We have all heard the adage “time heals all things.“ But does it really? Have you ever continued to feel guilt or shame because you have not been able to just “get over” something that has happened to you, even though a significant amount of time has passed? Maybe somebody hurt you years ago, but the memory hasn’t stopped haunting you, no matter how many people told you time would heal that wound. Or maybe you’ve been stung by another’s biting comment, “Why can’t you just move on?”
You Need More Than Just Time to Heal
The phrase “you should have gotten over it by now” seems to imply that there is a limited amount of time people are allowed to spend healing emotionally. If they’re still working on healing after that magical time limit is up, they’ve taken too long. But emotional healing doesn’t happen just because time goes by; it takes more work than that.
Think about how your body naturally heals. Your body doesn’t just sit around, waiting for time to go by and hoping things get better. When you get an infection, your body goes into action making antibodies to destroy the invaders and heal itself. As time passes, the body will either heal or the infection will get worse because there were not enough antibodies to do the job. When the infection gets worse, healing might require the help of a doctor or medication.
In the same way, when you experience significant trauma in your life, you need “mental and emotional antibodies” to be able to recover. In order to heal from trauma, you need to have both an internally and external safe environment. When you experienced trauma, did you have:
- Loving and supportive people to care for you?
- A safe home free of other trauma?
- The ability to self-regulate (bring down your hyper-arousal)?
- A safe place with a safe person to tell your story?
If you didn’t have these things, you may not have had the mental and emotional antibodies you needed to heal from that trauma when it happened. And, because time alone doesn’t necessarily heal all things, you may need to do some emotional work to recover from that past experience. In the same way you reach out to a doctor when you’re sick, it may be time to consider working with a therapist or coach.
Time Can Be Used to Heal Things
Perhaps a better adage might be ”time can be used to heal all things.“ Over time, you can learn ways to help heal your trauma (how to build and use safe resources, how to self-regulate, etc.) We are here at the Marriage Recovery Center would love to help you understand your challenges and learn ways to heal so that you do not have to be a victim of your circumstances for the rest of your life. Contact our Client Care Team to learn more about how to get started healing from past trauma.