by guest blogger, Shelly Beach
For most of my childhood and teen years, no matter how loudly I spoke to my dad or how many words I poured out, I felt unheard.
My opinions didn’t matter. Sharing my ideas with my father felt like trying to set up patio furniture in a hurricane. I could barely get a thought out of my mouth when Dad hurled it into oblivion.
My father was R.I.G.H.T.
All of the time.
No questions asked.
This past year I went for trauma therapy. As my team of therapists evaluated my history, I was certain they’d focus on my two sexual assaults, the deaths I’d witnessed, and other significant traumatic incidents in my life.
Instead, they focused on my relationship with my father. The truth was that even though my dad had provided well for me, protected me, cared for me, and loved me to the best of his ability, his inabilities to communicate safety, love, compassion, and acceptance had a profound impact on my childhood.
I grew up feeling abandoned, isolated, alone. I longed for my father’s approval and became a slave to performance, always with one eye on what other people thought of me. Unfortunately, I became a wife and mom who was driven to be R.I.G.H.T. All of the time. No questions asked. Until I admitted that I, too, needed help.
Trauma treatment, I discovered, isn’t only about sexual abuse or the tragedies of war. It’s about the deep hurts that stop us in our tracks and keep us stuck in the past.
Getting unstuck takes courage and work. It’s worth every bit of investment we make. And healing IS possible, no matter what form our trauma takes.
I now understand it’s a terrible thing to be right–only (in the words of my pastor). It is far better to admit that we are broken and on a journey to wholeness. My journey began when I admitted my need of treatment for trauma that was rooted in childhood–even though I grew up in a home with two well-intentioned parents who loved me very well in many ways.
Admitting we have been hurt and that we have hurt others is not an admission of failure. It is an admission of our humanity and shared need for grace. And it is often the first step in our healing.
Photo Credit: BlueTexas.blogspot.com