Updated: Jan 29, 2021
Yesterday I went out into our pasture to feed our horse some hay. I found myself hopping over pile after pile of horse manure, being careful to dodge each stack so as to not get my boots dirty. At one point, I had to yell at my dog, Ralph, to "release it!". . .apparently Ralph has an affinity for frozen horse dung and was carrying it around in his mouth as if it were a much earned trophy.
I am no stranger to crap. I've had to dodge it many times in my life, as I'm sure you have as well. The difference between former piles of crap and the enormous dump of betrayal trauma that fell into my life four years ago, is that there is no dodging betrayal trauma. Even if you do your best to deny it, your brain, your heart, and your body hold on to the trauma and it will damage you if you don't address it.
See the picture above these words? Those are my boots, looking down on a pile of dung in the winter snow. Recovery from betrayal trauma is like purposefully choosing to quit dodging the piles any longer. It looks like lifting those boots into the air and landing right in the middle of the huge pile of poo. You can't go under it, you can't go over it, and you can't go around it. You gotta dive right in. You have to smell it. See it. Face it. Feel it. Touch it. Then, only then, can you begin to heal.
It's disgusting. It's messy. It's stinky. It's embarrassing. There is dread. There is trepidation. There are unknowns of how this will all turn out.
As I stood there in the snow, looking down at that pile of poo, I had a thought. A thought of hope and purpose for what seemed in the moment to be completely disgusting. You know what my thought was? "I need to start collecting all the manure in this field and turn it into a compost pile for my spring garden!" Sometimes manure can become fertilizer.
Hmph...only God could take my pile of crap and turn it into a pile of promise. A pile of purpose. A pile of prospect.
The mess you are in now will not always be so, should you choose to lift your boots and step in the poo. Recovery is hard, but there is purpose to your pain when you surrender to it. Quit dodging it. Quit avoiding it. Learn from Ralph, and bury your nose in it! Doing so will turn it into something beneficial for your springtime garden which is sure to come! Winter days will eventually be over and what seems dead now will be brought forth in newness of life! But it's your choice. Will you take that jump or will you keep avoiding?
You are loved, sister. I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing about your compost pile. In the mean time, consider looking at the manure not as waste, but as fertilizer! Envision your springtime garden. New growth and new starts are on their way. Don't give up!
To help you navigate your way through recovery, read RISE: A Guide to Climbing Out of Betrayal Trauma by Misty Terrell.