It Takes Time: 1in6 Thursdays on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog
“I was a mess, and I couldn’t take the emotional chaos any longer.” Although the words differ, this is a message I receive regularly. They’re from men who are tired of running from their pain or medicating it through drugs, alcohol, overeating, or some other way to push away their pain—temporarily.
But when we’re ready to take those first steps, we sometimes grow impatient. “I’ve been working at this for a year. When will it end?”
I know the question well, and I used to ask the same thing. An old joke goes that a therapist told a man that he’d need to come back once a week for about a year.
“Could I come three times a week for four months?”
The joke, of course, is that the man didn’t understand how inner healing works. He wanted to rush through the process; there is no rushing through. It takes time. And effort.
For us survivors, we want the healing now and we want to put it behind us. Why wouldn’t we? Who wants to keep hurting? Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that our abuse took place long ago and the poison once permeated every aspect of our lives. We heal, but slowly.
Some heal more slowly than others.
For example, years ago I lived in Africa where learned a local dialect and could give speeches in seven or eight months. One of my colleagues finally learned a language, but it took him more than three years. He wasn’t stupid and I wasn’t brighter. We were just different.
And when we compare our rate of progress with someone else, it’s usually someone whom we consider has made great strides. That’s wonderful for them, but not for us. We have to go at our own pace.
I’m still learning and growing. The good news is that the pain eventually lessens. My life is far more joyful and contented than it’s ever been.
It’s worth taking the time.
Cecil Murphey wrote, When a Man You Love Was Abused and Not Quite Healed with survivor Gary Roe. Murphey is the author or coauthor of 137 books including international best sellers, 90 Minutes in Heaven and Gifted Hands: the Ben Carson Story. His latest book is Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor, written with Katariina Rosenblatt. His twice-weekly blog is www.menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com.
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