Microwave Healing: I Want To Feel Better NOW

Nov 5th, 2010 | By | Category: All Posts, Steps Toward Healing

by Patty Hite

It’s time to face the facts. We live in a microwave world. We want it done and we want it done now. If I can’t put it in the microwave, I don’t want it. Every once in a while I will take the time to stir and mix my ingredients, throw it in the oven and wait a few hours for it to cook. But everyday, something is put in the microwave, a button is pushed, a few seconds later, we are ready to eat.

I find myself expecting this quick fix in every thing I do—my dishwasher, my coffee pot, my convection oven. I have alarms on my phone to remind me to take my pills, a button in my fridge to speed up the ice maker, and finger nail polish that dries in seconds.

This day and age is amazing. Everything is at our fingertips and ready to use straight out of the box. The one thing that isn’t attached to our “microwave way of thinking” is healing from sexual abuse. Although it would be nice to push a button and be done with it, it’s not going to happen that way. I tried. It doesn’t work. Healing takes one step at time and sometimes it seems like it takes forever to get to that one step.

I’ve tried to shorten the path to healing because I am always trying to get from point A to point B, the quickest way I can. I’ve tried everything I can to find a way, any way, but it just doesn’t work. There came a time when I had to quit trying to find the quickest way and just settle down for the long haul. I hated being bothered with it and I got so angry at times that I could have chewed nails. It’s bad enough I was abused and now, I had to relive it in order to heal. It’s not fair, I didn’t deserve it and I hate it, hate it, hate it.

Once I got over the hissy fits, I settled down again to dig in, ready to tackle the next flashback and trigger, never knowing when I would be going about my everyday business and then out of the blue, my body would shake and my heart would pound faster. Suddenly, I was standing in an imaginary fog and in another place because the memories were too consuming for me to absorb at that time and place.

I started carrying paper and pen with me at all times, to write down the things I was feeling or the memories that flashed, because I knew I would forget them by the time I got home. I would dissociate from the memories of the memories. And when I read my notes and I remembered the flashbacks, I pondered on it for days because I didn’t want to face it again. Those days were spent in torment because of the fear of revisiting my past. I couldn’t sleep, eat or carry on a conversation with anyone. My body shook, my mind ran a mile a minute and I could feel myself slipping away, trying to find a safe place to hide.

After many years of this, I finally said, “to hell with it” and realized that the best thing I could do was face it and dig in till it’s over. Instead of living in the fear of triggers, flashbacks and nightmares, I welcomed them. I had to admit to myself that fearing the unknown was worse than the abuse I lived through. I used to live in fear everyday from the abuse, and now I was living in fear of remembering the abuse. Enough is enough!

Although they’re painful, they are really only memories. I had already lived through the abuse. Everything I revisited has already been seen, heard and touched. I lived through the fear, the physical scars and the emotional ones. They can’t hurt me anymore. No one is going to physically invade my memories or my dreams. They are gone; they are not in my home. I am not that little girl nor am I that ‘valueless’ woman. There is no need to fear my healing. I can welcome it.

Instead of fighting it and being afraid of triggers, I had to get to the root of those things that crossed my life path and start to walk down the right path. I used to be so sensitive about things I read—things that would cause triggers. I desensitized my world to make it comfortable and trigger-free. I hid from my past and wanted to postpone my healing. I wanted my healing to be pain-free and thought if I waited long enough, it wouldn’t hurt as bad. But, it doesn’t go away and healing does hurt.

But healing hurt is different than the actual abuse—this hurt has better results. This pain frees me and I come away from it stronger. Instead of feeling weaker and more useless, I feel empowered. I love myself a little more each time and fear is further behind me. I welcome triggers now. I actually get excited because I know the end results. I celebrate and sometimes I do the happy dance. I can’t wait to tell my husband and share with others. Instead of dreading it, I’m excited about it. I can watch movies, read books, and hear stories about abuse with compassion instead of fear.

