Dissociating the Stories

“The little girl watches from a distance, safely above and beyond reach; the naked woman lays frozen in a death like state while the predator violates her body.”

So begins the revealing of an experience of my rape. Being faced with a knife, the threat of rape, and possible death, I flashed back to the childhood place of coping. I had learned at too delicate an age that dissociation was a safer alternative means of surviving horror, so it was well ingrained and easily accessed.

The narrative comes from the young child who seemingly escaped this encounter with the trauma that was too familiar for her to bear alone again.  My therapist would speak with a firm diligence, trying to get the knowledge held tightly and secretly by the child, into the unfeeling shell of the adult. The goal being that the brain that attempted to escape the emotion, and the body that escaped the feeling, would integrate, feel and healing could occur.

Each time the adult and the child would get close, terror would surge through my body like fast moving electricity. I would tense up and tremble, hoping not to vomit while attempting to merge the layers of my story. I did not want to know what I hoped I did not know.

My brain  knows that in her office I am safe.  It takes great concentration to remain aware that the rape is over, it happened in the past. There is such a battle between past and present, between the scared child and the wise woman. The emotional adult really does not want to see or feel what the child worked so hard to protect her from. Still, I am told the event must be experienced and voiced, to be processed; accepted and let go so life can move forward.

Prior to and not knowing what this session would hold, my counselor sent me the following verse that turned out to be so perfect, I know she was directed by the Lord:

  “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them.  I’ll turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do, I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16  NIV


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