Thursday, November 1, 2012


flooding -- A therapeutic technique for treating phobias in which the patient is exposed to painful memories or frightening stimuli until he or she ceases to be anxious.

I was flooded recently with a memory. A memory locked away so tightly that I've fought tooth and nail to keep it so. 

In this memory, I am brutalized by a monster, but then handed off to a fixer. For years I have pitied this woman for being trapped in a terrible situation. But this time as I rode the memory through, I realized some important distinctions. She knew what he was doing to me in the other room. She knew her role as the fixer -- the aid to the cover-up. She made excuses for his actions. She led me to believe she was compassionate and caring, but her true purpose was to clean up his mess, and she did it willingly.

Flooded. Memories rushing over me like Sandy rushing through the northeast. Pain and tears and fear and confusion. Nowhere to safely land in this plethora of emotions. 

So I land where I usually do: first on my therapist's couch, sobbing into a sodden tissue and apologizing for wasting her time while I just sit and cry. Then on my own couch as I try to recount the events of the day to my husband and apologize for everything I failed to accomplish -- dinner and laundry and errands.

But this time, this time is different somehow. I am angry. And I never get angry. I am angry that these horrific people where part of my childhood. I am angry that I wasn't protected from them. I am angry that I am still held responsible by some people for what was done TO me. I am angry, and I am not sorry that I am angry.

I am not going to stop being angry until I feel like it. Because I have been flooded long enough.


  1. Anyone would have your anger. It is probably a good thing that you were flooded with these memories. Maybe you can begin to heal.

    I pray God helps you with this as only He can.

  2. You are amazing. My heart goes out to you in more ways than you can imagine. Sometimes anger is the best emotion we can have to start the healing process. It calls us to action. Hugs.

  3. Thanks for a very brave post! I'm a therapist who works with victims of sexual abuse, and I know how hard the flooding can be.....and how good the anger can sometimes feel. Good for you for being angry at the people who hurt you! It's a big step.

    1. Thanks for your positive feedback. Just for clarity's sake, I used the term flooding because of the prompt, but in reality my therapist and I use EMDR. I frequently feel "flooded" by memories and feelings though, so it seemed appropriate.

  4. This is an incredibly brave post. And no, you shouldn't apologize for being angry. Ever.

  5. So powerful. Thank you for sharing this. Anger seems like a very healthy response to have to the flood you've described.


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