The past week or so, my lower back has been achy. I haven’t strained it or injured it in any way. It’s just been achy. I’ve also been down in the dumps. I chalked it up to my dislike of holidays, but something else clicked…
November 28, 1990, I came home from work to my parents’ home. I was tired & had a very busy day. I also had been trying to find somewhere to move to asap during my lunch break with no success. I wasn’t in the best mood. As soon as I walked in my parents’ home, my mother started nitpicking at me. I could tell she wanted a fight & I really didn’t want to give it to her. Eventually, though I snapped. I started yelling back at her. My father got involved briefly, then walked out, leaving me to face 100% of her wrath. I went to grab some things & leave, & my mother followed me, screaming at me the entire time. As I was getting my shoes on by the front door, I saw her eyes turn jet black as they did when something awful was about to happen. Looking back, I believe she wanted to kill me that night. She slammed me into the wall with such force, not only did about every vertebra in my back pop from my tailbone into my neck, I blacked out from pain. There was also a huge hole in the wall. When I came to, I was biting her arm- my head was the only body part I could move, & I guess survival instincts kicked in. She was stunned (as was I), & I took advantage of this opportunity to run out of the house.
For 10 years after this, I suffered with back pain. Also I suffered with my mother telling me & others how I was faking it so I wouldn’t have to work, I was lazy, seeking attention, etc. It was so bad, I wondered many times if she was right. After all, the doctors couldn’t find any physical cause for my pain so maybe she was right.
Thank God for healing the pain in 2000 & showing me that many people who have been through traumatic events suffer with lower back pain with no known physical cause.
So here we are, 26 years after the horrible event & I’m sitting here with an achy back. This is what is known as a body memory.
Body memories exist because our body never forgets things. Our mind may not be able to handle trauma so it “forgets” it for a while (repressed memories), but the body remembers it all.
Body memories can be triggered by many things. For me, it’s usually a date, like this time. But, many other things can cause them as well, such as the way a person touches you reminding you of someone who sexually abused you. The smell of a certain perfume or cologne causes anxiety or depression because it smells like what your abusive parent used to wear.
It can be tempting to ignore body memories. After all, who wants to remember awful events? I sure don’t like thinking about that night my mother threw me into the wall. However, I think they are showing us areas we need further healing in. In a way, this is a good thing. It doesn’t feel like it, but it’s good because we need to know this information so we can heal further & be that much closer to being whole.
When they happen, ask God how to help you to heal. If you don’t remember what caused this particular body memory, then ask Him to reveal it to you when & only when you are able to cope with it. If you do remember, tell Him how it makes you feel. (I find writing in my journal easier than speaking out loud about especially difficult things sometimes). Ask Him to tell you His truth about the event & show you what you need to do for your part to heal. He truly will help you.
I know sometimes body memories can make you feel like you’re crazy, but you truly are NOT crazy, Dear Reader! You are simply someone who has experienced trauma & abuse. It’s only natural there are lasting effects from such things.