September 14

Touching Wounds

September 14, 2016

Stress Management

I once had a conversation with Monica, a woman who had been severely wounded emotionally by her mother almost every day of her life with criticism, screaming, belittling, and more. She responded by manipulating people, arguing with them, and withdrawing from them—behaviors that were steadily worsening through her adults years. She’d never enjoyed a stable relationship with anyone. She came to me and asked for help.

I tried to explain to Monica how her childhood pain was still poisoning her life, but she argued and fought with everything I said. Then she began to attack me for causing her yet more pain, blaming me vigorously for being cruel to her.

“You’ve been wounded thousands of times in your life,” I said, “with wounds as real as those made by a knife. You’re lying on the ground bleeding from uncounted injuries, and I’ve driven up in an ambulance to take you to the hospital. In order to do that, I have to lift you from the ground to a stretcher, but every time I touch you, you scream in pain, blaming me for hurting you. You also thrash and kick, which increases your pain and prevents my lifting you. But I didn’t cause your wounds. I’m trying to help, and in the process you will unavoidably feel some additional discomfort. If you want to heal, you will have to endure that.”

For those of us who are healing, the process involves additional pain on occasion. For those of us who are loving and teaching, we must not be afraid of the cries of those we’re helping. Healing often involves discomfort, but it’s worth it.

PCSD

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