Thursday, March 7, 2013

An encouraging Article about recovery: Old wound, New Pain

Old Wound, New Pain
by Sallie Culbreth, M.S.

A few months ago, I was helping my grandson with a prop he needed for a production he was in. You'd be amazed what I can do with cardboard and magic markers! So there I was, carving out a giant Santa sled with my razor knife when . . . you guessed it - I slipped and took a pretty nice gouge out of my fingernail that went down to the nail bed. It hurt like crazy.

After awhile, the gash stopped hurting. Months passed. As my nail grew, the gouged out wound moved too. When it reached the end of my nail bed, it started hurting all over again - exposing my nail bed and leaving a nail edge that kept snagging everything.

That old wound resurfaced and I felt new pain. I stared at my throbbing finger and broken fingernail very surprised that it would suddenly hurt so much after months of nothing, but it did.

Abuse survivors are often unprepared for the pain they experience as they begin to grow. It's a mistake to assume that once you turn the soil and unearth the past that the pain vanishes like water sprayed on a scorching hot day.

Abuse recovery is rarely a linear event. There are bumps and dips, brick walls and gutters that accompany hard fought victories. Abuse recovery means personal growth. It means having the courage to look truthfully at not only what was done to you, but what you did with the damage. Abuse recovery may unfold like a labyrinth or uncoil like a snake.

To experience pain from the initial abuse is normal. To experience pain when you first address what happened to you is also normal. But as you grow, you may be surprised when you feel familiar sadness, when you grieve over things you thought you were past, when you rage over injustices you released a million times before. This too, is normal, and an authentic aspect of growth beyond abuse.

So here I am, with a throbbing finger and a ragged edge, and just like a few months ago, I'm covering it with a bandage, and ever so slightly trimming that ragged edge, knowing that one day, that gash will level off.

In your journey beyond abuse, even if old wounds bring new pain, please know that one day those jagged places will smooth out and those gashes will level off. You won't know when and you'll probably wonder how it will happen, but that's the power of caring for your wounds - old or newly felt. It levels off.

This week, take some time to care for any pain that you may find yourself in, even if that new pain has its genesis in old wounds.

© 2013 


  1. That was a good article that explained past hurts and how we deal with them now so well. I try to deal with things on my own too much, hold things in, keep others out. It's nice to read about the process and what normal healing looks like. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thanks. It is a hard journey. But God is faithful.


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