My desperate search to resolve the silent chaos of trauma led to little healing and mostly re-injury by telling my story to people who were clueless about emotional pain. Eventually, I found help in unexpected places. May these 30 places of healing help you and yours.
1. Changing perspective, switching from victim to powerful, is a penetrating theme to finding healing from trauma. Make it your goal. Abuse is shocking and can stall us for a lifetime. To resurrect and go forward with life can be complicated, but here are fresh ways to change perspective.
2. Separate from the abusers. Don’t walk away; run. You’ve seen first-hand what they don’t know about themselves. Separation ends the abuse. If others around you encourage their deception, get away from them, too. The longer you are away, the more apparent their abusive tactics become. Only go near them if they come clean and apologize.
3. Consider calling the police. That call escalates the offense and gets a firm report on the books, especially if the abuser is wishy-washy about their wrongdoing. It also gives you solid protection as the abuser knows you’ll call if it happens again. You can choose to press charges or not. Call to nip it in the bud and protect yourself in the future.
4. Do not work to get reconciliation unless you are willing to be slammed on the mat for it. Abusers are blind, and harming others is a way of life. They rarely thank you for pointing out the very thing they work so hard to hide, even from themselves, and even though admitting their wrongdoing could be life-changing for them. Some people won’t think twice about making you the bad guy for their rottenness.
For an abuser, ignoring or fighting their victim is easier than facing their lousy behavior. People often fight their victims (sometimes in court) … and rarely apologize, as we’ve seen from many court battles. Seeking reconciliation (or justice) can take traumatizing to a whole new level. Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Matthew 1:23). Search your abuser for clues to see if they could be humble enough to admit their bad-doing. Otherwise, stay away.
5. Therapists are wonderful, of course. Programs exist to help with costs, and God directs through financial provision. Support groups are yet another gift. Search online or call a hotline. Be sure yours does specialized therapies for trauma. I know QNRT and EMDR are non-invasive and work without the side effects of drugs.
6. Practice The Healing Code, by doctors Alexander Loyd and Ben Johnson, which worked for me. If images haunt you and therapists fall short, with a bit of dedication, this practice can remove them. It saved me from my nightmare-haunted sleeplessness and lessened my triggers.
7. Try 2 offbeat therapies that helped me. I use Integrative Manual Therapy in the book Body Wisdom by Sharon Giammatteo to calm my organs and maintain health. Also, Micro Point Stimulation has served my traumatized brain well with its reset protocol for trauma. Search out therapists who use them or learn the systems yourself for a lifetime of health.
8. Create something. Creativity gave me dramatic new perspective like nothing else. Healing was fun and provided a unique view from behind a camera lens. It switched out the trauma memory in my brain and magnified the good life that lived on the fringes of the bad. Dancing, music, making things, painting, decorating, organizing, and blogging also called me from the mire, too. It works deep, fast, and effective. Creating life heals us. Try your own art-form of choice to birth a beautiful story from hideous ashes.
9. Tell compassionate people your story. Work to get the pain out of your body by telling those who listen well. It helps to verbally interact about it and grows us through it. However …
10. Caution: Retelling can re-injure if the hearer is not listening intently or responding kindly. Why tell if not heard? Or you’re injured again by a rotten response? Get a good read before exposing your pain and vulnerability.
11. Writing can order confused thoughts and emotions, easing inner chaos. Write like a news reporter or with the intent to say goodbye, and get it behind you. Bringing these other places of healing into the battle multiplies progress.
12. Create a circle of wonderful input (friends, acquaintances, pets, books, blogs, social media, and TV) that builds kindness into your world. Soak it up. People have delightful humor, creativity, and compassion that can speak life, understanding, and happiness into you. Dive in and swim a while.
13. Get outdoors. Enjoy beauty, sunshine, and movement (even swinging). The earth has healing effects (the fresh wind on our face) and grounds us. (I Corinthians 10:26) Walking outdoors is a welcome time to tell God what’s on your heart. It’s a holy sanctuary of tender honesty and discussion with the One who cares the most. He’ll give insight and act on your behalf.
14. Try Rescue Remedy (a Bach Flower Remedy) is a flower mixture used for any crisis, physical or emotional. It helped me through horrific days, taking the edge off so I could pretend to function like normal. Households benefit from this first aid.
15. Apologize to yourself. Abuse can bring shame and sadness that people hated you enough to thoroughly degrade you and poison themselves. The abuse was wrong, and we may be afraid to admit it. I could have stood up for myself or called 911. I’m sorry I didn’t. I am God’s child and worth protecting and defending. I’m sorry.
16. Give compassion to ourselves. It mends us. It’s ok, friend. This is anguish, it’s abominable, and it makes me want to vomit for what I have endured. I treasure me and am so sorry this happened to me at the hands of such blind, self-absorbed people. Hug yourself and rock a while. Treat yourself like you would a treasured friend.
17. Understand the cycle of abuse. Abused people seem to abuse people. What did they suffer in life to justify what they did to me? They have no excuse for abusing others and could have dealt with their trauma and fought the enslavement, but they didn’t. Perhaps the pile of abuse began as young children, causing lifelong blindness. If God is not sought, chances are slim that they can overcome their continuous cycle. They likely wounded you from their wound. It’s all they know.
18. Forgiving abusers is a big step and can go on for a lifetime. Forgiveness is deciding not to hold their offense against them and retaliate instead (to anyone). Forgiving sets you free. God gives treasures in His Word to help us forgive. Search for and cling to them in your process.
