The Unbearable Wound

I follow the MeToo movement closely because it addresses a reality that is central to my existence.  Sexual abuse trauma dominates my emotional life. I was never sexually abused, however, my mother was.  Her sexual abuse impacted her ability to be a mother to me. I recently became aware of the depth of this reality when I read a paragraph about what it is like to be in relationship with a narcissist.

A relationship with a narcissist is a desperate relationship where you
are always feeling vulnerable, worthless, hated, constantly explaining
yourself, silenced, punished, and traumatized. What is it that you are
actually doing wrong? Nothing!

This describes what it was like to be my mother’s daughter.  Extreme abuse can engender a particular type of narcissism–one that is based on an absence of self.  My mother, a victim of sexual abuse, needed to throw her own negative feelings about herself onto me in order to live with the unbearable wound of her experience. I experienced my relationship with my mother as always feeling a need to defend myself and the surety that there was no love or margin for error available to me.

The dominance of this felt sense in my life became clear to me one day while I was preparing for a medical test.   I was extremely nervous about the procedure and, try as I might, I could not find grounded presence. Thoughts of random moments in the past in which I felt traumatized by interactions with others kept surfacing.  There were so many from such a wide variety of different points in my life that I became completely overwhelmed. I paused with this sense of overwhelm. A new realization eventually emerged—it wasn’t about the fast shifting narratives floating through me.

In the space that the pause created, I asked my body what it needed. I began to experience the feeling of being unloved and the urge to defend myself from outside attack as my constant state of being.  While this was a very unpleasant realization, I held space for this new feeling. I was able to find compassion and love for this wounded place. Then I noticed that I had stopped finding arguments and justifications for why I should not be attacked.  A great sense of relief opened as I held space for this wounded place in this way. This experience was the beginning of a new way to be with the something in me that felt unloved and attacked.

The experience of being my mother’s daughter and my internalized version of her was frequently supported by other difficult life experiences living as a woman in a patriarchal society.  This new relationship with the something in me that feels unloved and under attack is now in my consciousness. I know that when I am feeling unloved and under attack, being with this something with compassion and love helps the wounded place find a way to heal. Creating arguments and justifications only deepen the trauma.  The more I acknowledge and honor these root feelings, the more they heal and the obsessive thoughts of past narratives fall away.

At the same time, the collective consciousness of women and men around the world has been  awakening to how sexual abuse lives in the bodies of its victims. By allowing sexual abuse to be so tacitly and widely acceptable in our society, we have created a class of people who struggle to love and accept themselves.  In turn, people like my mother sometimes never become aware of the how their own trauma has transformed them into the perpetrators of trauma in others.

The Me Too movement so far has addressed what happens to abused persons and demanded consequences for the abusers.  There is also a need to educate our society about the depth and breath of the impact of abuse and to provide ways to heal for all those impacted by abuse.  Wholebody Focusing stands in the forefront of practices that can support healing from trauma.

I look forward to continuing my own journey with the wounds of sexual abuse and the journey that is awakening around the world.

Published by

Diana Scalera

I am a Certified Wholebody Focusing Professional and Reiki Master Level III. I am interested in the cross-section between Wholebody focusing and energy work. I offer Reiki treatments in person and at a distance. I am also available to train clients in WBF. Please contact me at wbf285@gmail.com

6 thoughts on “The Unbearable Wound”

  1. I can relate to having had a narcissistic parent- thank you for sharing how this was for you, and how wounding is perpetuated generationally- I see this too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an honest and moving report on how bad and longliving consequences these kind of abuses can cause to totally innocent people. Thanks for giving your voice to MeToo movement. I wish this can give hope to somebody else struggling with similar issues – and hopefully will open at least some molester’s eyes to stop, apologize and seek help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Maria,

      One of the most effective ways to reduce sexual abuse is to help the those who have abused others to heal. Victims of abuse often become abusers in one way or another possibly not to the degree of abuse that they suffered but something shows up in them especially when they are in a triggered state. This was my mother’s story and she never was able to consider her treatment of me as abuse. The sad part is that being a good mother was the most important thing in her life and she worked very hard at what she could do in spite of her triggers.

      As someone with a narcissistic mother, I remember teaching an extremely unruly class one semester and one day “What do you think you are doing young lady?” came out of my mouth toward one of the girls. I immediately recognized these were my mother’s anger words. I was in shock and the students just laughed. This moment helped me realize how triggered I was. I needed to get help because I didn’t like being this kind of teacher and it wasn’t helping my students.

      Fortunately I was surrounded by a number of experienced teachers who helped me learn to see students as initiators of their own learning. This way student’s strengths rather than what they were not ready to learn could drive the lesson. I eventually realized that my triggered state was causing the unruliness. The joy of this experience is that when I helped students appreciate what they already knew, they began to enjoy learning and eventually came to me asking to learn about the new things they needed to learn. Teaching this class became a seminal experience for me. See http://www.geocities.ws/dmscalera/teacherbeliefs.pdf

      We need to have compassion and provide support for the abused and the abusers to be able to stop the passing on of abusive behavior to future generations. Wholebody focusing gives us the tools to make that happen.

      Liked by 1 person

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