I used to hide how long I have been in the process of healing because I didn’t want to discourage others. I wanted to bring hope and encourage Survivors to heal, not make them feel like they will be spending the rest of their lives learning who they really are and learning to loving themselves. But I think it is vital to our healing that we understand there is no quick fix. I look at it as an attitude education class at the “Abuse Healing School.” The more I study, the better grades I get and the quicker I graduate.

I may not be able to push a button and heal instantly, but instead of looking for my faults, I am looking at how far I have come. I can think clearly, make decisions and turn off my lights when I go to bed. I’m not afraid to go out in public and my dissociation is far and few between. I love who I am now, and actually enjoy cooking the old fashion way. If my microwave did break…I would be okay.

Related Posts:
Preparing To Heal From Sexual Abuse

As a survivor of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, Patty Hite has been tenaciously pursuing her healing for over thirty years. She’s a passionate advocate for all survivors and dedicates her life to inspiring emotional wholeness in others. As a former victim of spousal abuse, she’s delighted to find true love with her husband of ­­­­five years. She’s blessed with four children and six grandchildren.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this Patty. I can identify with wanting it to be over. Sometimes I still get impatient with my progress, but I’m seeing such encouraging fruit from the work I’ve already done. It’s taken some time, but it’s so worth it. Thanks for telling the truth about healing. Hugs, Christina

  2. Christina,

    Thanks. I put so much pressure on myself by wanting a quick fix and wasted so much energy, and thinking I was a failure at healing. it’s so much easier now and I am getting so much out of it.

    ((hugs))) Patty

  3. This is the most excellent post Patty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I went through so much of this too! Hated the thought of having to put the time in and so afraid to face the pain, (the fear of what it might be like) and afraid to let go of it too, and afraid that I was wrong, (like they always said I was) and really in the end I was afraid to really live. To spread my wings and fly in case I failed and in so doing, proved that “they” were right about me.
    Thankyou so much for sharing this wonderful post! I love love love it!
    Hugs! Darlene

  4. Thank you Darlene.

    I wish I would have had someone tell me that healing isn’t easy. I think maybe it’s the word “healing” that had me fooled, because healing to me seems like it should be pain free and up hill. It gets easier now and the rewards have been fantastic, but I am still looking for that button every once in a while. lol


  5. Excellent post Patty, very well worded and a reminder that the value in a healing journey is the healing journey – not being at ‘the end’. The more I’ve worked on healing the more confident, and alternately terrified, I’ve become in letting the work be done at a pace I can do for my own healing. We cannot put a pace or a time on healing – as long as we are engaged and doing the healing things we need we are moving forward.

    Your words resonated with me deeply and I wanted to thank you for that!\

  6. This comment may be off topic so please feel free to delete if you feel this is not applicable to this discussion…

    This paragraph stood out to me Patty: “Once I got over the hissy fits, I settled down again to dig in, ready to tackle the next flashback and trigger, never knowing when I would be going about my everyday business and then out of the blue, my body would shake and my heart would pound faster. Suddenly, I was standing in an imaginary fog and in another place because the memories were too consuming for me to absorb at that time and place.”

    The thing for me was that I was willing to do the work when I turned to the mental health system in 1992. I remember insisting that the trauma that I had experienced recently in leaving my violent husband and church that had insisted his abuse was my fault (I hadn’t even begun to look at the past) had something to do with why I couldn’t sleep and was living in chronic hypervigelance, the panic attacks, the nightmares. And while PTSD was always a part of the file it was never part of any “treatment plan”. I was instead given drugs that then induced symptoms by their toxic side effects and these were then used to validate “illness”.

    It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to be taken off the drugs in 2007 and connect with a therapist who was also a trauma survivor/cult survivor that I learned how to do this kind of work. For 15+ years I firmly believed that I was “sick” as in biologically broken and unfixable. It was in learning to recognize the symptoms of the trauma response and that I could learn to “go through” to “get out of” that pain that finally freed me…and it didn’t take another 15 years. :)

  7. Shanyn,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words and I am glad this blog was meaningful for you. I think it’s great that you have settled in with your healing and understand the importance of taking your time and doing it at your pace. It is so much easier that way and not so overwhelming and with many more results.

