In this post, we’re looking at the second step in the process of recovery. If you missed Step 1, just pull up the last week’s post “5 Easy Steps to Recovery.” Next week, we’ll talk about Step 3.
Step 2: Tell the truth.
This one tripped me up for a long time. I’d tiptoe to the truth, take a peek and run away, closing my eyes and putting my fingers in my ears. You know, like the little kid with his eyes scrunched shut, his fingers in his ears going, “LA LA LA LA LA!” at the top of his lungs. That was me when it came to the truth. I preferred the fantasy I’d built up in my mind to the painful truth. I just couldn’t accept that my parents were really abusers, that they had hurt me so badly and that I was terribly wounded. I wanted nothing to do with the truth, so I dabbled at recovery for a very long time.
When I had finally drawn that line in the sand that I wrote about last week, I knew that I couldn’t keep running, or it would land me right back where I had been. So I finally took a peek and forced myself to stand there with my eyes open and my ears unplugged, quietly facing the truth. It wasn’t easy, but I practiced telling myself the truth about what had happened to me, what it had done to me and how it had affected me. It took a lot of support from people around me to get through it. Sometimes I thought that acknowledgement of the truth would, literally, kill me, overwhelming me like a tidal wave. But, as a good therapist told me, “Feelings never killed anyone.” She was right. It hurt, but I survived.
For me, having been DID, facing the truth as an ongoing process was critical to healing. My parts, as I called them, couldn’t heal as long as they had to keep holding on to the memories for me, because I was too fearful to hang on to them myself. As I grew stronger and more worthy of their trust, they shared more. I began to see the truth about them as well: most of them were scared little kids struggling to survive. I had been continuing the abuse by forcing them to live with the pain and fear every day for years. My compassion for them helped me continue to hang on to the truth and, slowly, relieved them of their burdens.