Healing from childhood trauma is not a 100 meter dash.
It’s a marathon you run at the pace of grace. And in this episode, Vanessa talks about what trips you up on the way and how to avoid it.
Subscribe to Motherhood Unmasked: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | iHeart Radio
Pace. It’s not a word often thrown around in mom circles. Moms are all about getting all the things done for our kids and family as a whole, and maybe throw ourselves in there a bit too.
But getting all of it done, when we don’t seem to have enough hours in the day. And so to the mom already feeling behind, pace might actually be a cuss word.
HEALING TAKES TIME
And if you’re not careful, when you approach healing from your childhood trauma, you may apply that sort of harried pace to your expectations of how quickly you will heal–assuming you make the decision to take time to heal.
If in your mind you think, “Fine. If dealing with these wounds will help me be more effective, great. Let’s get that done so that I can get on with my life.”
I hate to break it to you.
That’s not how healing works. Healing takes as long as it takes and we often don’t know how long it will take until we get in there to assess the wound.
To see how deep it is, how wide it is, how long it’s been there, how it’s affected the surrounding tissues or issues in your life to really assess the treatment required and to even estimate how long healing may take.
And while the prospect of that is uncomfortable, the truth is once you begin your healing journey, you don’t know what you’ll uncover or how you’ll respond.
ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATION
I’m a crier. I cry during movies. I cry when I’m angry. I cry when I feel the presence of God. I’ll cry if I see you cry.
And knowing I’m a crier, it didn’t make sense how frustrated I’d get in therapy sessions when I cried.
It’s not that what I said didn’t merit tears, I felt frustrated that something that happened so long ago still hurt.
In my mind we talked about that enough already. Why am I still crying?
My expectation as an accomplishment driven person was once addressed, let’s check that off the list and go on to the next thing.
But I’m not a list of household chores to be accomplished. I’m a layered human being which, like you, makes me complicated.
So tempting as it is to just plow through and get it over with already, you can’t.
You didn’t get over the traumatic experience when it happened. You tucked it away because it overwhelmed you.
There’s no telling what you have to face now that it’s been buried for years.
LESSONS FROM LAZARUS
Imagine a man who fell ill and died and has been buried for the last four days.
Picture this happening thousands of years ago before modern embalming practices, though mourners carefully wrapped him in cloths spiced with fragrance for his burial.
Imagine him miraculously walking out of his tomb, alive yet still wrapped in those cloths. Imagine the smell.
I bet he’d want to get out of those stinking rags as quickly as possible.
Excited by the prospect of a second chance at life, he’d want to get on with it—free from the past.
Problem is, his arms are wrapped up.
He needs people to unwrap him and removing those layers takes time.
Like it or not, convenient or not, he has to endure the smell of the parts of him that died while he anticipates living free.
That man’s name is Lazarus. And Lazarus had to move at the pace of grace.
While they unwrapped him I bet he remembered his suffering.
The pain, the loneliness, the hopelessness. And maybe he asked those tending to him to hurry up and get these burial rags off.
PACE OF GRACE
But just like it took time for him to get wrapped up in an unpleasant scenario, it will take time to get unwrapped.
The wounds you suffered as a child were as traumatic to your soul as the gory wounds of a trauma victim rushed into an emergency room.
And you can’t put a bandaid on something that requires layers of stitches–not if you want to be whole.
You are worthy of wholeness, not just healing. So that means putting in the work for as long as it takes and at the pace you can handle.
RUN YOUR RACE
This is not the time to look at the woman next to you and wonder why she needs fewer counseling sessions than you.
You are not her. You didn’t have her exact experience or to the same extent. You didn’t have it the same duration, nor were the same players involved.
And you don’t share her childhood family dynamic.
So, you can’t compare the process.
You have your own pace of healing for your set of circumstances and you need to honor that.
Run your own race of healing.
And no one said it was a sprint. Yours may be a marathon.
So, expectation is everything on your healing journey.
As I often say, misplaced expectation is the mother of all disappointment. And misplaced expectation is a playground for Imposter Syndrome.
Digging through layers of coping mechanisms to deal with the trauma you worked so hard to bury is a tall order.
The last thing you need is Imposter Syndrome yapping in your ear. “You feel stuck because you’re a hopeless fake. You don’t really want to heal. You can’t change and this is all a waste of time.”
You deal with that noise by revisiting your expectations.
You’re not racing against anyone or some imaginary clock. You’re on a personal journey.
And it’s not always about big leaps. Sometimes you can only manage baby steps.
But any step you make toward breakthrough, big or small, is one worth celebrating.
Give yourself grace to move at the pace necessary for you.
And allow the person or people removing your layers to encourage you when you feel discouraged about the pace.
Sometimes you get weary in well doing. You need a cheerleader to remind you of the progress they’re seeing and how courageous you are for persevering.
Because look, you’ve come this far because you’re a survivor. You are stronger than people gave you credit for and now you’re building on that strength.
If you know anything about weightlifting, form is more important than the speed of your reps. In fact, speed will increase your risk for further injury.
So, slow down. And go into your healing journey expecting to readjust your expectations of yourself and the process along the way.
And when you feel discouraged, be honest with your counselor. It’s the perfect opportunity for your counselor to not only help you reset expectations, but encourage you around the strides you’ve made so far.
I hope this episode encourages you to press on. Healing while living is exhausting and in future episodes we’ll unpack that more.
But I’m so proud of you. I’m grateful you joined me today.
And I pray that something I shared today resonates with you and empowers you to keep going and to keep going at the pace of grace.
You can find the homework for this episode on our website at motherhoodunmasked.com/episode63.
And until next time, please remember. When it comes to being the mother of your children, you are the woman for the job. Take care.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast should not be taken as medical advice. The content here is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your health care professional for any medical questions.
This Episode’s Homework
Need Help to Heal?
If you’re working through any kind of loss, the journal, My Journey Through Grief and Loss, helps you acknowledge the significance of your loss while honoring the memories you’ll always cherish.
And if you meet with a counselor or a coach, you need a journal to keep track of session breakthroughs and aha moments in between sessions. A copy of My Reflections Journal for guided post-session review would be perfect for you.
Let’s Stay Connected
Do you know why I call you Mama BARE? Because you’re unmasked and unapologetic in admitting motherhood is tough, and you appreciate conversation that honors that.
So, connect with me for more support, empowering the best version of you as a mom.
For encouraging bi-monthly emails and exclusive access to practical resources that help YOU shine, tap “COUNT ME IN.”
The Motherhood Unmasked Journal
A Journal Worth Your Story
160 pages waiting for you to fill it with the struggles and the wins on your motherhood journey!
And she’s pretty coming and going! Available on Amazon.
Got A Minute to Pray?
New “PrayerTube” channel on YouTube
Features prayers about a minute long written and read by Vanessa. Start your week off right, with a prayer on Monday mornings. Because prayer changes things and you have a minute to spare.
Let’s Be Social!
Ready for MORE Motherhood Unmasked episodes?
Copyright 2022 to date Vanessa A. Harris. All rights reserved.