I disagree that time heals all wounds. Finding healing, unfortunately, is more complex than simply allowing our wounds to collect dust in the proverbial attic.
If you have a physical wound, it can possibly heal over time without intervention, but it could also get infected and fester. If it doesn’t get infected, your wound may heal, but could heal improperly, like a broken limb that is not attended, or a flesh wound that has more significant scarring due to neglect.
Your emotional wounds are often the same. Yet we often leave their healing to time, despite it’s inability to properly care for most wounds. You would never leave the healing of your physical wounds to chance and the passage of time. Be just as vigilant about your emotional wounds! Caring intentionally, quickly, and consistently for your wounds, is essential for the best outcomes.
What can you expect when you become committed to the healing process?
1. Expect to heal but don’t have any expectations for how long it will take.
Be patient with yourself. If you catch yourself feeling guilty, angry, or impatient with the process, surround yourself with supportive voices, with people who will not judge or feel uncomfortable with your pain.
Equally important? Cultivate an attitude of peace with yourself, particularly with the state of your body and brain in the present moment.
Two years post-spousal porn use, and I still find myself experiencing strong triggers periodically, despite intellectually being able to assess that I am safe, and that things are progressing well in our relationship.
Why? Because my body and brain both remember what I want to forget. Trauma leaves its mark on the body. And it takes more than time to heal it.
2. Don’t be surprised when triggers resurface or do not go away.
Just like death and taxes, triggers are a guarantee. The key is not to get rid of them, but to learn to respond to them in a way that is healing for you.
I have triggers almost daily. I can typically detach from them, and allow them to flow over my mind like water over a ledge.
But sometimes they come hard and fast and throw me off guard, especially if I am slacking in self care, or if I am in a triggering situation repetitively.
Freedom has come for me in accepting triggers, and releasing them, instead of trying to control them.
3. Read all you can about different healing modalities, apply what is a good fit for you, and embrace the process.
Healing is both a science and an art form.
Learn all that you can about healing based upon your particular wounds, but remember life is a give and take.
You are unique and your process is going to be different from anyone else’s.
However, be open. What might not seem like a fit, can be.
I would have never considered mindfulness based meditation as a primary modality for healing for me before I enrolled in The Mindful Habit Coaching Program.
Where I was born and raised in Appalachia, meditation isn’t popular. It’s too “New Agey” or fluffy at best, and “suspicious” or “anti-Christian” at worst. Basically, it is just unfamiliar, and feels odd to a population of people who have spent their lives muscling their way through poverty and hardship.
Introspection didn’t even seem like an option for my grandparents, who were too busy trying to eat. I am convinced it would have been helpful, but it probably wasn’t as necessary for their simple lives. They were safely untouched by the addictive power of the endlessly available pixels. Simultaneously hemmed in by nosy and concerned neighbors who provided built in accountability (the curse and the social glue of their day), they had plenty of moments to reflect on life while recovering from their labors on porch swings and around the dinner table.
But modern day Appalachia and America is not the same as it was 150-80 years ago. That should go without saying. Yet often we cling to things that are no longer applicable just because that is “the way it has always been done”.
I am so glad I allowed myself to explore the option of mindfulness, and in so doing expedited my healing.
It opened up my horizons and strangely enough helped me tap into the healing wisdom of my grandparents, Appalachian farmers, who knew intimately- the earth is a source of healing and straying too far from our connection to it creates all sorts of barriers to healing. In learning to be more mindful of myself, I have also developed a renewed sense of mindfulness of nature and my connection to it as a WV farm kid.
For you? It may be something else entirely. Try different things. And don’t settle until you find what works.
4. Don’t forget to attend to other relationship issues.
Even if your partner is doing well, if he or she is healing and moving away from addiction, don’t allow yourself to fall into a pattern of avoidance in other areas.
Sometimes I find myself avoiding difficult conversations or addressing issues in other areas of my marital relationship, and I find that I am doing this out of guilt.
Deep down I still have to combat some deep rooted beliefs about what makes a healthy relationship and what it means to be a “good” wife.
The solution? Cultivate an attitude of love and teamwork instead of coming from a place of conflict being good or bad. It just is. It is a reality of life that you can face for the betterment of the relationship, not avoiding it to keep the peace.
Do you have an unhelpful view if difficulty in relationships? Do you fear being negative and nitpicking, to the point of remaining silent?
Do you catch yourself waivering between being too “nice” and “loving” to approach issues, and being an angry aggressor because you perceive confrontation or boundaries as “unloving”? Do you find it hard to be both “loving” and set boundaries or address relationship snags simultaneously?
I spent years on this yo-yo, and only cultivating constant awareness helps me now avoid the cycle of passive guilt, and aggressive nagging and controlling, that I typically applied to all conflicts in the past.
Learning to change my views of love, relational conflict, and what it meant to be truly nice were important for this so called “good girl” to having a relationships that were healthier across the board.
How has your healing progressed and why?