Many clients who are in therapy for childhood abuse get impatient to know what happened to them. However, everyone needs to be prepared to confront trauma, especially their own trauma. When readiness exists, if any trauma happened, you will remember it at a time when your external environment and inner environment are able to support you sufficiently. This way remembering what happened (that was destructive to you in the past), now can help you to heal.
The inner environment is your relationship with yourself. You need to be able to line up your resources to be PRO- you. So what are PRO-You resources? Here’s an example: your intelligence assists you in understanding that you were not at all responsible for the abuse happening. That would be PRO-you. An ANTI- you resource would be your brain coming up with ways to put yourself down.
The outer environment has to do with different things for different people, but usually it includes (1) having the right guide to help you through this difficult healing journey, (2) being in a supportive relationship or out of a bad one, (3) having the time and attention to devote to yourself: A single mom with two young kids and no health insurance who is putting herself through a master’s degree program is probably not at the best time in her life to start incest therapy, right?
Developing your inner environment often takes time, and people have said to me in frustration “Why doesn’t all this just come up and show itself to me on a g#&** video screen! Don’t you guys have drugs to make people remember?” In fact, the therapy that goes on before information comes to the surface is just as much ‘incest therapy’ as what happens after. Most likely that time is spent repairing your self respect and instilling healthy self love.
I believe therapists in out-patient mental health clinics should not use techniques to pry a memory out, or use the therapy hour to work at unearthing it. Forcing something to come to your awareness before you are truly ready can be overwhelming and destructive. Thank goodness most people have enough defences to prevent this from happening.
Get yourself a therapist who has been over this terrain with many women and men. Going this journey takes a special kind of courage and you deserve an experienced guide. The human heart, once broken, can heal itself again. Therapists are here to help people take back their lives and live in a different world that, often, they didn’t know was possible.
My best to you.