Healing is Not... Getting All the Memories Clear


I'm one of the people who remembered late in life. It was just a fragment but very clear: I was four and it hurt when I peed.

I wanted other memories to come. I was frantic to know what happened. I began to remember peculiar things about my family--my father's affairs and his temper, my mother's passivity and helplessness. I felt strange things in my body.

But I didn't get Kodak-sharp memories of what happened.

Gradually, I realized that I could heal without the memories. The important shifts were:
  • to believe myself and the little girl inside me who said "Listen! Something is wrong!"
  • to recognize the ways my birth family was untrustworthy and how they had slanted the truth.
  • to learn to trust my therapist and open up to love.
  • to build my own world.
It's only after all this loving hard work that I see clearly--getting clear memories was not the point. Healing was.