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In the ordinary events of life, I didn’t know my mind had the amazing ability to protect me. That understanding came to me during my healing journey from childhood sexual abuse. And it brought a conflict.

  I moved through motherhood not knowing parts of my youth were carefully held in my unconscious, completely out of my reach to recall. When the memories of my past began showing up in my days, I didn’t know if they were my enemy… or my savior.

Each memory turned my very average life upside-down and inside-out. It might leak out over several weeks, kidnapping my routines one-by-one, until I could pull all the revelations together and comprehend an event from the past. Or the memory could rip me out of a sound sleep as an ordinary dream twisted into an experience from my childhood. Either way, my emerging trauma memory felt like a thief, stealing time out of my days and robbing my capacity to take charge of my life.

In this time of personal upheaval, I eventually realized I had an opportunity. When I didn’t fight this adversary, when I chose to turn and embrace the information being revealed, the darkness became beacons of light. Each piece of emerging memory was truly just the messenger. I was being given the chance to understand what had happened to me, to find words to describe it, and then update the information so I was no longer a captive in the long-ago event.

In the trauma moments of my childhood, when I couldn’t stand the physical or emotional pain, I had to leave. My mind did that for me when it dissociated the memory. This natural, primitive response was a savior. Dissociation made it possible for me to experience my growing up years. And the memories that felt so intrusive as they made themselves known to me were not the enemy. They were gifts to help me find my way back to my Self.