I am a survivor of extremely severe ritualistic childhood abuse and sadistic systematic torture. This blog has helped me get my voice back and documents the journey I'm on to heal from the trauma and damage caused by that appalling abuse. Now is the time for me to tell of MY experience by speaking the truth about MY life. I will be silenced no more! On this blog I share MY life, MY healing journey; helpful quotes/stuff I come across and MY thoughts along the way. The more I speak out the more liberated I am from the shame and trauma of the abuse. My broken wings are gradually being repaired. Without God in my life I wouldn't still be here. But somehow, I keep on staying alive, surviving and rarely, occasionally, living a little!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Desmond Tutu about Dissociation, Torture, Forgiveness and related issues

A friend passed me Desmond Tutu’s book “Made for Goodness” as she thought I may find it helpful. Desmond Tutu is writing in the context of the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” hearings into horrific torture carried out by the South African security police in South Africa following the end of Apartheid in South Africa and other suffering he has witnessed including the genocide in Rwanda. He is writing in the context of how he has seen people who’ve experienced the most appalling cruelty and torture make their journeys towards healing and wholeness. Some of what he wrote I found very helpful considering my current circumstances and wrestling with horrendous cruelty and injustice.

“Hidden inside the adult is the child with all her happiness, all her worries and all her unhealed hurts... allow your heart to open and soften toward that child...

Finding our way back to ease inside ourselves, finding our way home to goodness, will be a journey we will have to make often... we slide into habits of thoughts... patterns of behaviour... we constantly stumble over the same stone... time and time again we find ourselves falling over the same failing. We recognise what we have done and consider who we have become. Then we can decide to make the journey home.

We return to ourselves, to our godliness, to wholeness... recognition is the first step of the journey home...

When I have been harmed I need to gather myself up from brokenness... I need to be restored to wholeness...

Each of us is hurt, each of us has hurt. Each of us need to gather ourselves up from brokenness and be restored to wholeness. We need to find our way back to goodness.

When a person endures an extreme or traumatic injury, the brokenness can be expressed as Dissociation... something shattered in the trauma, something that needed to be gathered up, collected, healed.

Few of us have experienced trauma this great. But all of us dissociate in some way when we forget or abandon our innate goodness. In so doing we step away from wholeness. An essential part of us is silenced, denied or ignored. While the quantum of anguish may change, the characteristics stay the same. Whether we endure torture or we face a workplace dispute, we experience harm or suffering.

It is not the fact or the feelings that differ; it is the degree...

Anyone can make the decision to be more mindful of their words and deeds and of their effects. Anyone can choose to cultivate compassion. Anyone can commit themselves to returning ever more speedily to the goodness that is their true home.

In an extraordinary way, we can return to goodness more quickly when we have a clear vision of the present. That clarity about the present is rooted in making peace with the past.

Putting words to our pain begins the process of building that peace. In speaking the truth of our pain, we start to collect the memories of what we have done or experienced. When we retell our stories we can be heard into healing. We can be heard back into healing, heard into wholeness, back to goodness, back home to ourselves.

For the victims to tell their story of what they endured was an opportunity for healing, an opportunity to recover the dignity lost in the terror of torture...

Being heard into healing is a need... it is a basic human need that we all share. If we are lucky or blessed we find people with the gift of presence. These are people who can hear us into healing.

Often people come... not looking for advice or counsel. We don’t have the answer. We don’t have to solve the problem. They just want a listening ear. A listening ear can help people to work out their own wisdom... I just sat, listened, smiled or sighed and nodded. They figured it all out for themselves...

Sometimes it is in sharing how we are affected... that we open the door for another person’s healing. The journey homeward to healing can traverse some rough terrain. When the wounds are large and deep a salve is necessary... forgiveness can be the richest kind of healing balm. Forgiveness is not a form of forgetting. It is rather, a profound form of remembering. When we forgive, we remember who and whose we are. We remember that we are creative beings modelled on a creative God.

When we forgive we reclaim the power to create. We can create a new story for ourselves. When we find the strength to forgive we are no longer victims. We are survivors.

Forgiveness is not only a creative act, it is a liberating action. When we forgive the people who have harmed us, we liberate ourselves from the chains that bind us to our offender... they exert no control over our moods, our disposition, or us. They have no further part in writing the story that we must tell of ourselves. Forgiveness liberates us. We are free...

Finding our way back to goodness is ongoing work. To find our way home we will need a skilled guide. Let us turn into the stillness and listen to God speak with the voice of the heart”

Desmond Tutu; “Made for Goodness”; Chapter 9, Going Home to Goodness; Pages 143-144, 146-150

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