Tag Archives: Healing

Masks and Racism

Psychologist here. Well, where are we now? The virus and all its challenges we thought was lifting and we thought life would come to a new better normal. Now, we have riots, racism that has been underground for decades. Now the virus is escalating. Now we have no clue what the politically right words are to use any more.  BUT all of it needed to surface like our trauma that is buried deep in the community so we can heal. Otherwise the darkness and all its pain in world go deep and infect us. This includes hatred, pain, fear and lies to name a few. We have to look at ourselves and see where we can make a difference and change our world.

The damage of racism is deep, old and full of fear. It is a place to put our insecurities, fear, anger, hurt and hatred. When we can blame and dump our stuff on someone else, then we sadly feel better and superior so we don’t deal with our stuff. Repeated thoughts and feelings create permanent neuron paths so racism is usually well entrenched physically in our brains so we have to WORK at changing it. We have to WORK at being kind and caring. My parents were racist due to culture and ignorance. I chose to do better for me and my children which meant I had to change deeply imprinted hate messages to God’s love messages. It took work!

And now to masks which is more complicated than it appears. That tiny mask is loaded feelings, beliefs, thoughts, hurts, sadness and tons of FEAR and ANGER!! We are afraid and angry about ours and the world’s situation. Basically, we can do nothing to be in control or change it, or in our world for that matter, except for the choice to wear or not. Our fear says we have lost control and there is no safe place in the world. Our little mask becomes something we can control. There are many reasons to wear or not so there is constant debate about it.

What is the answer? Feeling our feelings fully and APPROPRIATELY. NEVER act out on your feelings. Never hurt anyone because you are feeling. Seek God. He loves you dearly even if it does not seem like it. He is the only one that can fix and save us and our world. God helps us with the hard choices of choosing to be kinder and reaching out to help others. No laws are going to make the changes we need, only God can save us from ourselves.

 

FEAR AND HELP

For those of us who have been traumatized, this virus may be triggering old fear. We may find ourselves becoming more vigilant and trying to stay safe. Sadly, there is not safe place now, no place to hide or escape to. The virus has permeated our lives from what we do, shopping, relationships, etc.

Before we could sometimes escape, run, hide, stay away; sometimes we just had to endure. Now, with this virus, we are enduring. That creates pain deep inside of us and possibly a panic to run anywhere to escape, but there is no place to go. Which leaves us in the pain and trying to escape it other ways, such as self-harm, drugs/alcohol, hurting others, etc.

I am reaching out to those individuals who relate to the above pain or to those who are caring for them or are in some kind of relationship with those individuals. This is important. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS! Please get help.

If, however, you are in a situation where you or your children are being abused because you can’t get out or away, there is help. Hotlines, police, someone you trust. There is help. Or contact me and I will contact someone to help.

This time is difficult but help is still available.  If you were abused and old memories and feelings are being triggered, surfacing again, call a therapist, a counselor and get going on your healing. Yes, healing is painful, hard and I wish we never had to do it, BUT if we have been traumatized, we HAVE TO HEAL! And when we heal, we find freedom, joy, love and we come to know it wasn’t our fault.  We also discover we like ourselves versus hating ourselves! That is often seen as a miracle. Another amazing thing are the gifts that God gives us when we heal! We always gain wisdom from healing! I love the wisdom! That is special knowledge that helps us get through life.

Please get the help you need. It is available even in these tough times.

Blessings, peace and healing.

STAGES OF LONELINESS

The Experience of Loneliness

Loneliness seems to be a constantly companion in our survival journey. There are moments or seasons of our lives where it doesn’t seem so bad, then it surfaces like an additional punishment until we deal with it. Loneliness has feelings of being lost, afraid, sad, depression, desperation, defective, rejection, and other feelings. All of them need to felt, processed and learned from.

