Last tuesday, I saw my therapist, Sheena, for the second time. I’m pretty amazed by how far we’re already moving.
We talked more about mindfulness and enjoying things in the moment, and somehow we got onto the topic of things I do for myself. I talked about how, every time I am around my mom, and we get into even the smallest argument, it’s incredibly triggering and painful for me, even to the point of wanting to die.
Then Sheena asked me a question which I had never thought of, not once:
"Where do you want to go with this?" and "Why are you doing this?" (or something like that)
You’d think that I would have thought about this. But no— I hadn’t. I started to ask myself why I was in therapy, why I was writing this blog, and what I wanted to eventually do with it all.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I wanted to one day be able to show all of this to my mother and my older brother and have them understand where I’m coming from. Maybe I wanted to be able to forgive them— I mean really, truly forgive them. But Sheena asked me if forgiveness was really necessary.
Maybe it isn’t.
Maybe we don’t have to forgive our abusers for what they have done to us. Maybe some things are just unforgivable. And really, even though forgiveness involves two people, it’s not about the person who did the wrong— it’s about the person who was hurt, and how they learn to finally let go. Maybe I am not searching for some kind of forgiveness (it’s funny how that sentence could go both ways, as forgiveness for my brother or forgiving myself). Maybe I am just looking for some kind of peace. Coming to terms with my brother molesting me doesn’t have to come from a direct confrontation with my brother— in fact, that even puts some of the power back in his hands, and I’m trying to get away from that position of powerlessness, aren’t I?
I started to think about when I wanted to get to this place, this place of forgiveness and healing. And I realized that I have been doing this for the wrong reasons— not so that I could heal and become a stronger person, but because I wanted to feel “normal”. Somehow, I had decided that if I could get through this issue, then I could finally not be “fucked up” because I was fucked as a kid. Then I could stop feeling like I don’t deserve to be loved and I could be just like everyone else— normal.
But that’s not what I want. It’s all backwards— I’ve been seeing my abuse as something to be ashamed of, when I didn’t do a single thing wrong. I’ve been trying to become “normal” when there isn’t anything broken about me. I’ve been trying to heal for the benefit of others, with this big imaginary timeline of when I would finally be “okay” and have some kind of human value. That isn’t how things work, and if I do that, I’m not going to find what I really want— to be happy.
I feel silly writing this, because it’s something that has happened before with my eating disorder and my depression. You get these little realizations, and then they disappear…but then you re-realize them. I know again that I’ll never stop being eating disordered and I’ll never stop being someone who has depression, just like I will never not be a person who has experienced sexual abuse. But I can definitely get there on my own terms, and in my own time. These things don’t define me or brand me as a terrible person— I haven’t asked to be this way or to have these things happen to me.
If I want to heal, I will do it on my own terms, for myself, and at my own pace.