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Dancing In Safety

This week has been like no other. Like my life has been totally turned upside down and inside out. I mean, who wouldn't feel like they were just tossed carelessly into a stormy sea when they realize that they were raped as a 4 year old?

I don't know how I would have survived the last several days without my friend who opened her house to me so that I have a safe place to stay for a while and has so kindly gone out of her way to take me shopping etc just so I have some sort of distraction from the heaviness of this mess. And my dear therapist friend who cares deeply for all those hurting parts of me that I don't know how to care for yet.

The fear of reaching out for support and someone to sit with me as well as the fear of being too much have kept me from reaching out more often. I did try to reach out to another friend yesterday afternoon but she didn't respond for a few hours and it didn't make it any easier for me because I was so afraid I would just be a bother to her because I know she has a lot going on. The tears were so close to the surface and I was just too scared to face them alone and I thought I might feel safe enough with her even though I felt like I was stepping out on a branch because I had not yet allowed her to get this close to a vulnerable, hurting part of me.

While I was waiting, hoping that my friend would respond, the curious part of me thought of something she wanted to know. From there it went down a rabbit hole I didn't want to go down and yet I felt incapable of stopping, porn and sex videos. Children have a natural curiosity and if not guided in a healthy way will usually try to figure things out on their own, which is what this curious part of me did. She is like a firefighter, seeing the 4 year old part of me who got raped hurting so bad, she wanted to find a way to make the pain stop; and in her impulsive and desperate way of trying to make the pain stop for her younger counterpart, she ended up going down a rabbit hole that didn't help at all.

When I finally got myself extricated, I texted my therapist friend who took the time to call and care for the hurting parts of me that I didn't know how. She explained to this firefighter part of me how that she appreciates how hard she tries to protect the 4 year old girl who is hurting so bad but in her impulsiveness it is doing more harm than good.

The firefighter part of me was so devastated. She had tried so hard. She really REALLY wanted to make the pain go away but instead it seemed like she was just making things worse which had not been her intention at all! Poor girl!

My therapist friend asked if she wants to join the other parts of us who want to try a better way to make the pain go away. She thought she would like to. It made her feel good to be invited to help instead of trying to figure it out on her own which seemed to so often end in more pain and disaster anyway. Then my therapist friend asked if we can bring God into the picture to help heal the pain but another part shyly said that she is scared of trusting Him to be a part of the process because of her experiences in the Mennonite and Pentecostal circles and how she sincerely tried so hard to do all the right things to please God till she was burnt out and now she doesn't have any energy to even try to let God be in the picture

because she wasn't sure He would actually show up and help her in her pain and need.

Her concerns were respected and the attention turned to the 4 year old girl who was hurting so bad and couldn't make sense of what had happened to her. Little girls who come face to face with pure evil don't know how to handle it. It is very confusing.

For someone who should be protective to have such a vile heart that they see nothing wrong with raping a 4 year old is nothing but darkness and pure evil.

That poor little girl was hurting so bad and was so confused that she didn't know what to do. She just wanted to feel safe. My therapist friend asked if she wanted to be held and she did. So she snuggled close while her friend put her arm around her and held her close while she cried. She asked her what should be done with the pain because it was too heavy for a little girl to carry. She thought maybe Jesus might want to take it away so her friend lifted it up off of her and gave it to Jesus. She couldn't see Jesus but her friend told her that Jesus just crushed that big ball of pain and the dust floated away and she finally felt like she could rest. She was so tired. Her friend asked her what she would like in return for the pain because when Jesus takes something away He would like to give something back. She thought a little bit and then said that a thick fuzzy baby blue and white marbled blanket would be nice to help her feel a little more safe. So the pretty blanket was wrapped around her with her friend's arm on the outside and it helped her feel even more safe.

Next the attention was turned to the firefighter part who was standing nearby wringing her hands and biting her nails in anxiety, almost beside herself with fear of her counterpart being hurt while observing these strange happenings. She knew Jesus was near to take the pain away and give a blanket in return even though she couldn't see him and she was scared because he was a man.

Her therapist friend asked her to step back and just watch but it made her feel even worse and she started crying. She couldn't bear to leave the side of her younger counterpart. She just wanted to feel safe too even though she was so scared. When her friend realized this she invited her to climb up on her lap on the other side and snuggle under the blanket too. It felt SO good and she could finally rest. She was exhausted from trying so hard and for so long to find ways to make the pain go away to no avail and FINALLY she felt safe and could rest.

Then the attention was turned to the shy part who finds it so hard to trust God and she was asked if she wanted to snuggle under the blanket too. Of course she did! Which side did she want to climb up on? She chose to snuggle up with the 4 year old on her side.

She was not used to being cared for and her fears respected and she had hid her face when Jesus came to take the pain away. She was so scared of him and it made her weep because she so badly did NOT want to be afraid of him. She was gently reassured that as she heals it will be easier to trust Him and to not be hard on herself because of how scared she is of him because Jesus understands how hard it is for her right now and he knows how horribly people had treated her in his name. And he was totally ok with where she was at.

Finally all 3 of them could rest. They were exhausted from all the events of the past that had come to a head the last several days and for the first time in their lives they felt safe and it felt SO GOOD!

Then they were asked what kind of clothes they would like to wear. The oldest part who was afraid of Jesus chose a lavender shirt with butterflies all over it. Then she chose white pants with sparkly gems on it because pants just felt safer than a skirt or a dress even though she loves pretty dresses. The firefighter part chose a pale yellow shirt with a brilliant sparkling rainbow on the front and mint green pants. And the 4 year old chose lavender pants with sparkly red hearts down the side seams and a light airy white shirt covered with rainbow colored lace. All their lives the lifeblood had been squeezed out of them by the suppressive religiosity and abuse they had had to endure. They didn't want dark colors. They just wanted light colored and pretty things. They were so delighted with their new clothes and felt so safe and free to be their innocent, childlike selves that they jumped off their friend's lap and danced around amidst the butterflies and wildflowers growing in the soft earth while their friend held their pretty blanket and watched them with joy in her heart. They were finally free to be themselves!

I guess this may sound like a fictional story and in a way it is since most of this was pure imagination. This is a lot of what IFS (Internal Family Systems) is. It is a means of accessing those hurting parts of my heart, body and nervous system to care for them, help them feel safe and to allow them to express themselves and the pain and experiences they went through and to give them a safe place to have a voice. I have gone to counseling for years. I have tried different things within that setting. I tried horse therapy (EAT, Equine-Assisted Therapy). (I seriously miss Flicka!! I bought a little toy horse in memory of her.)

EAT helped more than counseling but this(IFS) is the most helpful modality that I have found out of everything I tried. It may sound weird and I'm still trying to figure it out but I guess I know it's helping when I uncover memories from 30 years ago.

I slept much better last night because accessing those young parts of me helped release so many tears of grief and pain and so much tension from my physical body so that I feel almost like myself. Except I woke up with another nightmarish dream that I know are from unhealed parts. I do feel more like myself today but I am exhausted and the grief is still nearby.

But the healing journey continues....

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