Turning hatred and hurt into love : some reflections on abuse and wounding

What is it that makes some people able to let go of very painful things that hurt them? What is the special ingredient that lets us ‘move on’ even as we realise the past can never be changed and it hurt like hell? What inside of us helps us to accept the complex paradox of human good and evil? Is it not a kind of love? And how to describe that sort of love that enables us to enlarge to encompass an acceptance even of what was deeply painful, toxic and hurtful to us?

These are questions many in addiction recovery ask and try to answer, we look for our part in things, even if it was our existence which hurt someone somehow, not to see that we ’caused’ it, only to see that we were a contributing factor for awakening someone else’s ire or resentment.

My Mum never really made friends with the small child in her that got hurt, but I would see evidence of her inner child alot.. I would turn up at her place sometimes and she would have the Bee Gees blaring over the stereo, even at 90 years of age… she loved a laugh but she could be mean at times to my sisters and I while also being generous as long as she was in control of things…now even in death the way she set her inheritance up we are being prevented from gaining access to it… and I wish in many ways I did not need to rely on it as I do. That said she could not be patient to the small child I was, she invaded boundaries by reading my sister in law’s diary while she lived with us in the late 60s and found out about a termination she had and then confronted both her and my brother, something my sister in law never forgave.. and Mum did the same to me in the weeks after my father died, when I had moved back home prior to going on an overseas trip with my then boyfriend that never came to pass as he ended up dumping me as soon as he heard my father was dead…I met up with him and then he strung me along and dumped me again, at that point I had absolutely NO protective boundaries.

When we haven’t been parented or learned to develop an inner loving self parent it leaves us with deficits.. an inability for true self care, we may become indulgent instead of trying to move forward and embrace a better life, we may not feel good enough or worthy or feel capable of the self discipline required to have a strong postive inner masculine assertive drive….and then there is the ongoing issue of anger or resentment that can linger and fester..

In AA we are helped to find a way to hand this kind of pain over to a higher power or transpersonal source as ‘container’ when it all gets too much, sharing it with an empathic other in a 5th step helps us. We work to realise the spiritual and emotional illness of the abuser. We vow to love ourselves THROUGH THE PAIN.. Deep wounds may ark up from time to time but we do have some control over how much power we give them, even if they never heal completely and never leave us alone.

New positive corrective experiences may help us to stop dwelling on them and bring our energy into present time.. and only love for ourselves helps us in this process as well as respect for, acceptance of, instead of denial of what we have gone through. Grieving may also be essential as the grief may be buried inside the anger..we may have to do many hours of sitting with the hurting self to give it love and empowerment shedding tears (the flood) or burning up with justified anger or rage (the fire). And Jesus said it well when he wrote that we must on this path of healing be baptised and born again through both fire and water.

Having been made to feel powerless, often makes us fear our own power, power and assertive energy that may have been cut down…or treated by others as a ‘defect’. Lashing out in the end may show how much we are hurting but it may not help us to summon up the power we need to live a life turned towards more healing and healthy channels of expression.

For myself pushing myself onto these 10 am walks with Jasper this week I do feel the pain moving through me.. I seem to have bitten it down over so many years, evidence of this is the loss of my teeth and the wearing of a denture that sometimes hurts… sometimes I cry thinking i will never break free of it all, to find my true power.. The wounds have healed to scars and sometimes they still smart. No one is coming to hold me when I am deep in them but myself.

In the myth of Erishkegal and Innana, told by Sylvia Brinton Perrera in her book Descent to the Goddess she uses this tale to show how we in taking the part of the above ground sister Innana can summon up the will to travel down to the Underworld of our own unconscious to give comfort to the suffering sister, Erishkegal over time helping this part to let the other off the ‘hook’. Initially in the tale Innana is impaled on a meat hook by her sister when she makes her first descent which is how it can feel to be wounded and have our assertion cut down in our childhood then only to become the addict, scapegoat or identified patient in the dysfunctional family system.

Before leaving the upper world Innana asks little finger sized creatures called the Enkies to come to her rescue if she gets into bother.. when they hear her cries the Enkies just mirror Erishkegal in her suffering, as she laments “woe is me and woe to my insides’ they echo this back.. and in validating her pain in time they soothe her… Some with deep wounding may never find this soothing, a part of the abuser introjected over years of abuse may turn against the world in a similar way, hopefully in time it becomes only a protector against further abuse rather than functioning to keep the entire world at bay and block love for others from arising… or turning against the self to cut off further ‘life’ urges for deep connection and also engineering the persons self destruction or suicide (see Donald Kalsched’s book The Inner World of Trauma.

Carrying the wounded self takes skill, finding the compassion even for the abuser may be beyond some of us and demands of us that we learn to accept that the world contains a huge spectrum of human expression, both dark and light… Finding a way to live comfortably within such pain and paradox is a task of Herculean proportions and not all of us will manage it, such healing may take many years of ‘descents’ and so much holding and containment, before new seeds can being to grow in the fallow, parched, emotionally scorched landscape left by trauma.

And it pays to remember forgiving someone does not mean we want to stay around them only to be hurt more.. Its more about not letting that hurt keep festering or being replayed over and over.. In the end only we can set the protective boundary, forgiveness does not mean what happened to us was ‘okay’. Only the we choose as much as we can now to let go of the hurt and make kinder, healthier choices.

Related :

https://emergingfromthedarknight.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/projecting-pain-understanding-how-it-works-and-why-we-need-to

17 thoughts on “Turning hatred and hurt into love : some reflections on abuse and wounding

  1. Do you believe that the person who is hurt should get some sort of apology or even just an explanation? I am in a situation that I just don’t think I will ever forget and/or forgive. I have been hurt so deeply.

      1. Good enough I would say. We keep learning and growing all our lives Stine. No two lives are same ๐Ÿ˜Š

  2. Beautiful post, though I little long. And it is a tough subject. Congratulations on handling it so well.
    For me, if you follow my posts, hate is only absence of love. Love heals. Love redeems.
    God be with you my friend

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