C.S. Lewis says that trying to forgive is forgiveness. Just practice when the injustice angers you, I forgive you, I forgive you…, times a hundred. Your life will follow your words, little by little. Forgiving comes in bits, but adding it together equals forgiving and inclines your heart over time.
19. Apologize to others. Perhaps someone has been injured from your responses to them during your abuse, and you had no idea. If you were rude, it’s worth a discussion and a simple apology for your part. You can easily own your-bad since you are now more sensitive to injury. A clear conscience is a breath of fresh air and brings life.
20. Talk to God. Dig deep into your pain each day and tell Him all you find there. The dark stuff exposed to the light is what He’s after. Anger never threatens Him. He is the only kind lover of our souls who delivers us from evil. He sees us, hears us, and acts on our behalf. He invites our tender intimacy. Ask Him to come in and walk with you through the rocky steps of recovering. Before you realize it, He will put your hinds feet on high places. (Psalm 18:33)
21. Let God renew your self-talk. Take time to be still and listen to Him. He speaks in many ways (through people, Jesus, nature, experiences, pain) but primarily through His Bible. If you want first-hand truth and love, read it, remember it. Carry verses in your pocket to glance at throughout your day. It will morph your broken pieces into wholeness. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
22. Choosing to suffer on another’s behalf is hidden inside forgiveness. This situation is what it is. If I suffer to bring Christ’s love and redemption into the world, so be it. It reverses the wickedness and turns it into good. Jesus suffered and died for all. When we suffer, we become a type of Jesus for the history books of heaven.
Suffering is universal. It builds compassion and understanding. In Jesus, God is very familiar with it. We become like Jesus — Take up your cross daily, and follow me (Matthew 16:24). Those we suffer for eventually come face to face with God. God sees the situation and implants justice in them, whether for redemption or judgement—they decide. They can learn about His loving discipline, and their sinfulness or not. As we suffer, we experience firsthand some of the pain Jesus endured for our wrongs by bearing another’s wrongs (sins). It completes Christ’s work on the cross in us, pays that work forward to others, and brings the cross of history into present-time, making it tangible. But it still hurts.
23. Name those you’ve suffered for (list them). There is a nuance of suffering that hints we do so for others over a lifetime. The list of those we suffer for can include parents, siblings, spouses, children, best friends, narcissistic leaders, power-hungry coworkers, soggy Christians, and more. Try listing yours for a good overview.
24. Name who’s suffered at your hand. Besides Jesus suffering to pay for our sin, others have suffered for our thoughtlessness and perhaps abuse. Who has cried over our piece of work in their life? When have you offended, retaliated, tricked, lied, put down, harmed, controlled, judged, and not kept your word to others? God can name them with you. When you know you’ve caused pain, apologize to Him and maybe them (AA).
25. Pray for those who abuse you. Perhaps pray this prayer. Dear God, please forgive them because they apparently have no idea what they are doing. Show them, let them admit it, and heal them by Christ’s tender heart of love that has healed mine. Keep them from harming others. Let me never do what they have done. May they know your heart firsthand, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
26.Try telling God thank you for your suffering. Dig up the reasons but here’s one. There’s a golden thread of good hidden in the fabric of trauma that drastically changes our perspective and deflates the abuser’s power: thankfulness. It puts trauma in the rearview mirror and God back in the driver’s seat, trusted and dependable with our lives. It is extreme faith in the midst of horrific suffering which gives tender affection to God. See it as a lesson that keeps you from the same bad actions. Our story is unique in history and is worth gratefulness. Daily thanksgiving has been my greatest ally in suffering.
27. Ask God for Joy. I’ve found the profound sadness we carry from trauma can only be conquered by God. Nothing I did brought joy back, except God’s gift of it. It makes the day new, and the light shines again. Pray for His deep abiding joy for others, too.
28. Help abused people heal. One purpose for trauma and suffering is to grow compassion in our souls. Serving others in trauma heals them and us bringing good from rottenness and making us like Jesus. We become the Good Samaritan in the present, and our dry bones are risen from the dead and exchanged for a new life that can change the world.
If you are listening to someone’s abusive story, you can be a healing force for them. Let them know how awful, terrible, stupid, painful, abusive, narcissistic, and wretched their situation is. Agree with their pain and help them put names to it. Kind listening defuses the power of evil that trauma holds. Encourage truth and any of these places of healing for them. Ask probing questions. Be thoughtful: remember them, pray for them, speak life into them, laugh with them, and do something tangible to help them. Connect often to check up on them. You are helping them fly again.
29. Protect yourself. You know the signs of abuse. Stand up for yourself on every side. When a line is crossed, kindly push back and hold to your, No, you aren’t going to hurt me, whether you say it or not. Even kindness is a confrontation. Create distance and confirm your self-respect. Practice your responses. It stinks you’re having a bad day. Try that again with a kind voice. Do you really want to start a fight? When you decide to be kind, I’ll talk to you.
30. Speak up. When you see narcissism or control freaks, stand up to them. It’s rampant today in people, companies, hospitals, schools, churches, and everywhere. When you say no, you are exposing them, and they tend to pay attention, but they won’t like it. They may not be your friends, but they will taste their limits. The world may change because you have acted truthfully.
Healing trauma can bring a more peaceful, more free existence. Resolving even pieces of it helps us understand and love others. The world is better.
You prepare a feast [table] for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.Psalm 25:3