Saturday, August 08, 2009

Processing and Self-Protection

Some interesting comments to my last post. I'm going to try to answer a couple of them here because I think they are important.

First, Paul mentioned self-protection. Certainly, in my last post I wasn't advocating abandoning commonsense. We need to think about choices we're making and whether or not they are wise ones. At the same time, in my own experience, when I've tried to be self-protective--out of fear of what might happen with regard to other people--I've often guessed very wrong so that what were meant to be self-protective words and/or actions ended up hurting me and/or the other person.

I've come to believe very strongly that I need to use commonsense AND risk trusting that things will be okay, that I will be able to figure out how to handle anything that comes up as long as I have used commonsense all along.

Seriously, some of the things I've done—or not done—out of a desire to protect myself have been some of the worst mistakes I've ever made. For me, to live as much as possible without acting from fear is turning out to be the safest thing I can do.

Second, Vicki asked about headaches and processing experiences. For me, here are the steps I used:

1) Imagine a beautiful safe place.
2) Imagine my child self with me in that place.
3) Ask that child self to tell me what happened and LISTEN TO THE EMOTIONS.
4) Reassure that child self that NOW she/I am safe.
5) Help the child self see it wasn't her fault—that she did the best she could.
6) Thank the child self for her part in helping me survive.
7) Imagine loving the child and then helping her learn how to play.
8) If necessary, imagine my adult self confronting the abuser(s) with them unable to speak unless I let them.
9) Imagine saying/doing anything necessary to give me closure.
10) Imagine going back and playing with that child self until I am calm and at peace and smiling.

Not sure when I'll next get a chance to post. I'll be traveling this week and next. Giving an all day writing workshop and visiting my son in his group home. That will be a challenge because my son tells me he is “causing problems, big problems.” I don't know what, if anything, I can do to help him adjust. I worry what happens next if he can't. And this will be the first time I see the house I lived in during my marriage since my ex-husband's girlfriend has moved in.'s going to be an interesting trip. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),



VICKI IN AZ said...

You are definitely in my prayers and I am thinking of you!!
I know how difficult it is to wonder what will happen next...
These children of ours they sure do teach us that we can't control, don't they?
I will also be having you in my heart as you visit your old home.

I just have to thank you soooo much for the advice here about my question. Wow, I really needed that. Just two nights after the headache where we first started communicating I started to get another one. I was laying there, thinking, no.. what is it I need to do? Listening, I started to cry just tears flowing down both cheeks and I knew I needed to write. Of course I didn't do most of the steps here because I didn't know them. But wow, just listening and doing what my voice said that night helped so much. I didn't even get sick from it!!!
I just thank you so much, I will print out this list and believe me... I will do it. I am always amazed at how God will lead me to the angel who has the answers if I am willing to look and listen.

Have a good trip.


therapydoc said...

Great stuff, April. Thanks.

jumpinginpuddles said...


safe inside places are at least the one thing no one can take away

Kahless said...

I will indeed keep you in my thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks.


April_optimist said...

Vicki, So glad you found it helpful. Sounds as if intuitively you know some things that will work for you--and I truly believe we all do if we will just trust ourselves.

TherapyDoc, Thank you.

Jumping in Puddles, That safe place inside is what kept me alive as a kid and helped me survive as who I am.

Kahless, Thank you.