Yesterday I was talking to my wife, who had been to see a therapist, and the therapist had said it was important for survivors of trauma to recognize what traumas they have had in their lives. So the therapist said to list all the episodes in life that still cause you pain. I was thinking about this all last night and into this morning. I could think of a few things, such as being alone and afraid at night in the hospital as a small boy and the day my brothers died.
But it hit me this morning that the worst trauma that still causes me pain is discovering that the faith I had carried for forty years was misplaced. I’ve talked before about how I found I couldn’t rationalize my belief in Mormonism anymore, and it was devastating. It still is.
I came home that day, and my wife immediately knew something was wrong. I blurted out, “I don’t believe the in church anymore,” and that began three years of a cycle of hurt and guilt, fighting and sneaking around, none of which was healthy. But really it all stems from the pain I was experiencing, the sadness, the loss.
The worst thing about it was that I couldn’t talk to anyone I loved about it. I suppose I was not giving them enough credit, but when I did try to talk about it with my wife and with my parents and sister, the emotions were so raw that it always ended up with hurt feelings all around. So I retreated into blogging and posting on Internet message boards, but I kept the hurt inside around my family. Every so often it will spill out, and there would be a big fight. These fights were never good. Once I almost packed up my things and left, and another time I ended up attempting suicide.
But I’m still here. I was reading today about acknowledging the hurt before you can deal with it, and I think that’s part of my problem. Sometimes I’m asked why I can’t just get past it and move on with my life. I think it’s because, in spite of everything, I have never really dealt with the hurt.
Honestly, losing my faith felt like I had died inside. It still gives me a stomach ache to think about it. Only once did I allow all the emotions to come out, and I remember lying alone on the bed, sobbing harder than I ever had. It hurts so much to know that what I believed in isn’t real. And yes, it does make me angry, but as my wife tells me, the anger is probably just a way of expressing the hurt.
So, yes, I will get over it eventually, but somehow I have to reach inside and deal with the hurt. Maybe acknowledging it is a start.