(TW – I write about molestation)

It is so easy to downplay some or all of the trauma that happened to us. It’s common to not even really remember it and to disregard or doubt it when we do remember it.

This is our body and being’s defense mechanism that kicks in, often automatically, and whilst it is designed to protect us, and often does at first, it can keep us stuck…while not even knowing what we’re stuck in.

Then I heard Dr. Peter Levine, on his interview on the Being Well Podcast with Rick and Forrest Hanson, talking about a trauma he remembered through Somatic Experiencing. (As always, I highly recommend this episode.)

“Yes, that really happened,” he said, to validate for himself his trauma and pain.

I have written here that I found my therapist, who is a trauma therapist, because my body was inexplicably convulsing and wretching (kinda like dry heaving) at weird inexplicable moments. I reasoned these reactions were linked to my deeply internalized (misplaced) shame and ended up with my therapist going through EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing).

I could write tons about EMDR and how powerful it was and is. I very well might in my next book. All I’ll say now is that through these sessions, I discovered the strong possibility that I was molested when I was young.

Until that point, I often said, “My (first good) therapist thinks I might have been molested.” That’s how close I could get to this truth. After the EMDR, I often say, “I can’t swear that it happened, but I really think it did.”

That’s how close I can get to this truth.

Now I know that memory is weird and that each time we remember something we actually change the memory. That it’s possible that we can remember things that never happened, if they’re suggested well enough to us. For years, I’ve hidden behind this sense of being careful of what I declare to be true.

Then I heard Peter Levine say, “Yes, that really happened” to himself. I realized I needed to say that to myself as well.

As I have written here before, my (now good) therapist has often told me that I’ll heal even more from my childhood trauma when I can admit that it happened, admit that it hurt me, admit that it was hard and painful. This still goes against the training I received in my cult, but I’m realizing, more and more, that it’s true.

I’m realizing more and more that I can say – at least to myself and, I guess, here – that whilst I only have strong but blurry senses of what occurred, those blurry senses are true. (I’ve also learned/realized that I don’t actually see pictures in my brain, so that may explain the fact that I only have senses of what happened.) True enough for me. True enough for me to say that whilst I’m not certain exactly what went down, I am certain that there was something. Something bad. Something too much for my young body and brain (and heart) to handle.

I can say to myself, “Yes, that really happened” and stand with and for myself again (and again).

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Mor Shani on unsplash

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