The Power of Creativity to Heal
Trigger warning: Contains discussion of child sexual abuse.
Recently, I relaunched my newsletter, The Creativity to Heal. This is a repost. If you like it, please consider subscribing. It’s free!
I chose the name of this newsletter when I first began healing in earnest. The pandemic had just ended, and I’d been working through the workbook The Courage to Heal: A Guide for women survivors of child sexual abuse. I stopped about a third of the way in when I read one woman’s account about her mother. It cut me to the bone. I hadn’t been prepared to see myself represented so closely. I’d always known what had happened to me, but I’d held it away from my sight. I could hear it scurry around in the shadows, but if I didn’t look at it, I didn’t have to admit it occurred.
It’s interesting how we keep our abusers’ secrets. It’s like we have as much at stake as they do. To tell is to lose everything, but when I think of all I’ve lost in telling my story, I recognize that those relationships were predicated on a shared truth built by my mother. One everyone agreed upon. When you tell, you lob a grenade into that shared family narrative, and for the most part, the one that gets blown apart is you. To be clear, her abuse shattered me. Telling was critical medicine. I needed to do it to survive, but it came at a significant cost.
Even a family who hurts you or stands by while you get hurt and protects your abuser is still a family. Being outside that threatens centuries of biological programming. I didn’t cut off contact with them on a whim. Every stage hurt. Every act, took something, some deep part or truth from my very makeup.
Today, I finally went to my Facebook page to delete all of my family members loyal to her, which is to say, all of them, which sounds more war-like than it is. In other words, my family is very good at going through life in a state of vague awareness. No one looks inward. It’s never been a part of the family culture.
My father passed away in 2013. As recently as last year, one first cousin wished him a happy birthday on his Facebook page. Another first cousin “liked” it. It’s not that they weren’t aware that he passed. It’s…