    Thank you again and appreciate you sharing,


  8. Susan,

    Thank you for sharing and I can understand totally how you felt after leaving your abusive ex. Most of my trauma was as an adult and with my abusive ex. My healing mostly involved the effects of his abuse along with the emotions and denial I hid for all those years.

    I am so glad that you are on the right track for healing and have a great therapist. One who understands. Sounds like you are doing great and on the right road. I am so happy for you. Life gets better and life can be a wonderful thing.

    The best to you always, Patty

  9. Finally got to reading this today. Knew it needed to be a time when I could sit on it a bit, tee hee.
    How nice it would be just to remember it al and deal with it and get it done quick!
    The paragraph Susan quoted resonated with me as well, I also think of the words of fog, pain, torment, meds, etc. and all those associated with trauma…. and am left to wonder somewhat if many diagnoses out there are actually a root issue of truama…. ie. fibro, bipolar, myo-wwhatever pain, chronic fatigue, all a friends’ diagnoses… then my own stuff…. seizures from 11 to 21, hashimotos/immune destruction of thyroid, chronic pain and numbness and nerve twitches, depression, etc. Are all these actually from trauma that needs to be worked thru, courage needed to grasp to go thru remembering and dealing?

    Are many of us in isolation mode? Reading, writing, computer posting/reading, therapy, support group?, etc. and I am left to wonder if anyone out there also never seems to get anything else done around the house above that and managing kids’ lives. I am to start looking for work in January and just wonder how it will all come together. Sigh.

  10. Amen sister! So true. Gosh, If I could just pull a Sleeping Beauty and nap through this life would just be dreamy. But imagine all the things we would miss learning about ourselves if we rushed through these tough moments?

  11. Lisa,

    I think we have barely touched on all the effects of abuse and how it harms us emotionally and physically. I believe that everything we do in healing will benefit us in every aspect of our lives. I used to suffer from migraines but all of a sudden, they stopped. It actually took me a few years to realize that I have been migraine free and the only thing I can figure out is somewhere, I broke the attachment thru healing.

    Another one was nightmares. I used to lay in bed at night and shake, afraid to fall asleep because the nightmares seems so real to me. Out of the blue, they stopped.

    There were periods of time in my life when I sought out isolation, but I wasn’t allowed to have it because I had to work in order to survive. Raising the kids was just another gift that forced me to continue on. There were times I just wanted to crawl in the closet and be left totally alone. I finally learned how to take time for myself and still be able and function in the outside world.

    Hang in there and good luck on finding a job in Jan. Sometimes the fear of having to do something is worse than the actual thing. ((hug))

  12. Hey Bethany girl,

    I agree. Although I have gotten so frustrated with the time it is taking, I also loved finding me. Getting to know me got easier and better and I look forward to finding that hidden treasure that still remains.

    ((( hug))

  13. This is such an amazing post!

    I am in that area of fearing flashbacks. It sucks, because there are many movies I want to see, but am afraid to because I am afraid that a scene may trigger a flashback.

    I have also gotten frustrated at how long this takes. I have yelled at myself in the past, asking why I can’t just “get over this and move on”. I do realize that this will take a long time, but I do still wish for this to be over.

  14. Lisa,

    Thank you. I understand how you feel. it seems like it will never end, but it does. One thing that helped me so much, was to not fear triggers. I know that they are scary, because we never know what is going to come out of them but I learned to talk them down, the same way I talked down my anxiety attacks.

    I realized that the fear is what controlled me. I would tell myself, “I am not afraid of flashbacks” ” I am not afraid” ” I am looking thru adult eyes….. I am no longer a child……….. And then it got so much easier. I’m not saying that the memories weren’t hurtful, and I cried and grieved, got angry……. all the emotions that I needed to…… but they weren’t compounded with the extra load of fear.

    Hope this helps and triggers will not be as fearful to you……. It gets easier. It really does.

