Years ago, when one of my clients was describing the mistreatment she’d endured in her life, I gently yet curiously observed that she’d just narrated her account as if she’d been reading a newspaper article. This took her aback, yet she at once recognized the truth of my words. Matter-of-fact, very practical and without much emotion—that was indeed how she’d told her story.
She also recognized why: not because the trauma hadn’t impacted her, but because it had been so severe her mind simply hadn’t been able to take it in, and her nervous system had been locked in a nearly perpetual freeze mode. Sure, it was a functional freeze—she’d still managed to keep up with daily chores and life obligations—yet she’d done so in an internally stilted state, unable to feel the compounded trauma because it was simply too much to bear. However, as a consequence she was also unable to feel joy, gratitude, happiness …
Yet there’s one thing we all need to remember: Lack of hope leads to despair, and despair is the enemy of healing.
How can we avoid this trap of despair? How is healing even possible?
The latest article on my blog is by guest author Laura Ercolino, about the miraculous appearance of Our Lady in Guadalupe, and how the message is still so crucial today. She writes:
"Our Lady of Guadalupe is known as the Patroness of the Americas and of the Unborn. I believe that she is also asking to be a patroness of women who have been victims of marital abuse and sexual assault.
Too many women sacrifice themselves—their hearts, bodies, identities, and dignity—because they erroneously believe God asks them to accept abuse, control, and acts of lust and depravity. The desecration of women, who are beautiful temples of the Holy Spirit, by means of pornography, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, is a form of human sacrifice in our age.
Our God, the God Who Our Lady of Guadalupe revealed to the Aztecs 500 years ago, is a God of love and mercy. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the One True sacrifice. He does not require wives and mothers to sacrifice themselves to the men who vowed to love, cherish, and protect them.
Addressing abuse in all its forms is crucial, for we were created by love, for love, not to harm one another or to be harmed. It is imperative to bring all forms of abuse to the light, including the hidden wounds within abusers themselves. The healing of hearts, marriages, and families is possible.
Our Lady of Guadalupe serves as a messenger of hope to victims, assuring them that she and Jesus stand with them. Victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence are Mother Mary’s living Roses of Tepeyac. Enfolded in her mantle, they will bloom in unexpected places; redeemed, restored, and transformed into a beautiful bouquet for Christ, their Savior and Bridegroom."
Jenny duBay, Trauma-Informed Christian life coach.