I’m glad I took the time to write out what I learned the other day about trials being “worth it,“ because there was another half to the story – and if you’ve read that one, you’ll have some pretty great context for understanding this one.
Before I go on to shed a little more light on your understanding of the mind of someone with trauma-damage, let me first post this:
because the words “sexual abuse” are so sad.
#metoo is easier and has rockstar solidarity undertones
There’s nothing graphic here at all, it’s just related to this topic. Other than my swearing like a
pirate pansy, this one’s pretty G-rated, actually. Anyway. Moving on.
In a FB group I’m in, there was some discussion about my fabulous little “worth it” insight. The moderator of that group had some wonderful stuff to teach about this concept… and although I specifically asked for advice about this topic, my brain wouldn’t hear any of it. It was so fascinating! I mean, take this wise reply from Linda Meredith:
At the moment I think of it like a job. When we do a project at work and we complete it we know all the long, hard hours were worth it, irrespective of the outcome. We’re proud of the work we did. Complex PTSD is like that, we look back over time and we can see that all the hard work is worth it, despite the outcome. You can’t not be doing the work and not have a result.
That makes sense, right?
But it didn’t. I loved the words but still hated their meaning. My knee-jerk reflex was,
“JUNK! That’s a bunch of garbage!!!”
So as I was trying to go to sleep last night and not succeeding, that little moment came up in the queue.
Instead of smashing down that knee-jerk reaction, I sat with it. Listened to it. Asked myself, That was odd, what was it really about anyway?
It was easy to figure out.
I absolutely HATE the “it’s hard but it’s worth it” thing because… it’s a trigger.
Something in my childhood was very very very unpleasant and somebody else told me I would like it. That was one of those yucky memories that came back recently.
I own that memory now, but wow, when it came up, it absolutely rolled me.
When I said I didn’t like it, they looked right in my eyes and said, “What? You like it? Let’s keep going then…” They *enjoyed* my not liking it, and they completely ignored any opinions to the contrary. What I thought and felt didn’t matter and it was incredibly confusing, devastating, awful. Completely beyond my comprehension.
Oh, the lies that got built up around that one moment!
I don’t matter.
What I want doesn’t matter.
I’m helpless and out of control.
If something is wrong, I can’t change it.
God doesn’t care? I thought He cared. If He loves me, why is He letting this happen?…
I could fill a whole post about just the false beliefs generated by having my will steamrolled like that, and how that impacted me for the next 30 years, even though the memories were completely repressed.
But ew, that would not be a fun post!
That trigger makes TOTAL sense now, right?
In case it’s not obvious, I’ll spell it out.
Here I am, grown up, going through this painful healing process, kicking up not only just normal, sane “nobody wants to be in pain” stuff, but also triggering the old “I don’t want to do this!!!” internal baggage…
and then someone says, “But it’ll be worth it,” or, “hang in there, someday you’ll be so glad you did this”…
I’m in pain.
Someone says I’ll like it?
That sounds too much like, “What you’re feeling is invalid.”
That sounds like, “You’ll be glad about this later.”
I’ma reject THAT faster than you can gaslighting!
I don’t “like it” and I’m never going to “like it” and
IT’S NOT WORTH IT and it never will be
SO JUST STUFF IT, I HATE YOU!
It would be almost funny if it weren’t so sad. THAT’s why I was so over the moon in love with my “worth it” epiphany the other day. THAT’s why it means so much to me to own my agency in this one point.
I could clearly see that my current reaction to “worth it” memes wasn’t necessarily “real.” That was what my inner 6yo talking.
So, what happens when I figure out these kinds of things?
Well. Okay. I’ll tell you.
When I woke up this morning and hit that familiar “I didn’t want to be doing all this again” wall,
I assessed the level of crapland I was waking up in, prayed because it was pretty uncomfortable (and because prayer is awesome), and I just sat with it.
No judgement. No pushing it. Just noticing it. And I found it wasn’t hard to get up like it sometimes is. Not even 5 minutes later, I legit was feeling lighter and
-this is the crazy part-
I found myself thinking things like,
“I love my journey!”
Even though I was feeling super crappy. ?! I found myself really, truly, genuinely LOVING this process today. Everything I’ve been learning this week and, yeah, all along. All the depth of all the crazy awful emotions that bubble up. It’s intense but it doesn’t last forever and the exhilaration of being liberated from the grip of the past… It’s pretty great. I don’t even know what exactly I’m loving, but I really do just love it, even the ugly parts.
WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?
It just feels real. The hiding and repressing and pretending… that was hard. That was fake. That attempt to force everything into being better, and not being okay with things not being okay… that was crap. It’s MY life and those #metoos are MY experiences (whether I would love to erase them or not) – and *I* am doing
a f-ing , um, a d***, err, a really good job dealing with it.
(My therapist says so. The validation is nice, but I figured that out before he told me. LOL.)
Whoa, talk about a shift!!! I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about this process before.
Out of respect to my sweet, stubborn, Inner Child, I’m just going to refrain from passing judgement about whether or not all of this will someday be “worth it.” So. We’ll just drop that one for now.
In the mean time,
You don’t ever need to feel like you have to like it or that you should like it if you don’t. Whatever it is. God doesn’t mind if you don’t like painful, unpleasant things. Duh. He’ll help you figure out how to make things better, but if you’re upset about it, that’s okay.
It won’t make you feel better to think your feelings are somehow wrong, and it won’t make the situation better, either.
Sacrificing your authentic self to a situation you can’t control, is not worth it.