All they’ve been waiting to say
This morning Lynne, who wrote the letter which I answered in yesterday’s post, As a Christian, must she forgive the brother who raped her?, left a comment to that post which I wanted to share here.
Part of what Lynne wrote in her comment was:
Hello, this is the writer of the letter. I have not been able to read all of the comments, as they were a lot.
Last night I had a dream that I think came from many of the comments on the blog. I woke up and wrote a note to my counselor which I would like to share with you:
I had a dream last night that I went off on my mother. I know I’ve had these dreams before, but this one was more vivid. I have absolutely no idea what I said. I didn’t actually have words in the dream; I was just screaming a bunch of syllables at her. My entire family was sitting there at my grandmother’s dining room table.
I woke up feeling like I had been in a complete rage. My entire body was stiff. The one thing I think odd is that I felt like in the dream I was actually angry for somebody else. In the dream I think it was me as a little kid yelling at my mother. I felt like a little kid screaming at her, like I had a complete temper tantrum, and I think I would’ve thrown my toys at her if I had any around me.
Oh my God the dream was so raw and so vivid and talking about it just makes me more angry.
I think this started because I sent a letter to John Shore, where I told my story, and he asked for permission to post my letter on his blog. My letter and his response to it resulted in so many comments. Many of the comments were compassionate; a lot of them expressed anger against my family. Some of the comments talk about prosecution against my brother, and prosecution against my family.
I had to stop reading it was too much. It was good to read but I just had to stop .
It’s one thing to try to get angry for yourself. It’s another thing to have a couple of people in your life getting angry for you. But when that many strangers get angry on your behalf, it makes the reality a little easier to connect with.
I have been way too kind to my family. I’m doubtful that I’m going to go off on them. I don’t know that this will change how I interact with them currently.
What I do know right now is that I want very much to grab hold of that little girl, and hold her tight. They don’t matter here, but she does.
And she’s never been as angry as she was in my dream last night.
This is exactly how healing happens.
As threatened children we very quickly learn all kinds of coping mechanisms. One day follows the next; we don’t die; we survive—and sooner or later we find ourselves out in the world, to whatever degree functioning.
We become “adults.”
But the innocent, threatened child we were is still back there, in the safe place where we had to keep them in order to make sure they remained protected.
We went out into the world and “made it.”
But they’re still back there, patiently sitting on the edge of their bed, awaiting our return.
My little guy’s holding his baseball mitt. He’s wearing his Giant’s cap. He can’t wait for me to come play ball with him.
The threatened children we protected and kept safe by first surviving and then “making it” out in the world love us. About that we must never, ever be mistaken.
How could they not? We saved them. We protected them.
We’re their heroes!
And every step of our way they’ve been there, watching us, cheering us, awed by all the great, big, grown-up things we’ve learned to do.
We have jobs! We can drive cars!
We’re so awesome!
But when we’ve spent enough time doing grown-up things—when we know we really have survived, that things are now for us safe in a way that we can trust and depend upon—we can, finally, turn back around.
We can place ourselves in that long-ago hallway. We can walk back toward the bedroom in which we know our inner child sits waiting for us.
We can open the door of that bedroom. We can go inside.
We can sit on our old bed beside that child.
And we can hug and hug and hug them, until both of our arms are near to bursting.
And then, with one arm around the shoulders of that child, we can finally begin listening to all they’ve been waiting to say.