  15. Where you wrote this ‘I would dissociate from the memories of the memories.’ really struck a chord with me today. In the last while I’ve been having memories coming back and mid way through trying to get them out I disappear, or afterwards, or before. It’s making it difficult to hold on and stay focused, and I’m thinking this is going to take longer than I expect to allow them to surface and release. I figure that I didn’t experience them fully when they happened as I dissociated at the time and that’s why now the release is happening. Also I’m managing to say much of what’s happened in relation to my whole life I’ve realised, but little of what’s going on right now as these memories are from when I was so little. I’m frustrated at myself – that I can’t just say them, accept them and when they come I want them to go away. Also they come in different forms, some I remember from out of my body, some because I feel them physically, and some rise up from a distinct sense of unease or upset I get now and then I just remember, Others I see a snapshot of an experience I had like sitting on a plastic red bus I had as a toddler, and behind it is all the other stuff and when the other stuff comes up I react very badly – I judge it, I say it’s wrong , I’m quite harsh and then some sensitive part of me retreats along way away and refuses to co-operate.
    I want the memories to come clear, but I’m guessing my psyche knows what I can and can’t handle, and why some things are still wrapped in so much fog

  16. This idea of instant gratification is something I wonder if other survivors experience. The feeings of anger, rage and anxiety were so overwhelming that I sought out “soothing” experiences that were only self-destructive. This article has helped in trying to face those flashbacks and those feelings of humiliation that I had experienced during the abuse. I love the title of living in a microwave world! That’s what I try to do with myself, but it won’t happen. I need to give myself patience and compassion.

  17. We tend to minimise what happened to us we pretend that it didnt matter that it doesnt matter. A child who feels it is their own fault or that they should have stopped the abuse somehow is unlikely to tell anyone about the abuse. Many of us are unaware of the huge influence that childhood abuse continues to have in our adult lives.

  18. Wow! Thank you – thank you – thank you!!!

    Unfortunately my drug and alcohol abuse is my microwave button, and it’s out of order, has been since I was 11 years old. And it never helped in anyway…problem was – it wasn’t just my propensity to over indulge in alcohol and drugs that left me seeking a new microwave button – it was the sexual abuse that I suffered at that age that started the process of drinking and using drugs.

    This healing process is so new to me and I’m so glad to run into resources like this. Glad to see the resources for men are starting to really show up. Glad to hear from the women in the world that have had to suffer but who are now on their respective paths of healing.

    Thanks Patty for sharing!

  19. After working for a health insurance company, I KNOW most diagnoses are baloney. You can’t get them to pay for it unless it has a name applied to it and one of the ICD codes to match it. If you don’t have that, the doctor isn’t getting paid, and he’s not treating what he isn’t getting paid to treat.
    My experience working w/ health insurance left nothing less than everything to be desired. It was the worst job I ever had, well the second worst. In fact this will upset all kinds of people but I don’t even believe in the diagnosis DID. Why? B/c it’s just two other diagnoses reinvented and that’s all I’m saying about it, b/c I didn’t come to start a flame war, and I probably won’t change my mind about the diagnosis anyway.
    I work in health care, and I think it qualifies me to know at least something about the type of things that go on in that arena. But if someone thinks they have it, then fine. They have it. I just don’t believe I do, b/c I already have the other two diagnoses from which this new one has sprung.
    I prefer to deal w/ people as individuals, b/c I’m tired of being treated like my mental and physical health labels are preceding me into a room. But that’s just how I personally feel about it.
    Nobody in my family has ever seen past labels. The entire person becomes her entire label, and then they treat you according to their ridiculous prejudices formed around the label, and I’m sick of it.
    I’m so tired of it, I have practically no contact w/ them b/c they either refuse or are unable to change how they act about it.

