We don’t talk about it enough, but the healing process can be really traumatic. Even once you’ve worked past defensiveness and figured out how you want to work through your issues, the difficulty doesn’t stop there. Really, that’s when it begins.
Because we don’t come up with maladaptive coping behaviors just because. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Maybe you don’t like the way you’re acting, but you’re acting that way for a reason. And when you start trying to act another way, it’s completely normal to find the process stressful. You might have days when everything feels wrong. And in my own case, I found that I had suddenly had new problems — ones that had been held at bay by imperfect coping.
So if you’re working through a process and finding it difficult — even traumatic — you’re not alone.
It’s like a splinter gets stuck under your skin and you’re trying to get it out. Many times, you have to cut the skin to get the splinter out. You’re creating more damage. It hurts, trying to coax the shard out.
But it’s the only way to heal.
Recovery from trauma can be the same way. It’s possible to heal in such a way that you can survive, but you’re still wounded. The splinter is still in there. And every time you move, it hurts. Unfortunately, the only way to get it to stop hurting might involve cutting it out. Further trauma, yes. But hopefully, if done skillfully, when you heal from recovery, there will eventually come a point where it doesn’t hurt nearly as much. Maybe a time when it doesn’t hurt at all.
Look, I wish it were different. I wish it were easier. But it’s not.
All I can tell you is that it’s worth it. And that you’re not alone. I know there are days when that won’t seem like enough. But it’s all I have. So I’ll give it to you.