Tom said it this way:

“I can’t keep pretending! I can’t! I am lonely! Horribly lonely and there is no escape! I can’t escape me! I am the one that is bad and terrible because I don’t have any friends. Actually, if I am honest, I never really did. I knew I wasn’t okay and that is why I didn’t have any friends. There was a time when I was raising my children when it didn’t seem so bad. But since then it has come back to punish me. Now I’ve carried that awful pain into adulthood and I don’t let anyone close to me because they will know how awful I am and defective. I really don’t know how to be a friend. I have come to accept that I will be lonely the rest of my life.” (Tom came to accept his loneliness as permanent, until he did his healing work.)

I have wondered about loneliness, are the existentialist right? Are we destined to travel our lives alone with intense loneliness? With loneliness comes depression, anger, hurt and tangles around everything in our lives. We may blame others when we are lonely – Why aren’t they there for me? Where are they? They don’t care! Don’t they know I am hurting and so alone and lonely. If they would just…. But that never takes the pain away. We can be alone and be okay. We can be in a crowded room and be intensely lonely. It is a journey.

Here are the seven stages of loneliness I have come to understand.  It will take a few blogs to get them all in. Like grief the stages are not rigid, it is a process.

Parts of Loneliness

  1. Feeling lonely. This stage demands we acknowledge it and then feel it. We can’t out run it, it is inside of us. Its pain can drive us to do things we would not otherwise do such as: alcohol/drugs; promiscuous; travel (run); become bitter/angry; divorce; isolate self; never be alone; abuse; and the list goes on. The ultimate running away is suicide. Suicidal thoughts are not unusual when feeling loneliness or on the healing journey. Please never act on them and get help immediately. There is hope!

 

Reminder: Breaking Free from Trauma Class. Every third Thursday in Muskegon.  Also Live-Streamed.

Pride, Business and Loneliness

Pride, Business and Loneliness

This pride is sometimes true sometimes a survival skills that works to boast our confidence and self-perception. It like all survival skills work to keep us going. Often it is based on things we think others will like in us or looking perfect. Perfect does not exist and is based on others illusion of what perfection is. So we work hard to show others we are not only okay but wonderful in whatever area of our life. It works to cover our pain.

It helps us gain just a little something to feel a little bit better about ourselves when we don’t. I may pretend I can do something or know more than what it know. I may work hard to look fantastic and still not like the way I look because I am not perfect. I can get a lot of certifications and degrees, but insecurity, shame, feeling defective is still there are part of the loneliness.

In reality, I have raised myself. I have failed in that task because I am lonely and hurting. I worked so hard to have people look up to me to show them I am okay. I had to prove them, actually to myself, that I am not the shame and not defective. I have to prove to you that I am acceptable, okay and not the messed up person I know me to be inside. I am really fragmented, shattered, and not repairable. I will never show you that part of me, the real me.

I am trying to fix myself, heal and be whole. I keep failing at that too. I can’t fix me. The shame has done its damage. I am shattered into a million pieces of sharp glass. When I go to pick up a piece to examine it and work to heal, I bleed profusely and end up in a pool of my own blood for days….

Under it all is insecurity, shame, pain and the horrible loneliness that drains me of every ounce of life energy. I guess I will always be less than, always less than. I am ready to lay down in the glass and let the glass do its damage. I am tired, worn out, weary. I can’t keep going. There is nothing left to fight with, nothing.

Somehow, I lift myself up one more time. Lord I collapse at Your feet in the millions of pieces of sharp cutting glass bleeding profusely laying in a pool of my own blood. I am done and I can’t do this anymore. Only You can. Do what You will. Have mercy on me, please.

Pride can help us get through. We sometimes work to become proud of what we do and what we know. It gives us the confidence we need to keep going. If we busy, we think we will look important. If I look important then I am OK. It often is just trying to keep going. Or maybe our way of running away from our loneliness. It may also be our fear of our real self, fear we are not OK and not wanting anyone to know. (see chapter…)

We should have be raised to know ourselves and the amazing person God created us to be with all the gifts and abilities. Then we would have confidence and grounding in who we really are. Then we would not need pride to boast us up. So we may create things to be proud of in ourselves or stay busy, real busy so we see ourselves as needed and wanted. Then I must be okay!

What do I do with these feelings and pain? Again, we I have to feel the feeling fully and gain the wisdom they offer. When we do that, our body releases the pain, our  heads  clear and we  gain strength.

