Dancing in the Shadows by Laura Bryannan

Chapter 17


Survivors seem to have things programmed in one of two ways: either they are in touch with their grief but not their anger--their grief "sits" on their anger and keeps it safely hidden away. Or they are in touch with their anger but not their grief--their anger "sits" on top of their grief and keeps it from coming up. Both emotions must eventually find their place in the survivor's emotional repertoire to reach fullest healing. Here is one meditation to help bring up these emotions.

Nursery Meditation

Telling Your Story

One of the best ways to bring up repressed emotion is to tell a loving group of people the story of your abuse. This is not something to be done casually, or early in the course of a group's work together, especially if the women were strangers to begin with. However, if everyone in the group decides they know and trust each other enough, and feel love for each other, they may want to spend a session telling their story.

As in the above meditation, as each woman tells her story, the others in the group should sit quietly and listen without interruptions or interpretations. Hearing about the painful events in each woman's past will stir up strong emotional reactions in the listeners. If anyone in the group is moved to tears or anger this should not be discouraged. Since most therapists have great poker faces, this may be the first time the storyteller ever witnessed an emotional reaction to her experiences; it may be the first time she herself realizes the wrenching sadness and pain of her childhood. Experiencing others cry or get angry over their story can be a big breakthrough for some survivors--it may finally give them permission to feel these emotions for themselves.

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Last Updated: 1 feb 99
Laura Bryannan