When I fist began this journey of healing from my trauma, I was 24 years old. I wound up in a therapist’s office explaining how both of my parents were alcoholics, I was a codependent to them, I had trauma from my childhood and I expected to be in therapy for three months while I learnt how to “not be a codependent”. My therapist was shocked and told me “healing is a marathon not a sprint, you are not going to be able to get rid of the effects of twenty-four years of abuse and trauma in three months”. These words devastated me; I was extremely burntout and I really didnt have the emotional energy to do serious work on myself over an extended period (or so I thought).
Two years have passed since that session, and for the first year of my journey I felt as though nothing really changed. In fact my situation got worse, I began to put in boundaries with my parents, they were used to manipulating me and me enabling them and did not react well to my boundaries. They tried very hard to make me “cave” and do what they wanted. This was a really tough period, but I hung on to the magic words I’d heard “healing is a marathon, not a sprint”.
Due to living with addicts my whole life, my boundaries in all of my relationships were really loose because I didn’t know any better. I was magnetic to people who were manipulative, bullying and/or codependent themselves. Surprisingly, I had a very healthy relationship with my then boyfriend (now fiance), who helped me recognise there were ten other people besides my parents who I needed to enforce boundaries with. I realised I had to quit my job, as all three of my colleagues were codependent or bullies and the whole office therefore had a toxic culture.
I realised the other day after two years of deep healing work and a huge dedication to self-improvement; that I’m no longer magnetic to unhealthy relationships, I’ve stopped dissociating, I don’t feel “abandoned” the way I used to and I’ve gained some self confidence and a lot of other skills.
Taking a step back and noticing this improvement has made me so grateful that I hung in there for this marathon. I’ve still got a long way to run; my fiance is currently hanging out with our friends making excuses as to why I’m not there (I’m too anxious to socialize today). Things are not ideal, but they are a hell of a lot better than they were two years ago. I’m keeping on running because I’m breaking the cycle and it starts with me.