If Step #1 to happiness is committing to totally honesty with yourself, then step #2 would have to be confronting the darkness. Unearthing all the pain, the hurt, the past you’ve ever survived. And you have survived. Pain, suffering, and trauma isn’t just something you experience. It’s what you survived. By default, this makes you strong. You are strong, no matter how weak you feel. But it’s more than just confronting your pain and suffering. It’s identifying it. It’s accepting it. It’s calling it out for what it is. Looking back at the way others treated you and calling it what it is: abuse. It doesn’t matter if they deny it, and many will. It only matters that you recognize what abuse and trauma look like. Much like happiness, we don’t know what that looks like either.
Stop trying to measure your hurt and abuse. It doesn’t matter if the hurt is small or large. If the act was intended or accidental. It doesn’t matter if the act was minute or vast. It only matters what you feel. Either it hurt, or it didn’t. That’s all that matters. And only you can decide when something hurt.
Dissociation is self-induced psychopathy—the subconscious path to close and end all emotion as a means to cope and survive a trauma. But what happens if you are incapable of switching the emotions back on?
When I was the most dissociated, I viewed emotions as evil. Painful reminders of my traumas. Emotions were useless…or so I thought.
Emotions are to the mind and psyche, what pain is to the body. They only ever are signals to the brain to communicate and identify healthy from damaging. Nothing more. Nothing less. Shutting off your emotions…desensitization…is the act of shutting off the emotions. Shutting off emotions is like shutting down your pain signals to your brain. What happens if you can’t feel pain? Most people who are desensitized can’t feel the damage they are doing to their minds…to their psyche.
Confronting the darkness is the act of turning those emotions back on. Feel those emotions. Let them do, what they are supposed to do. Remember, being honest with yourself is harder than awakening these emotions.
I remember the show House. In one episode, a building falls on this woman’s leg. She’s a runner. House refuses to amputate, and his decision kills her. When the building fell on her leg, it cut off all nerve signals to the brain. She felt nothing. When they lifted that building off of her, her nerves woke up. The signals flowed to her brain with the toxins and killed her. This is why those who experience severe mental pain need a therapist. Because without the therapist, when you remove that building from your leg…when you unearth and awaken those emotions, suicide is very probable. The therapist holds your hand, quite literally, and lets you lean on them while you regain your ability to walk.
The emotions must awaken. You must embrace them. You must let them run their course. You can’t rush emotions. You can’t suppress them, deny them, or ignore them. Guess what, trauma hurts. And that’s okay. It does hurt when you feel mum and/or dad don’t love you. It does hurt when a basic need isn’t met. Loneliness hurts. Failure hurts. Bullying, name calling, verbal abuse hurts. It’s supposed to. It isn’t healthy. That hurt is your emotions communicating to your mind, “Hey! This is a negative stimuli! Get away!” Now…what happens if you shut off those emotions?
Awaken them. Embrace them. Welcome them and cry. Oh, do cry. Let the hurt flow. You’ve earned that hurt. You’ve earned a right to cry and scream. You’re allowed. You’re human. Embrace that. Be angry. Someone hurt you! You should scream and cry. And oh, you will cry and you will hurt, then you will find old hurts you have forgotten. You’ll awaken and unearth those too, and you’ll cry all over again. You’ll accept that hurt and let it wash over you and pass. You won’t be able to confront those who inflicted this hurt. And that’s okay. They don’t need to know what they did to you. You need to know what they did to you.
One day, there will be no more hurt to unearth, confront, or endure. One day, you can look up from all this and smile. This is therapy. You will slip back now and then to denial…that is the honesty I talked about in step #1. Be honest. Accept you’re wrong. Accept you’re strong. Accept that you feel vulnerable. You feel vulnerable, but you are strong. You’ve already survived this. Now, it’s time to endure it. And endure it, you will. Confront the Darkness for the sun shines on the other side.