I was reading a novel the other day. A pair of sisters were walking, and a van came up behind and grabbed one of them to be abducted. The other sister who did not get captured jumped into the van because she did not want her sister to suffer alone. I thought to myself, jeez, my sister would have shoved me into the van and then told them how awful I was to ensure my suffering. I have never had people I could trust who supported me and provided safety until I met my husband. Every time I felt safe, I was quickly shown why I was not. Attachment is clearly one of the issues I continue to work through.
I have not had the luxury of feeling a mother’s unconditional love or the support of a sister or best friend. Every relationship was based on conditions and lack of communication. My sister slept with one of my boyfriends. She and my mother got some joy out of hurting me. For some reason, I was a threat to them, and they needed to solidify their place in the world through these actions. Time and time again, my mother would enter my life with false promises, and I would excuse her actions with open forgiveness only to be hurt all over again. Some of the most traumatic pain was inflicted by the woman I was supposed to provide safety from but instead created pain.
I remained in these types of relationships for most of my life. Perhaps this was because I could always see the light in others. Yes, even when I knew my betrayed me, I looked at her and understood why she made the choices she did. I could never hurt someone like that, especially my sister, and for some reason, I never blamed her. Time after time of being hurt by these two women, I continued to believe the next time would be different. If I continued to love them unconditionally, perhaps, they would wake up and do the same.
That time NEVER came. Instead, in a repetitious cycle of abuse, I was pained over and over by their actions. When I did not give them what they wanted, they would lash out with some action which showed me how alone I was. And my other relationships were no different; they were plagued with betrayal, abandonment, and rejection. Eventually, I ended the cycle by ending these relationships. Even with all the pain, my desire for a genuinely authentic and compassionate connection remains, and I believe it IS possible.
The last week I have been taking another look at my experiences and releasing some energy that may have been hidden in the layers of weight that I continue to shed. The social constructs surrounding trauma and pain might need a more in-depth look. I recognize how I have used toxic positivity and bypassing all these years under the label of healing. The spiritual communities provided the perfect haven to escape from the pain temporarily until one recognizes the same behaviors with these individuals. It is no coincidence most of the people attracted to these spaces are all traumatized to a degree, and the relationships within demonstrate this fact.
In this realization, I am allowing my wounds to resurface without shame as I work through them from a new perspective. I had learned to be ashamed of my wounds through these communities. No longer lost in the cults and echo chambers, I see things in a different light. There remains this push for us to heal or to move beyond our wounds. My actions are different from ten years ago. But I ask, why push those around us to heal to this acceptable and specified degree? I have recovered to a degree where these experiences do not create unhealthy behaviors; isn’t that enough? I am not healed enough because I am speaking up about trauma? Perhaps it is time we look more in-depth at these wounds, not run from them. There is a belief within society that we must push through and beyond, “it’s not that bad, or it could be worse, be grateful for what you have.” The best is “the gift of our experiences!” But maybe it these perspectives that keep the trauma from ending by making it okay. No one is responsible for their place in the cycle. There is no accountability, just more bypassing, which creates more trauma.
Maybe it is time to say it isn’t okay, that it IS THAT BAD, so sorry for your suffering. We have created a whole society that uses distraction and escape to cope. Most of us are uncomfortable around pain and suffering because we have not dealt with our own. We fear it, and thus we must escape it with toxic positivity or projection. It might be time for a complete overhaul of the social constructs and programs that keep us avoiding the real issues. We are a society that bypasses feeling and emotion. Most individuals are not aware of their emotions and feelings. This lack of awareness is what causes more behaviors that compromise our desired happiness.
I understand why my sister made the choices she did. She was ensuring her safety and approval from my mother. She pushed me into the van more than a few times. I forgive her for that. But it has taken me a long time to discover my boundaries, not allowing myself to pushed any longer. I finally found a template for boundaries I have never had before. Within the past year, I have discovered more of who I am. With this knowledge has come my boundaries. While yes, I can see the light in everyone, I will no longer make excuses for them. By holding people accountable, I end the bypasser’s game.
Perhaps my choices will reflect into the collective, and we will begin to look deeper, pulling the layers back of the status quo. Maybe society will begin to look at and explore its shadows without the secondary emotions of toxic shame and guilt. I am practicing a new approach to healing, one filled with self-love and compassion, by stepping up and saying, YES, IT IS THAT BAD.