My Steps to Healing – Step 1 – Asking the right questions

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in adult survivor of child abuse, healing | 0 comments

I have found that when we are healing from an abusive background, we seem to be always healing. From the big and nasty to the little and annoying.  It’s a life-long process of peeling back layers, like an onion and healing each layer as they present themselves.  Some of those layers can sting the eyes, resulting in tears, and complete obliteration of a box of tissue, but we heal and get stronger.

Some of the layers can be detrimental to our relationships and interactions with others if they are not healed.  They will impact us daily, potentially causing a downward spiral effect.  This is the stuff that can get big and nasty.

Recently, I became aware of one of my big and nasty layers. This awareness occurred due to a failed attempt in communicating with a guy at a car dealership.  It wasn’t a big event, it was a simple service appointment phone call. However, to my inner child, it was epic, difficult, and scary.  I realized that this was a repetitive issue in my life.  Once I became aware of this pattern, I was ready to heal this layer, and move forward.

When I broke it down, I saw that I had a severe issue with talking to men, period.  It brought me great stress, my brain locked down with no basic ability to speak, and I was constantly intimidated. This resulted in feeling awkward for both myself, and for the gentleman whom I was trying to communicate with.  If I already knew the man and trusted him, then this did not happen.  I was myself:  relaxed, witty, mildly sarcastic, and intelligent. I knew the root was due to past childhood sexual abuse, but I needed to know why it affected me like this.

Once I could determine the right “Why?” questions, then I could move on to the next step, which was getting the right answers.

I wrote down all the questions that came to mind when I thought about this issue, using what I call the Brainstorm Bubble Chart:

  • On a piece of paper, I wrote down the core layer, or issue, in the center of the sheet.  For this one, it was “Fear of Men”, and circled it.
  • Next, I wrote down any and all questions that came to my mind, in different spots on the paper, drawing a circle around each one to keep them separated.
  • Once I was done writing down everything that came to mind, no matter how big, small, silly, or serious it seemed, I took that proverbial deep breath, and read what I wrote down.
  • From this, I determined the most common questions or most repeated questions that were just worded differently.
  • I took these most common, or repeated questions and identified the core questions that I really needed to ask myself.


(An example of a Brainstorm Bubble Chart I did when I was working on my fear of success.
Yes, it’s messy but brainstorming isn’t supposed to be orderly!)


The core questions I was able to identify:

1.  Why do men scare me?
2.  Why do men intimidate me?
3.  Why can’t I communicate the way I want to?
3.  What are the base emotions that I’m feeling when this happens?

When we allow ourselves to start asking questions, it is the first step towards healing a layer of our own personal onion. The next step is to get the right answers.  I’ll be covering this in the next blog post: My Steps to Healing – Step 2 – Getting the Right Answers.  Watch for it for next week!

Blessings to you,
Heather Durling, The Phoenix Gathering
“One Starfish at a Time”

copyright 2014 The Phoenix Gathering.  All rights reserved.

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