  20. wow that blog just spoke to me in so many ways . i find my self pressuring my self to heal like yesterday.
    from my passed abuse . i want to pop myself into a micrwave and heal rights now from my passed . i find even family members saying stuff that thats the passed just get over it , what will be will be . i just cant heal that fast. my mothers been dead sents this passed march and i find myself in such a deep depression i cant find my way out of the dark hole . i feel so many mixed feeling about both of my parents death and i feel at times detached about my feeling about my mother .i just feel no one cared back when i was a child and the same is now i dont matter and i never did matter . i dont know how to snap out of this darkness called depression iam in . i find myself staying away from my family and the few friends i have i havent let my self really cry from losing something i never had to begin with a mother ,a mother that loved me like i love my daughter a mother to make all my pain go away a mother that never exsised in my life , even a grand mother i couldnt turn to her to kiss my pain away like a mother or grand mother should instead i got a grand mother that blamed me for the abuse i got when i got raped . i learned early in life i was on my own when it came to hidding the pain deep inside . it hurts to feel such aloneness . i try to turn to god , so many feel i need to be in church . i dont feel i can even turn to my chuch. i just feel so alone with my abuse and my friend named depression . i dont know if my feels are normal but my depression is so deep and dark . i havent gone to councling sents after may , i dont have insurance and now i dont quilty for the councling that was really helping me . so i try to blog . sorry iam all over the place with my coment .i just dont know ow to get threw this darkness its the darkness ive felted in a long time i hate feeling this way . i dont like the things i feel , so say a prayer for me . thanks karla

  21. Karla,

    I’m so sorry that you are feeling so depressed.

    When those who are suppose to love and nurture us, don’t, there is a sadness that happens and it can be so deep. The little chiild inside of us grieves. And when we are adults, we are still grieving for what should have been.

    There are times I used to get depressed because of my family. It hurts when they don’t validate my abuse and be comforting and loving. Instead, they want me to get over it. But, they don’t want me to get over it for me, they want me to stop talking about it, because of them. They don’t want to hear it. And that saddens me at times. I am getting better when confronted like that from them. Because now, I get angry. And that is ok. I need to be angry about my abuse. And I need to be angry that my family doesn’t care.

    Being angry helped me with depression and sadness. It doesn’t mean I scream and holler at them, I just scream and holler at things that won’t get hurt. Pillows, a tree I can kick. I have also written about my anger and my sadness and how I was unjustly treated. That helps me a lot. I have to get it out. I write letters to them. I don’t mail them, but there is a freedom in telling them exactly how I feel.

    I would also like to invite you to our Facebook page. It’s a support group with lots of help and full of other Survivors who feel the same way you do. Being able to talk about our pain and the things we are going thru with others who understand can be a great help.

    I also believe that trying to hide the pain is why we are in pain all the time. I need to get my pain out in the open. Face it and validate it. That is the only way I can be happy. Keeping it hidden keeps the abuse hidden and a secret. Holding all those feelings in is not healthy for any of us. We deserve to express our feelings and by doing so, it can stop depression and sadness.


  22. Patty ,
    thank you so much for your compassion and kind words . thank god for your web site i think its kepted me sain for the most part and for my courage to write my books my family doesnt want me to post our ”dirty laundry in my books, but its my way of healing i have to heal or i feel like i will die . and this week my depression makes me feel i am near death , and for a very long time ive hidden my feeling of wanting to really die . so i try to talk to my self and keep those death thoughts away .. i dont know how to talk about all of it its more than just my childhood abuse its the things ive had to go threw with my new marrage i feel so alone with all ive had to face in 6 years of marrage , i just feel this rock(me) is cracking with depression i just cant hol my family up any more all ive had to go threw my husband got hurt one year after we married and so many things ive lost . i just feel i dnt have it for him holding him up with all weve both had to face . theres just so much i cant talk about with him fighting workers comp. theres just so much stress i have no one to talk to about any of this . i cant see my councler i used to talk to becalse of money . i just pray every day to wake up a better day , i keep saying its got to get better than this .ive just been so depressed i cant dig out of it . i keep reminding my self ive got my daughter to live for and my husband and most of all writting my next books . i just feel like i am drowing in the big ocean and all ive have but a little floatie . thanks for your kind words if you pray keep me in your prayers iam not in it for a pitty party but my deperssion is so bad i cant see day light thanks

  23. Karla,

    I wish I could do something to help you. And being unable to talk to someone is so hard. Are there any survivor’s groups near you? I would also like to invite you to our facebook page. Overcoming Sexual Abuse. it’s a way to connect with other Survivors. People who understand and can help. If you don’t want your name posted, you can use a false name. But I know it’s important to be able to connect with people who understand. I love it and it’s helped me so much.

    it may help you Karla. Get your mind off of some of the pain you are feeling and also validate that others understand how you feel. You are important and your feelings are important. I care and there are others who care. When we don’t have family to hold us up and talk to, we need others who will. I have seen many who feel the way you do right now, change and be happy and are able to see the light of day.