PLEASE REMEMBER THE THREE RULES OF FEELING FEELING FULLY:

  1. CAN’T HURT YOURSELF
  2. CAN’T HURT SOMETHING ALIVE – PLANTS, ANIMALS, PEOPLE  ( includes not yelling or raging at them)
  3. CAN’T DAMAGE PROPERTY YOU DON’T WANT TO DAMAGE

In other words keep you, others and living things safe!

Reacting to Loneliness

Ok so how do we deal with it?  It is painful, awful and I want to run from it.  When I decided to write about loneliness, my old ever helpful, maybe not healthy, protective survival skills surfaced trying to keep me away from the pain. That is that systems job in me – to keep me away from the feelings so I can keep going. BUT I came to a place where I couldn’t keep going.

 

My fears  surfaced! I was going to do what? Face my loneliness in a way that reveals it to the world? No way! But yes, that is what I am doing because I want to help you heal and grow and not be afraid of your feelings. I want you to know, like me, you can feel them, and release the pain that is in you and heal. Feelings are here to help us, all of them, even loneliness and have much to teach us.

Preparing to write often takes days, sometimes weeks. I don’t’ usually just sit down and wow it is there! As Clark Moustakas said, we have an incubation time where we immerse ourselves in the experience.  So I had to and needed to feel the pain of my loneliness. It came up like a vengeance. I hurt in a way I didn’t think was possible. I was intensely lonely and terrified. I isolated. I silently judged and was critical of everything and anyone. I was edgy and nervous. I forced myself to smile at people, but was a fake. The pain and loneliness colored everything and not in a good way.

Deep inside, where I really lived, I was desperate for someone to help me, to reach out to say something like – How are you really doing? Someone to just come and give me a hug, a “just because you need it hug”, hug. A few did, but they did not come close to touching where I was living in all my pain. But it was a lifeline. But truthfully and sadly, nothing really would have helped, because I really didn’t know what I needed. How like loneliness. We can’t be reached because we have walled ourselves off so we won’t be hurt. But we have to let people in to not hurt and be reached. There is no winning in this, except to feel the feeling fully until they aren’t anymore.

 What do we do with it?

We have to embrace loneliness and make it our friend or be destroyed by it. We can make it go away by being busy, pretending, addictions, etc., but at some point it will surface. When we embrace it, we learn, grow and heal at a deeper level. My loneliness taught me and helped me heal at a deep level I didn’t know existed. Thank God for being with me each step of the way!

Sometimes we think we have felt enough, but it just isn’t going away. At those times, we may judge us and think “I must be doing something wrong or I would not be feeling all this pain.” “I goofed.” “I am the bad, terrible person.” “I didn’t work hard enough or I would be out of this pain.” Something is still so wrong so very wrong with me because I can’t heal.” Here was mine: “Here I am supposed to teach others about healing and I am still in horrible pain. Yes I get! I need to feel and learn about it to help others, but enough is enough!” None of these are usually true. If we keep on the healing journey, we will heal.

Allow yourself to gain an understanding and compassion for and about you. We get this as we feel and go through the pain. I needed to face the pain of my decades of loneliness and gain its gifts. This writing  is one of those gifts for me.

TRAUMA AND LONELINESS CONTINUED

As my healing journey continued, life presented more and more challenges that took me to my intense, deep loneliness. Here is the next part:

At one point in my life I went through a very  painful situation in  my life and I lost everything.  I even lost the work I had promised God I would do.  The pain, loneliness and grief hit like a tsunami. I couldn’t believe it was even humanly possible to endure such pain. I would work, come home and crawl on the couch unable to move. I watched TV till I was so exhausted I would just fall asleep.

Now, it was time to feel all the pain I hadn’t dealt with, all the pain and loneliness. I had done a lot of grief work from the trauma in my life, but nothing could have prepared me for this round. It opened up all the old wounds as if for the first time. So it was time to feel the loneliness, accumulated grief and the pain, not just the loss of The Farm. Ugh! It was beyond human. I stopped being in my body. I numbed out. Checked out and did anything I could to avoid it.

