Avoiding and Accepting Pain (continued)

 

I could hide behind rage and hopelessness and still not have to deal with the well of pain that existed within me. Even now, when I think about the tragic events that occurred my first initial reaction is to go back to those moments in my mind when I realized at 14 that I was being raped and I fought and screamed my anger until I was unable to fight any longer. I still want to scream.

The first real crack in my armor came after I began having my children. The pure joy of creating my own family was truly a miracle. I could have a family filled with love rather than the fear I grew up with as a child. My first marriage was filled with ups-and-downs. My husband slowly became alcoholic and drug-addicted in front of my eyes. I felt despair but still did not cry. Instead, rage became my familiar.

I found that I couldn’t let love in without it continuing to open up long forgotten and rejected emotions. As I raised my children, when they felt pain, I felt pain. When they felt fear, I felt fear. Gradually, I was unable to compartmentalize those feelings with them and it began leaking over to my own feelings separate from their growth.

The pain was unimaginable. As it became triggered, it would be exponentially out of proportion with what was happening in the moment. It was the flip-side to the anger I had felt and just as intense. It would, after a period of time, disappear back into its compartment as quickly as it had surfaced.

I gradually began to understand that where anger and rage had never made anything better, spending time with pain – however fleeting in the beginning – was relieving and almost medicinal for me. I began to understand that to offset the extreme emotions, both around anger and pain, I would have to associate those feelings with those long-ago traumas. I had to learn to allow myself those feelings in accordance with what is happening in the moment. I accepted the pain.