“You don’t get that.” Four words that haunt me. I was first told this sentence by a friend who was describing an episode of Celebrity Sober House with Dr. Drew (stop judging me – I fucking love that show); she described a therapy moment where a patient was sobbing over all the things he wanted in his father. He wailed for a caring, loving, present and understanding father, and was met with the blunt statement “You don’t get that.” It stopped him cold, and me as well. My first thoughts were that this was such a horrible and hurtful thing to say yet so painfully true.
I’ve read other blog posts about this episode which took this to mean “Suck it up. Stop whining.” That wasn’t exactly my take as I do feel whining, or rather weeping out the pain of your soul, is cathartic and necessary. Processing pain is never a one-time event. It seeps out slowly and sometimes in ways you aren’t fully cognizant of without a lot of self-awareness. I’ve processed the pain of my relationship with my father, well my mother too, for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I delve into their selfishness and abandonment, and at other times I go a different direction and mourn what never was. I’ve forced myself to forgive them repeatedly; yet when you see the same behavior that caused the pain, it all comes back up.
Dr. Drew is certainly right in that “I don’t get that.” in so many ways. I wasn’t blessed with parents who were invested in their children. (Side note: I will need to do a post some time about how much I hate the word “blessed”. So triggering.) My brother and I have remarked many times that it would have been a lot easier to stomach if one of them had been an alcoholic, a drug addict or mentally insane, because then there would have been logical reasons for their behavior.
I do acknowledge I hold onto things a bit tighter than would be healthy. Acceptance truly is the key. Yet sometimes the trauma of one event, overlaps and collides with something completely different, and this is where it gets tricky. For instance this past September I found I was panicking and triggered over a rape 20+ years before. I’d been stable and OK with what happened for a long time. Forgiven myself for actions that were never my fault. I could speak about it like the weather. So why was this shit coming back to haunt me now?
It’s believed in yoga theory that your muscles, in particular the muscles in your hips, hold your emotions, pain and trauma. It’s not uncommon for someone practicing yoga to have emotions well up, even tears, while doing hip opening postures. Amazing work is being done by Bessell van der Kolk, who wrote “The Body Keeps the Score”, “he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust.” Interesting.
So perhaps, those of us that are still triggered, can’t let go, can’t walk away, may be dealing with our brain’s trauma wiring, and we’re not so rigid and unforgiving after all?
I was ridiculed and criticized while in the church for continuing to be hurt from my past . They gave SO many reasons why this was happening and all were apparently my fault. “You’re not accepting the price Jesus paid on the cross….you’re not trusting God…you’re not praying enough…you’re bitter (OK, I agree with that one)…you’ve got a demon (personal favorite).” I walked to the front of so many churches with my forgiveness list, nailing my anger to a cross (literally), throwing my written thoughts in a fire, telling others, repenting of “my part” (though most of that was fucked up) and crying, crying, crying. Nothing worked.
I avoided this post for a few weeks as I didn’t have a cute little conclusion. Lets just say I’m working on it.