The thing I decided I had to do, was to spend TONS of time with God. I spent at least two hours in the morning and two hours at night. I’d pray, read my Bible, journal and write. Most important was I had to feel all the feelings that had built up inside of me for years. This is where I found my rescue and sanity. This is where I truly found healing. God is the healer and He loved me so much He wanted me out of the pain and loneliness. He was always there for me with each tear.

I had never dealt with my loneliness of childhood, marriage, life. I just kept going and going. Truthfully, it seems to have become like an old friend that and oddly, very oddly, it keeps me company in a strange way. We can come to accept it as part of our lives. We are not so lonely because we have this feeling that is always there, a place we have lived for so many decades. Strange isn’t it? Depression can do the same thing. We know it and know how to be in it.

Please know, if we don’t deal with accumulated pain, it waits inside our bodies. It waits for us to heal. It sits there and causes us problems in all areas – physical, emotional and mental.

What is Loneliness?

Webster defines loneliness as “Achy, devastating, unloved, empty.  It is a sadness and belief that we have no friends or company…. (It is) isolation, a lack of friends/companions, forsakenness, abandonment, rejection…” It has depression in it and deep longing for people but sometimes we can’t stand the idea of being around people. Often we believe we are so bad, we shouldn’t connect to others. Or we have isolated ourselves so much, no one is around.

Loneliness is an aching, painful, gnawing and difficult feeling we can’t get away from no matter how hard we try. We can’t run from us because our feelings because they are in us physically. As one of my client’s said: “The trouble is I ALWAYS go WITH!” We can’t outrun what is inside of us.

Existentialist philosophers believe we are born alone, live life alone and die alone. They see us as always in the state of loneliness and aloneness. I pray that is not the case. What I do know is that being traumatized intensifies our loneliness and we have loneliness others have not experienced or understand. Why is this? Because no one is usually there for us. No one protected us when we were hurt and often we were hurt from the very people who were supposed to protect us. No one is there talking to us about the trauma, how to get through it or holding us while we cry. No one is teaching us how to do things, grow up or about how get through life. We seem to have to catch it.

I believe loneliness, along with fear/terror, is a core, if not the core of trauma. It is a silent root that hurts, devastates and twists around our pain. In our world, we are taught to hide being lonely. We are supposed to pretend and never show it. So we smile, pretend, avoid, don’t talk about it and put on our false self so no one will know. If you show your loneliness, then you prove to everyone something is wrong with you. You prove why people, we believe, don’t want you around. Which brings more loneliness.

Our deep insecurity, shame, defectiveness and hurt causes so much more loneliness because we distance ourselves from us, others and God.

Next: continuation of how loneliness affects us and how we can deal with it.

BITTERNESS – HOW DO I COPE?

When we are bitter, it affects our all our lives – thinking, feeling, speaking, behavior, and all our relationships. This is because of the pain and hurt inside of us. Sometimes we will even feel it in our physical bodies and the physical pain lodged from trauma can be intense. Please know, we have to go to doctors and have be examined and make sure something is not wrong.

When we have been so hurt for so long we may not even remember how feeling good feels like. We may just know the bitterness, anger/rage, hurt, fear, jealousy, sorrow and loss.  We may have many ways to cope with it, some healthy and some not so healthy trying to settle and stop the turbulence and battle down inside of us.

Here are some NOT healthy techniques;

  1. Ignoring my feelings – feeling literally grow stronger inside of us if we do not feel our feeling appropriately. (See below).
  2. Bitterness grieves even our spirit – ignoring God and our religion hurts us even more
  3. Substance abuse (any kind) – a drug is a drug is a drug that include alcohol. It doesn’t not matter how we get the drug in our system they all damage us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  4. Food – either over or under eating can help comfort us but may hurt our bodies.
  5. Any kind of addictions – food, exercise, shopping, stealing, work, etc.

Note: an addition is a repeated behavior we use to help us deal with pain that creates a chemical change in our bodies. We often get an Adrenalin rush from most addictions.

