Healing from child abuse is a long process which involves specific stages and if you so choose, ends with forgiveness. The first stage is acknowledgment. Despite being severely beaten, I did not realize what happened to me was abuse for two reasons. First, my mind blocked out the worse parts. Second, I did not have a point of reference, so what I experienced was normal to me.
The second stage child abuse survivors must enter is allowing themselves their feelings about what happened. This can take years and even decades as you discover and examine all the ways you were damaged and how it affected your life. It’s like an onion with many layers, as soon as you work your way through one, you discover another. You must walk through the feelings your anger (or rage, depending on the depth and length of your abuse). This is the stage most people find overwhelming and unfortunately, quit. They don’t feel they have the strength to go through the trauma again. And let’s be honest. You must experience aspects of the trauma in order for the mind / body to feel the original pain that was stuffed deep within. This requires courage and is some of the most difficult work you will ever do.
But here is what I discovered. Nothing was as bad as the abuse Artie (my alter) experienced. If she could go through the experience and survive, it would not be near as difficult for me to have the feelings about the experience. After all, in perspective, she survived the hardest part.
After you are really through with that second stage, it is possible to truly forgive. The parent / child ties go deep into the soul. I am not saying everyone should forgive. For me, there came a time where I began to become curious about how my mother became the person she was. What happened to her? I began looking for a more historical perspective. It is at this point I got a more full picture of what happened in her life. From that point on, it has been like putting the final pieces of an important puzzle together; the puzzle of my life. Now, I can move on.