How Does One Heal From a Plethora of Painful Experiences?
(Vancouver, WA, USA)
Do you start from the earliest childhood horrors and just work your way up through the ages? This seems like a daunting, near impossible task.
I am a 55 year old woman and have known, for much of my life, that my anger is not within normal limits. Too many interpersonal relationships have ended due to my trust issues, abandonment issues, fear of abuse and neglect as well as low self esteem.
I have lost friends, opportunities, jobs, and have had long periods of estrangement from close family members due to my feelings of resentment and anger. My anger-based actions have caused me to feel unlovable, ashamed, hopeless and even crazy.
I have worked on it. I once removed myself from everyone and lived under a bridge muttering to myself for almost 2 years. I was so blinded by grief, resentment and anger.
And there have been positive steps. I have studied others who seem to have their lives and their emotions under control. I have listened to "experts" on anger control and learned how to accept responsibility for the choices I have made.
I can now identify how my choices, with their natural consequences, created situations that were out of control and extremely unhealthy. It is the positive results from doing the latter which gives me hope for some measure of peace and contentment someday. I am an intelligent, college educated woman, one would think I could have solved my problems long ago. Simply put, I never make it to the finish line.
The work remaining is what seems overwhelming. How do I begin to tackle all the hurt and pain which began early in my childhood and continued, unchecked, for the many years of my adult life? How do you heal from a lifetime of negative experiences? So many traumatic, violent and abusive episodes have occurred to which I was a victim. I am certain it would take years to work through them all.
Yet, I want to, and need to change my life and break the cycle of misery that my life has been filled with, until now. I desire to have normal, healthy relationships with others. I want to learn how to cope with the past and heal from the pain. I am ready to be honest with myself and those who wish to help and support my efforts.
I am willing to work hard at this, because anger management may be the best hope for happiness now in the approaching winter of my life. It is about time for me to know true inner peace. I deserve to have normal, positive, happy experiences. I am not a bad person, but perhaps one who is suffering from a severe, chronic malady. I am ready now for the cure.Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Ann, and thanks for telling your story here. I appreciate the clarity and eloquence of your writing, and the strong sentiments and desire for healing that you express. I will try to answer your questions, then offer you some suggestions about next steps for you, if you're interested.
First, I want to tell you something that might offer you some relief and comfort. I have worked with many people who, like you, have a lot of trauma to work through. What I and they have found is that when you resolve the key traumatic memories, it simultaneously resolves many of the related traumas that followed.
So, with that in mind, the answer is yes, you do start with the earliest memories and work forward in time, but fortunately you do not have to work with every single one of the memories. You will find that when you heal the key events, many others are symbolically healed at the same time, so that when you revisit the later memories, you find that they no longer carry significant emotional content for you.
It does take a while to do the bulk of your emotional healing, but it probably will not take you as long as you think to start feeling better. I also want you to consider that once you gain the tools and understanding of inner work and emotional healing, you will find that it is an ongoing aspect of your life that becomes a resource of enrichment and personal growth.
That being said, I want to recommend two courses of action for you. First, I will offer you the "do it yourself" process, if you feel that you can do this on your own, or using any resources for therapy or support that you already have in place. Read and follow all of the guidelines you find on this FAQ page
. These are indepth, powerful processes, designed to help you heal and grow into the type of person you want to be. Use all of the exercises on a regular, ongoing basis, and you will definitely receive some benefit.
The second course of action is that you consider getting some counseling for your anger management healing process.
One way or the other, Ann, it is clear to me that you are ready to heal, and I congratulate you for that. Do not let anything discourage you from your goal of having a healthy life with fulfilling relationships. You can do this.
The healing you seek resides in the core of your being. There at the heart of your being, there is someone who has been untouched by all of the harm ever done to you. You will find greater and greater comfort, the closer you come to that place within you.
Let me know if you have any further questions, Ann.
And thank you for the beautiful images you included with your story.
Above all, believe in the goodness of your heart and soul
My very best to you,
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