  1. Hurting yourself – cutting, hitting, burning, sexting, etc. This often gives us a high and reduces the emotional pain inside of us. Surprising isn’t it?
  2. Emotionally putting yourself down – we can be our own worst critic and even punish ourselves for any misbehaving as we perceive it.
  3. Staying in abusive relationships
  4. Yelling or hitting others – includes our children
  5. And the list goes on….

Here are some healthy ways to deal with feelings.

  1. Feel the feelings fully and appropriately. This is so important! Appropriately means to follow these three rules: (1) Can’t hurt myself, (2) Can’t hurt something alive – plants, animals or people; (3) Can’t damage property I don’t want to damage. Children get – you can’t damage property.

These HAVE to be followed. Following them we can do many things to release the feeling from inside of us.  We can cry, write, journal, draw, sculpture, etc.

Let’s talk about anger. Anger often gets us into a lot of trouble and we need a safe way to release its physical energy as well as the Adrenalin that comes with it.  Following the three rules, we can beat a pillow, mattress, punching bag (stuffed duffel bags are great); yell/scream (if you don’t want anyone to hear your, fill your sink with water and then scream in the water …or swim and do it; twist a towel real hard or have someone hold an end of a sheet and twist; yell/scream; slam doors (not refrigerator or glass doors – good strong ones); etc.  Again following the three rules we can release any feeling safely without hurting ourselves or someone else.

Note: If you were abused and have a fear of hurting someone when you are angry, always do your anger work by yourself when no one is around. Know also you may be afraid of anger because of what you experienced.

  1. Get into counseling or psychotherapy and stay there until you find more of you, have less intense painful feelings, gained insight and wisdom and life has gotten better.
  2. Talk with trusted friends about how you feel
  3. Pray and spend time with God.
  4. Attend religious services
  5. Find your passion and purpose. That often involves using what has happened to us in a way that makes a difference in the world.
  6. Start thanking God for everything in your life – the good, bad and ugly. This helps the brain physically shift old patterns of thinking to more positive ones.
  7. Develop the skill of forgiveness, forgive often.
  8. Forgive and pray for those who hurt you. This is a process and takes time. I usually does not happen overnight. The more we heal, the more we can forgive. The more I heal, the more I forgive, the freer I become.
  9. Exercise, but not to the extent it becomes excessive and abusive to you

These are only some of the way to cope, I am sure you can think of many more. We usually have to try different ways to find the ways that work best for us. People seem to have favorite ways to release them appropriately.

Feel free to contact me.

Blessings

 

BITTERNESS – OUR LIVES & OTHERS LIVES

We have talked a lot about bitterness because it can take over our lives so much if we do not decide to approach our pain and hurt in a healthier way.  Pain and hurt are usually the feelings under anger. Anger is often a cover feeling. We flip the pain to anger because anger is easier to feel, it has energy to it. Then if we are angry long enough or work to not to show our anger directly at people, we can create bitterness.

Bitterness is not a subject that makes people happy and inspired to go do great things. It stops us in creating enriching relationships with ourselves and others. So we don’t like talking about it. We can, however, make a decision to heal and create a healthier, less violent world. Wow! If we think about that, really think about it, we have the power to help make this world more loving and less violent!

If we choose to be less bitter or angry that in turn changes my interactions with just about everyone I come in contact with. Did you ever think about the cashier at the grocery store for instance? They check us out, pack our items and tell us to have a good day. Do we look at them? Smile? Ask how they are doing? Maybe they are having a discouraging day and a smile, kind word or even a thank you would mean so much to them. So often we can give them a hard time and complain or ignore them as if they were robots.  Again, it is a decision about what we are going to do with our feelings. Care, support and encourage or hurt, put down and damage?

To change, we have to make the decision to heal and grow from our wounds. We can continue to brood and “lick our wounds.” Brooding is what a hen does with her eggs when she is working to hatch them. She spreads her wings over the eggs, settles deeply down in the nest and stays there keeping them warm for many weeks. She rarely moves from the brooding until the eggs hatch. We don’t hatch eggs but we sure can brood well as humans hovering over our pain.

