Collateral Damage

horse near trees

Photo by KML on

“Is it because Thanksgiving was so late this year?”  I asked the kind woman bagging our groceries.  “I can’t seem to find my Christmas Spirit anywhere …”  The woman smiled at me with an understanding look in her eyes and said,  “I can’t seem to find mine either.”  Even my husband had commented, “You know, I’m just not real excited for Christmas this year.  I don’t know what it is …”, his voice trailing off.  I had decorated minimally.  The tree was up and ornaments were hung, the Department 56 North Pole Village was out and the stockings were dangling from their rightful spots however, I hadn’t gone to the extent of decorating and celebrating the season like I normally do, savoring each moment expectantly.  The greenery, wreath and glittery red ribbon that dresses up our front porch was still in the loft space in the garage, as were the lights and cute little trees that normally would be out in the front yard.  “I hope you are able to find your joy in the season.  Have a great rest of your day!” I said as I smiled at our cashier and pushed my cart out of the store.  What I hadn’t shared with her was that my kids were gone for the next nine days including Christmas, collateral damage resulting from my decision to run for my life years prior.

The collateral damage, the debris left behind long after a bomb has been detonated is extensive, far reaching and often times cannot be truly calculated.  That bomb in life could be, as in my case, a high conflict divorce, it could be a death, a health crisis, a change in jobs, a move, anything really.  It’s something that, at some point, really shook things up in your life.  After the initial impact, after the dust has settled and we’ve surveyed the damage and have cleared most of the debris, that’s when the collateral damage begins to appear.  Damage and consequences that we couldn’t have known would result from the initial detonation.  It can be years later when we think we’ve cleared and cleaned everything up, when something pops up that reminds us of the bomb that detonated so long ago.  Like finding an old photograph in the dirt years after a tornado has ripped through a community.    

I read something recently that had my wheels turning.  It was written by a woman who is at the beginning of healing her trauma from the abusive relationship she was in with a narcissist.  She was questioning at what point does one own their part in essentially attracting and being in relationship with the abuser.  She’s climbing out from under the debris and rubble created by the bomb that detonated in her life, dusting herself off and looking around her, surveying the damage and deciding what’s hers to own in all this.  I read and re-read what she’d written as she poured her beautiful heart out in humbling vulnerability and my first thought was, “There is no piece in that to own…”  I thought of my own abuser and the years upon years upon years of manipulation, lies, deception and gas lighting that I tolerated and accepted as my reality, going so far as to blame myself for his choices and despicable behavior.

I personally could not … scratch that … I would and will not, take responsibility for being carefully groomed and trained to receive and accept the abuse that was doled out.  The God given characteristics that are innately me that he was attracted to, make me who I am.  I believe we are responsible for owning our story and for healing the deep, oozing wounds that have been inflicted upon us.  Through the experiential healing process of clearing the debris and rubble, utilizing the Equine Gestalt Coaching Methodology, we gain great insight and awareness about ourselves and that in and of itself, I believe, safeguards us from stepping into the same quick sand filled trap that ensnared us in the first place.  I also believe that through the healing process, we are better equipped to face the collateral damage that is bound to surface periodically.

“Do at least one thing that scares the hell out of you each day!” I yelled to him from the roof as I scooched along the shingles on my butt, in my yoga pants and flip flops!  Lol!  “I try NOT to intentionally scare the hell out of myself … ever.” He said with a grin as he scaled the ladder up onto the roof and took the Christmas lights from me to finish hanging them.  With shaking hands and wobbling legs I descended down the ladder, grateful this son of a roofer was finishing the job for me!  With two days until Christmas I had decided that the only way to ditch the Grinch was to recognize the collateral damage for what it was and allow my tears to roll as I went above and beyond my normal decorating.  I could receive Christmas with open arms and tears or I could be Grinchy and pouty.  Christmas was showing up either way and the thing about collateral damage is, you can’t always “fix” it or heal it, sometimes, it is what it is and the best we can do is embrace it, feel into it and keep moving forward.

Is there debris and rubble piled on top of you from a bomb that detonated in your life? Have you been trying to clear the debris on your own making little headway?  Are the wounds that were inflicted upon your precious heart and soul still oozing, in desperate need of healing salve?  The horses and I are humbly willing to step alongside you, helping you clear the rubble and debris in your life, healing those oozing wounds.  We are here to support you as you journey along your own path to healing and thriving!

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”  ❤