It’s okay if you thought you were over it but it hits you all over again.
It’s okay to fall apart even after you thought you had it under control.
You are not weak. Healing is messy. And there is no timeline for healing.
When it comes to healing, there is no rulebook. There is no way that works for everyone. We are all individuals and we all heal differently. Everyone's trauma is different. Everyone's response to trauma is different.
Healing isn't linear. Some days will be harder than others. It may feel like things are going really well and then you might get triggered again or find yourself struggling more than before. It's important to be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that setbacks are a natural part of recovery. Healing from trauma does not mean that you will never think of it or be upset about it again. Healing from trauma means that you won’t be overwhelmed by it all the time, and that it doesn't stop you from living the life you want to live. Some find that healing is a lifelong process that does get easier.
There's no time limit on healing. Some people find that within a year, they've managed to reclaim their lives and move on. Others may struggle with severe aftereffects of trauma for decades. There's no "right" amount of time healing should take. Just because it's been a long time doesn't mean you need to "just get over it already". Just because healing happened quickly doesn't mean your trauma wasn't "that bad" or that it wasn't real and traumatic.
A lot of people believe that in order to heal, forgiveness is necessary. It's not true for everyone, and can sometimes be very harmful well-meaning advice. For some people, forgiveness is the only way to let go of bitterness and move on with their lives. For others, rushing to forgive stops them from truly processing the hurt, betrayal, and anger they feel. Some people find that forgiveness invalidates their own suffering, and the only way they can move forward is to withhold that forgiveness. There's no right path for healing other than the one that helps you get to where you want to be and live the life you want. If you choose to forgive or choose not to forgive, you are valid. Here is a blog post that goes into more detail.
Toxic positivity can be harmful to healing. This is when others try and force you to see that no matter how tragic or painful a situation is, people should focus on the positives and find some way to interpret it as a good thing. Some people find it very empowering to find silver linings in their suffering. Many find phrases like "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" helps them contextualize their trauma and find meaning in it. For other people, acknowledging the pain and hurt of trauma is what helps them process and get through it. It's important to find what works for you. If other people try to force platitudes and silver linings on you, you're allowed to set boundaries and tell them it's not helpful or okay.
Living through trauma may teach you resilience. It may help sustain you and others in times of crisis down the road. It may prompt humility. It may make for deeper seasons of joy. It may even make you stronger. It also may not. In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you. - Catherine Woodiwiss, "A New Normal: Ten Things I've Learned About Trauma"
It's important to set boundaries when it comes to healing, whether you need to cut an abuser out of your life, get a restraining order, or tell well-meaning friends to stop saying things that are stopping you from healing. Especially with long-term abuse, it can be really hard to believe you are worthy of setting boundaries or deciding what you need in order to heal. Please check out our blog post on creating and enforcing boundaries, linked here. You are worthy. Your needs are important. You are the expert on your own healing journey.
More Pages about Healing
Blog Posts about Healing