Our other choice is to heal, grow and gain wisdom from the trauma experiences we have endured and been damaged by. I don’t know about you, but I do know  what I do not want, I don’t  want the trauma and those people who hurt me to win! I want to show them that no matter what, I have chosen to be a different and caring kind person and I refuse to let their actions win.

Letting them win means I become like them –giving into the pain, acting out so I add to the world’s problems and hurt people like they did. I have personally chosen to be different than what happened to me. I choose to be different than what they did to me. I choose to be stronger, kinder, more courageous and smarter than the people who hurt me and not let what happened to me continue to rule my life. That does not me I am perfect and don’t hurt people sometimes, I am human and make mistakes

We make this change by healing and overcoming. It is hard work and we have to feel the feelings appropriately of what has happened to us to heal. We have to grieve everything that we got –hurt, neglect, pain and everything we didn’t get –love, caring, developing of our talents….. Yes it is hard and so worth it. We gain so much from the healing journey.

When we heal we learn we can forgive and become truly free! Remember forgiveness is not saying what they did was OK, it was not and never will be. But we can heal and rise above, that is transcend what has happened to us. We may have things we have to forgive ourselves for, and we learn we can!

Note: Please don’t give up, freedom from the pain is possible. Overcoming and becoming a Transcender is totally waiting for us. It becomes our gift to us, those around us and the world.

 

BITTERNESS – THE CRITICALNESS

 

What is looks and sounds like:

“I don’t want to be like this, I want to be me, I am not mean I am really a nice person. But I hate everyone and everything. I want to be different, be the real me. I need to change, I want to change. It’s time to heal. But how?

“I am critical of everyone and everything. I judge, condemn and want to argue and fight with everyone. I fight for my time with God, beg people to pray for me so it think I am ok…. but I am still not aware of have become bitter……BUT I HAVE!  Lord help me I am bitter, angry and want to destroy and hurt. I think I think it will help with the pain…..nothing helps with the pain….nothing.

“I fight each morning to get my brain under control, to get the darkness out of it, but the pain seeps back in and I want revenge again. I know I won’t do it but love planning it…it feels good.  Thinking that, I hate me again. Life is lousy, lousy, no one likes me or wants me around…I don’t want me around!

“I begin to see life and people as mean and they are out to hurt me. It seems they are working to shun me. They have mean looks on their faces…no that is not true, I know I have a mean look on MY face and they are responding to it. I am desperately lonely, but I am so critical and afraid others will hurt me more.

“I view others out to get me, hurt me…I long to go home and hide. It is too hard in this world, too hard. I cry a lot, scream in the water, and try to keep going, giving and all I want to do is sleep and make all this pain go away. But I have to keep going pretending I am not bitter and hide it from everyone. Pretend to be nice when I don’t feel nice.

“I see and believe no one likes me. I am awful, horrible, mean, terrible person and no one wants me around. I know it is because of what I have gone through. I have a RIGHT to be bitter, look what happened to me! So I have a choice –bitter or better. Bitterness is like acid, inside of me. It’s like having ground up glass surging through me, hurting me over and over again. It cuts me and I am bleeding  profusely all the time…. then I lash out to hurt others. Sometimes I can control it for a while and pretend I am okay, but then I have to run and hide so it doesn’t show. Trying to make the pain go away. It’s grinding me up, eating me away like acid. It is destroying my real self, the nice me, the one that loves people and wants to help them. I never heal. I’m never okay. It comes out in zaps, hurts, explosions, misunderstandings, jealousy, enviousness, looks…..”  And the list goes on.

Bitterness crushes the soul. It is like a wound that never heals, never because the hurts and wounds form the world continue and the person does not know how to make it stop. So it devastates the spirit. The result is the hurt is so intense it feels like it is slicing through us—we keep bringing up the hurts over and over again, because they are inside of us physically until we heal—over and over again. The brain is brings it up because we are actually trying to get rid of it. But we can’t until we heal.

Until we feel, deal with and heal from the embedded deep wounds, we will be crushed and we can’t let go or go on. Our struggle to cope becomes habitual then it shapes and changes our internal frame of reference, how we see ourselves in the world, it becomes skewed. We then can begin and continue to see the world as hurtful, people as cons and out to get us, use us, liars, and manipulators. Or we can see us as being nice so we can get something back, even a little something.  Thankfully, we can heal.

