Posted by: Marie | November 16, 2009

(185) My hope is strong

Post #185
[Book study – Thursday, July 16, 2009]

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
(Third Edition, 1994)
by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis

Part Two: The Healing Process
A Stage of Healing: Remembering

[Table of Contents]


Green text: Quotes/Summaries from the book
Gray text: My words

This transformative work (the entire series of blog posts relating to this book) constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright law.


Writing Exercise: What Happened To You

Write about your experience of being sexually abused as a child.
(I’m choosing to instead write about historical events for which, still today, I carry shame and/or guilt. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual abuse.)

(My answer is continued from the previous post . . . )

Over the past few days, I have been contemplating how to tackle this monumental task of documenting “what happened”.

I am sensing a shift in my mind, in my soul, in my spirit . . . even in my body to some extent.

Every part of me is preparing for a catharsis, a purging, a cleansing.

Photo by Martin Chen

Photo by Martin Chen

I have been moving into a space of reverence – starting to remember who I was, who I am.

It is quiet inside of me – maybe even peaceful.

I have noticed my general demeanor shifting towards solemn ceremony.

I am experiencing a growing detachment towards “what happened”. I am ready to gently separate history from biological tissue. I am ready to respectfully separate antiquity from psychological energy. I am ready to open the curtains of my soul and welcome bold emotional expression and brazen physical movement into my life.

My hope is strong.

As a child, I was taught that my pain was not important – that I had no right to consider the possibility my experience might have an element of pain. I was taught to arrange my life around catering to the needs and pain of others, even to the detriment of my own well-being. I was taught to deny my own pain.

Now, as an adult, I recognize that I have never acknowledged the full extent of the pain I experienced. Even now, it is difficult to give myself permission to recognize it – to remember it – to name it. I feel shame, through the memory of my father’s voice, for laying claim to my right to do so. Maybe, through the process of remembering, I can set aside that shame as well.

I am beginning to recognize my need to have someone bear witness to my process of remembering. I don’t need someone to validate my memories (although that would be nice), but I do need someone to validate my remembering. I need another human being to say to me, “I hear what you are saying and I hear your pain – I hear you. What you are saying is important and you have the right to say it.”

By documenting history here, there is a chance my process of remembering will be validated by another human being.

By documenting history here, the extent of my healing will never be forgotten or minimized.

By documenting history here, I can make it something separate and apart from me – with it’s own path, it’s own journey, it’s own purpose. The separation and the distance will grant me the freedom to honor it, bless it and thank it – every single part of it.

[Continued in an upcoming post . . . ]

Quotes 096


  1. Delighted to hear about the shift to internal quietness. These times for me are very precious.

    It really is awful how we deny children their experience. Hang in there as you encounter and name your pain. At least on this blog you have people who can hear you.

    • Hi, Evan –

      It is an empowering shift . . . like I have finally stopped holding my breath and have really started breathing.

      Thank you for your continued support and encouragement!

      – Marie

  2. Wow–I really related to this post so much. My childhood, I believe, was very similar to yours. This post just moved my soul.


    • Hi, Melinda –

      Thank you for the positive feedback!

      I think there are many of us whose stories are similar . . . it’s cool to get a chance to support each other!

      – Marie

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