Myth: Time Heals All Wounds
“I didn't understand why we picked an earlier memory at first because a more recent event made more sense, but it makes sense now with how connected it is to everything,” said a client recently to me after doing our second intensive EMDR trauma therapy session.
So often I hear that an earlier memory that was difficult, or even traumatic, “doesn’t bother me anymore” or “I am long over that” with the premise that “time heals all wounds.”
We as humans often confuse stuffing things down or dissociation combined with time passed as “being over” something. However, when revisiting the traumatic experience, clients oftentimes have a highly emotional response to it still.
I’m here to debunk the myth that “time heals all wounds.” Friends, it simply isn’t true. A nice saying that makes us feel better? Sure. Healing for the sake of healing just because time passes, usually not the case.
It is what you do with the time that passes that really matters. In a society plagued with emotional immaturity and emotional stuntedness, we haven’t been set up for success in the long run.
What do I mean by that? A familiar story I hear from clients is that when they had a negative, overwhelming experience as a child, their caregiver minimized their feelings, and in some instances, punished them for having reasonable, emotional responses to the situation. Most times, this is because the previous generation did not have the tools, knowledge or healing to give the adequate emotional attunement most of us needed.
An environment that doesn’t allow kids to learn how to feel emotions in healthy ways makes adults who do the same. They have learned emotions are bad or unsafe and never really learn what to do with their emotional experiences. They then stuff down their emotions and don’t actually give their hard and traumatic experiences and emotions room to breathe. This results in low distress tolerance as well as a number of problematic symptoms like hypervigilance, racing thoughts, panic attacks, explosive anger, among others.
When emotions aren’t safe and we are unable to process our experiences in healthy ways, hard experiences that are too overwhelming turn into trauma.
Typically, we see themes emerge in people’s lives regarding emotional hurts and repeated relational interactions. Is that really the first time you felt rejected? Or did that start when you were a child, and your parents didn’t have the emotional capacity to make time for you and shamed you for having needs?
Going back to the original statement from my client, we usually must revisit the old wounds to be able to heal the long-term effects of trauma that results in our well-engrained behavior and relational patterns we experience in the here and now.
Some are not ready to go back and heal the old wounds, that is clear by some coming into my office that want me to wave a magic wand and heal of all that ails them. To experience true healing, we HAVE to visit the hard places. The only way out is through. The part that we have to remind ourselves of is that you now are not alone in going through those hard places. You now have an expert guide to lead you (disclaimer, that’s me your therapist).
So, what does healing really take? Bravery, courage, and most importantly of all, presence. You just need to show up and be willing to do the work. It might not all make sense, but it all has a purpose. It truly is impossible to not reap what you sow. You will have consequences either way, so why not curate the positive consequences of facing your demons, unloading your baggage and creating room and space to actually breathe easily for once?
To learn more about the benefits of EMDR therapy, please visit some of our other articles or give our office a call at 480-448-1076.
Here rooting for you, your therapist at Infinite Healing and Wellness.
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