Don’t Let Others Shame Your Healing Process

healing Feb 26, 2024
healing process

I read a quote today which inspired a rant as a therapist and human being. 

"You cannot suffer the past or the future because they do not exist. What is suffering is your memory and imagination.”

Almost everyday of work, I have had clients and students say things that put down their own healing process.

“I should be over it”

“I am still dealing with”

“It’s in the past why am I feeling the way I do” “

It’s been —— years that I have been working with this”

“I think positive and do affirmations and try the law of attraction etc. but I still feel the way I do.”

And then I get comments about what a person has said on social media should work on “curing” their trauma or mood or mindset and there must be something wrong with them because it’s not working.

Sorry, not sorry but this kind of stuff on social media drives me nuts. I’ve been a psychotherapist for a long time. Every single person, both students and clients, have suffered. Some of this quick fix stuff on social media gives me nausea and a headache. Do people who make this stuff up actually read science? Study psychology? Update themselves on how trauma impacts everything? Umm no.. but everyone is an expert on social media if you have a groovy quote, a certificate, and can fix things in 5 minutes.

Many people take social media “advice” as though it were fact or true news. I think Stephen Colbert called it “truthy.”  But it makes those of us who have studied our butts off in psychology and spirituality a little nuts. Well, maybe just me.

Why? I get exasperated when people offer this guru advice thinking it’s the gospel truth and putting it out there without thinking of the repercussions it may have. For instance: I have worked with people who have suffered from histories of abuse, neglect, cultural oppression, sexual assault and more. Try telling someone who has PTSD that it is just “their imagination.” This is shaming, devaluing, and invalidating. And simply not true.

Suffering, trauma, triggers, and wounding are complex. Quick fixes don’t work. Just change your mindset doesn’t work. Just like a physical wound, emotional and psychological wounds need attending to.

I have suffered in my own historical trauma, at seeing others suffering, and deep grief of loosing people I have loved deeply. I have seen how it has affected my whole body. There are parts of myself that I am still healing from the impact of life. But then I am human. My body and soul are impacted by my own and others suffering. It has driven what I do.

So many discoveries about trauma and suffering have come out about how it impacts our nervous system. our tissues, brain scans, hormones, and how our entire body shifts with trauma. Trauma is suffering. This is not imagination. While I am not encouraging someone to wallow in suffering, I do know that there is a transformative alchemy that happens within us when take steps towards loving healing.

People truly suffer. Don’t let anyone invalidate your suffering. True healing comes from awareness, acknowledgment, attending to with compassion, inner and outer listening, and most of all Love. Loving all the parts of ourself. Not rejecting, shaming, criticizing, or fixing it with some new or old age philosophy.

We learn to create a better society when we don’t invalidate our own or other’s suffering. By acknowledging and seeing ourself and others suffering, we develop compassion, social justice, responsibility, and laws that can contribute to not perpetuating suffering. Trying to do a quick fix or calling it just memory, imagination, or that suffering doesn’t exist is violent to the parts of ourself that carries the wound. It is an attempt at bypassing.

A psychological bypass is the "tendency to use spiritual ideas, quick fixes, and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks". (John Welwood, psychotherapist)

When we do a psychological bypass, what is not acknowledged goes into the unconscious. Once it is in the unconscious, it will act out in other ways until you attend to it. It will turn reactive towards you (like depression, anxiety, numbing, addiction, etc.) or reactive towards others or become a part of the stress patterns in your body.

Our bodies carry our stories. Our body carries our unresolved pain. Turn towards yourself with love and grace and bring your healing attention inward.

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