Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to Stage One of Healing: More on Safety and Stabilization

It's been quite a month, and life is settling back into something like normal. Redeeming Dinah, the blog exploring the Duggar Phenomenon as a function of the family agenda promoted among many Independent Fundamental Baptists is up and running. It's been a month since the panel where survivors of the system talked about their experiences. Afterwards, I returned home from Dallas to be met with a couple of deaths of loved ones, some injuries, and the sadness that goes along with them. The dog days of summer do not make matters any easier.

It's now been several months (!) since a post about the stages of trauma, and I have plenty more material upon which to draw to illustrate the journey of healing. I aspired to take the high road through a miserable process of injustice and gossip from people whom I respect and to show them love. I think I've learned lessons about anger and love, about people who are unsafe, about how difficult it can be to figure out all of that, and more. I'm reminded that the people who mean the most to me whose opinions really matter are all that really matter, even though gossip can do much damage. 

Yet, I am caught up in the process of wondering if I could have done anything differently, even though I know that most of what transpired and most of what troubles me lies outside of my sphere of control. And that's disturbing, and I think that it should be.  I still have to make peace with that and take some of my own advice about making peace with those relationships we all have that have no happy endings or satisfying resolutions.

The Journey of Letting Go any journey, it's much easier to make a plan about where to go and how to get there and much more difficult to actually go through the process.

When I relocated a couple of years ago, we left town a day later than I wanted. I set aside the map until I was well out of the way of Michigan, but in the dark, I felt like I needed the GPS because things looked so different to me. It tried to route me through one of the most dangerous cities in the country. The fog was so thick and I was so tired, we pulled over and slept in the car for a few hours in a parking lot of a Pizza Hut. I delayed moving in for a full day, planned to arrive at noon, and I think that we barely made it by 5PM. I was tired, and the process was difficult. Fatigue accounted for a lot of the stress that I felt. My back hurt more than I anticipated. And it's always interesting traveling cross country with a cat. I took a different route. I had to stop and buy duct tape to manage an small crisis caused by stuff shifting around which made for a difficult journey for the cat.

In a post from April when I last wrote on this theme of the stages of recovery, I'd aspired to take the high road amidst an uncomfortable set of circumstances. In some ways, I did, and in other ways, I didn't. I didn't hold together at the end, but I was blindsided by something that I didn't see coming. And then, I was blindsided again when I reacted in anger and sadness. I don't think that I let go of love in that process, but it wasn't pleasant, either. And I was tired, and my back hurt so much. I became weary, weak, but I am glad that I reached out for support from the people who matter the most to me.

So I again find myself back in Stage One of Recovery from PTSD. I have lots of ideas about how I could have improved. In hindsight, I don't know that I would have done much differently, save to have taken better care of myself. I faced my critics. I aggravated a few more critics – some for the better and some for the worst. And I'm having trouble letting go of what I used to call my “lust for justice.” I want logical answers to illogical behavior from predictably illogical people and from some who are logical but so detached at times, it makes for craziness. Justice, I will never see from them. A satisfactory resolution of conflict will never greet me. And I have to make peace with that which puts me squarely back in a focus on safety and stabilization.

Perhaps the reader here can learn from what I experienced and can see something in the circumstances in retrospect – and filtered through my perspective on all that transpired as I tried to walk the high road. I just wish that I'd managed to walk it with more gravitas.

For further reading until the next post: