By Ox Drover
I’ve been on the “Road to Healing” for a couple of years now, working on getting over the worst of the grief of my losses. According to the author of Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome, Karin Huffer, M.S., M.F.T, the greatest loss known to human kind is loss by deception. I have surely suffered PTSD from the extreme losses by deception that I have suffered.
Ms. Huffer outlines eight steps to recovery for her LAS (Legal Abuse Syndrome), which she shows as caused by the legal abuse that our unfair judicial system heaps upon the heads of those already abused by others. Her eight steps for recovery are basically the recovery from the grief of our losses that we all go through in our attempts to recover.
“Health,” though, according to my education in nursing school, is not a “state of being” that is absolute, but a point on a continuum from Illness to Health. Recovery, I think, too, is a point on a continuum that goes from “Utter Devastation to Recovery.” I have passed the midpoint on that continuum from the point of “utter devastation” from which I found myself after the death of my husband and the coordinated and serial attacks of the psychopaths in my life. I now find myself reaching a point on the Road to Healing/Recovery where I have reached the milestone of Acceptance of WHAT IS, and no longer pine and grieve over WHAT I WISH WAS.
I am no longer feeling the acute pain of grief, I am no longer angry at my abusers, I no longer want to do them harm, in fact, I can actually pray for them with a sincere heart. I don’t trust them at all, of course, nor would I break no contact with them, but the worst of the horrible emotions I felt upon discovering their betrayal are no longer afflicting me. I am closer to Healing and Recovery than I am to the Utter Devastation.
Now what will my life be?
I look in the mirror, and the wrinkles are still there. I get on the scale and the numbers haven’t dropped any. I look at my checkbook, and I’m down a great deal of money from when I started all this journey. I look at the newspapers and the economy is still in the pits. Saturday night comes and there is no one knocking on my door asking me out.
So, how is my life different now than it was when I was feeling the acute grief of the devastation? The facts haven’t changed at all. My attitude about “what is” has changed. I am no longer depressed about the people I have “lost” and I am no longer depressed about the things I have lost. I am accepting of these losses as real. I am accepting that it hurt to lose these things that I thought were mine, or the things that were mine.
I no longer hinge my self respect upon what these formerly significant others think of me. I no longer blame myself. I am able to place the blame where it belongs, on those that hurt me.
I was able to tell my story (debrief) to people who believed IN ME. I processed through the grieving; the denial, the anger, the sadness, the bargaining, and on to acceptance. I worked through my obsession with what had happened in my life. I learned to appropriately place blame where it belonged, and to deshame myself for allowing what happened to happen. I realize that I was conned, in some cases, for a very long time, by people I trusted. I learned that because I am a good and trusting person, I tended to trust others who I thought, wrongly as it turned out, were trustworthy.
I have learned to reframe what happened in light of what I have learned. I have learned that some of the things I “learned” as a child as “truths” are actually untrue.
Because I have gone through these processes in grief and recovery, I am empowered, and realize that I have the new knowledge of new truths that are grounded in reality. I can accept a reality that isn’t what I wish it was, but I can accept it for what it is. The fact that “life is not fair” is a truth. I was treated unfairly, but that no longer defines who I am. I am getting closer and closer each day to Recovery and Healing in spite of what has happened. In fact, because of what has happened to me, I am a stronger, wiser and more knowledgeable person.
Recovery is an exclusive road reserved for the brave who have faced and processed their pain. Debriefing was the first step. Recovery is the last step, which becomes a lifestyle of skilled problem solving. The veteran now meets and solves problems with honed wisdom, courage, and tools. (Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome, Huffer, Karin.)