Thursday, January 17, 2013


I've decided trauma recovery has much in common with the grieving process. This isn't really news, but I saw a list of the five steps of grief and realized I've been through most of those in some way since beginning this journey.

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

I don't know that I went through them in that order. My therapist and husband will tell you I haven't spent nearly enough time on the anger portion. Obviously, I had denial down pat for years and years. The bargaining was a brief period of "just let me be crazy and they can lock me in a padded room" instead of this reality. The depression . . . well that's an ongoing issue, although not nearly as bad as it used to be. 

That leaves acceptance. I believe getting to acceptance is a process, not an epiphany. Unless you call it an epiphany the way Ann Voskamp does, a "light here, and then it's gone". Each day I learn a little more about accepting the reality of the abuse. I learn a little more about releasing the guilt and shame. I learn a little more about seeing myself as me, and not as their victim. Add up all those little bits, and that's the path to acceptance. 

I'm not happy I was abused. I'd trade it all in for a perfect happy childhood, except, who really gets that? And who would I be if I hadn't been abused? Don't misunderstand me. I'm just accepting the reality of my life now and how I got here. And reminding myself that my current reality is pretty wonderful. It's not trouble free, but life isn't trouble free -- not if you choose to really engage. And I want to be engaged.

So I don't shrink from the past the way I used to, and I don't dwell in the past either. But I do take it out and look at it, turning it around and around in my hands and heart, so that I can learn from it, and see how far I've come. 

"Acceptance means that you perceive reality accurately 
and consciously acknowledge what you perceive".


  1. Melanie, I am visiting from Emily's place. It is so nice to meet you. May you find peace in your journey and strength and encouragement along the way. Your words are so tender here. Thank you for your voice and for sharing your story. Wishing peace and may you know the extravagant love of Father God. wishing you grace and mercy, elizabeth

  2. I suffered depression for years - was abused as a child... And I think I went back and forth between the five stages -- For many years but healing does come with the Lord's help, grace, love and mercy. Bless You!

  3. I haven't gone through the stages in a straight line, and there has been much looping back. We'll all overcome that grief in the end, though. God bless.


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