Becoming bitter takes time and comes from having been traumatized, wounded. It does not happen overnight. Wounds include disappointed, put down, abuse, violence, not valued, not respected, bullied….wounded in many ways. Sadly, when we lash out from our pain, we then feel bad having been so critical. We can then hate us for what we did; we devalue and judge us.

Healing also takes time, not as long as it did to be abused usually. It is hard, painful, wonderful and awesome. At the time of the trauma we don’t know how to get rid of it. It’s all one mess of glass and blood. It churns inside of us affecting every part of us –inside, outside…our entire life and all our relationships. But we can heal, we can forgive and when we do we gain wisdom and joy from the strength we earned and learned.

What to do about it:

In our world today there are many people who have become bitter and angry.  Healing is possible, always possible. We have to feel the feeling fully and appropriately to heal. We have to forgive. (See my blog on forgiveness.) I will talk about this area more as we continue our journey together.

 

BITTERNESS – THE HURT

Bitterness comes from pain, agony, hurt, sorrow, shame, etc. that we turn it into anger that comes from being traumatized. I am going to share my journey of dealing with bitterness from my journals during a very traumatic time my life when people I trusted betrayed, persecuted and mentally/emotionally attacked me over a long period of time. Maybe some of you can relate. I would value any thoughts and feelings you have about what it has been like for you.

The Hurt of Bitterness:

“I have and am struggling with bitterness…I didn’t recognize it as bitterness but saw it as anger, hurt, depression and criticalness. I feel they (those people out there) deserved my bitterness, yet they don’t.”

“I have been hurt by so many people in my life so many times, not just now ….. so many that it has created deep wounds in me. Deep, deep wounds. They are like the fjords of Norway in my soul (Norwegian ‘grand canyons’) and are still ripping into me deeper and deeper.

“The hurt with all its agony and anguish is almost not describable. The book called ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ are the only words that come close. I am dripping in blood – black, deep red blood. I’m dripping in it, standing in it and it doesn’t stop. It keeps bleeding and bleeding and bleeding. The pain never stops. It has shredded my soul and only God can knit me back together.”

“I keep trying to stand up, but I bleed more and hurt beyond what words can express. My enemies hit hard then harder. I reel. I stand again and their tail hits hard and I am down again.  I want so much to stand and to keep going, keep working. I do, but limitedly. Sometimes it allows me to stand and take a few steps, but only for a short time. Because the tail hits again and again and I go down again.

“I finally get so I can stand, but there is no energy and little hope. How do I keep going? How? I have little hope and nothing left. They took everything, everything – my home, animals, work, and safety. I am in touch with my anger and the deep grief that has built up over and from decades of being hurt other times, but nothing like this. When I sleep there are nightmares. I watch endless TV trying to get tired enough and zoned out enough to just pass out on my bed and maybe not have nightmares. Better yet, to pass out on my couch downstairs, I don’t have nightmares there.

“I am so tired, a shower is exhausting, and putting a spoonful of food to my mouth is more that I can do, I have no energy. When I do eat, it is something I just grab that takes no effort. Soup is too much work.

“I don’t want to feel this vile stuff. I want it gone, but it doesn’t leave. It is my constant companion. I use the techniques I know – cognitive, behavioral, prayer and it helps for a while. I have to keep at it or it builds and builds and wants to become anger which wants to obliterate everything like a burst dam. My confidence is zero, but I can’t let people know. I have to pretend. Gratefully, my work with my clients stays free of the pain and I can still make a difference in their lives. This is God’s gift through all this.

“I watch for good things, loving things and caring friends. As a friend said to me, ‘We are loving you through this.’ I try to keep focused on them, but the hatred and anger that keeps coming at me from them overwhelms me and I have to find a way to keep going, have to. My trust with people is so low, so I struggle even with friends. I have to find a way to cope with all the pain and take the next step and keep going somehow….so I am turning bitter because I have no other way to deal with all the pain and, anger. It seems to have won for right now. I don’t know how else to deal with all this black, vile grief.