’s the power to understand how you came to be in an unhealthy relationship. It’s the power to allow yourself and your children to be protected in the future. It’s worth taking the time to heal so that you are ready when the time comes to move on. I know it can be frustrating and time consuming, but everyone needs to truly heal before they can really move on. Everyone, myself included, needs to know what they deserve and to understand that all of the things that caused trauma were not what they deserved, merely what they were accepting.
We need to take the time to allow ourselves to heal. And one day, after I’ve taken the time and really invested in the process of healing, I’m going to truly be ready to move on. But, I can’t rush it. I just have to keep reminding myself that it is going to take a little more time to heal than it takes to order a happy meal. Soon, my spring will be here and no Snowmageddons will get in the way.