    I’m hoping for you and believing in you. Please take care of yourself. Do something for you. You are valuable. Patty

  24. Thanx Pattie! I love your post. I think it explains in a great and simple way what it means to heal. If you dont mind, I will share it with the woman I follow in my theme group for Sexual abuse and assault victims.

  25. Rose,

    I’m glad you liked it and please share. Glad you have a support group, too. They are the best!!! Patty

  26. I agree, healing is truly a progressive and perpetual process that is unique to each person. No two people are exactly the same and no two abuse scenarios are the same or cause the same emotional, physical, mental and spiritual after-effects. Thus, the healing process is very different for everyone. I personally am proud of my progressive healing, even as an advocate. I find it makes others feel comfortable knowing we are all “healed and being healed” rather than that there is some level to reach that i unattainable to them. With that being said, I applaud your honesty an openness. Blessings!

  27. Malachi,

    I agree: ” I personally am proud of my progressive healing, even as an advocate. I find it makes others feel comfortable knowing we are all “healed and being healed” rather than that there is some level to reach that i unattainable to them”

    Healing means changing and I am happy to change everyday if needed. I’ve told others that they can “be healed” anytime they want, but thinking that way will only cause them to miss out on the chance to change. So, I prefer, “I’m still healing.”

    Thanks for sharing. Patty

  28. So my story started in high school. We ended up in a relationship that was filled with manipulation. He did everything he could to convince me I was less than him or that because I didn’t want to do these things, it meant I didn’t love him. All I wanted was my fairy tale, to be loved and respected. Our time was filled with abusing me sexually, mentally and some physical abuse. I kept trying to make excuses by saying deep down there was a good person. Now, 7 years later, married to a wonderful man, I’m starting to be consumed by the memories. Waking up my husband because I’m having nightmares, and days filled with uncontrollable lows. I continuously pick at all the things that are wrong with me. I hate feeling this way, I hate that my husband is having to deal with the fallout from the torment I was put through. How do I put things behind me and stop being so angry. Not just for my husband but for my own happiness with myself?

  29. Lex,

    The only way I have been able to find happiness with myself was to face the flashbacks from my abuse. When I was abused, even as a child, I learned how to cope with the pain thru out my life. My emotions were hidden, especially anger, and I neglected myself. I felt unworthy because of the abuse. In order to heal I had to revisit those times and show myself that I am safe now, it is ok to be angry and I have a right to feel the pain of it. I write about it, talk about it and grieve, cry and do what ever I need to in order to face the pain of what I have been thru. As far as sharing these things with my husband, I do it so he can support me. Him being a part of your pain helps him to understand just how traumatic it was.

    We can try to put these things behind us, but the truth is, that they will never go away and I’ve found that by facing them, it helps me to gain power over them. Instead of being afraid, I can now see that I didn’t deserve to be abused.

  30. Thank you so much for this sight. I am a recovering alcholic. I am also trying to face my past sexual abuse from childhood. It effects every area of my life at the age of 46. I just can’t seem to reach my emotions. What happened to me as a kid seems to me like a picture on the wall and has no meaning to it. A lot of it I don’t remember. I have had night terrors since I was 15. I just wrote this poem last night and would like to share it if I could: A Turtle in a shell

    Like a turtle who crawls in its shell,
    When they come out nobody can Tell!!
    I want to Curl into a ball,
    And close myself off to all!!!
    I never want to come back out,
    My past is what it is all about!!!
    I inflict pain on the outside,
    To relieve pain on the inside!
    Because I am so unattached
    From my emotions,
    It is hard for me to have
    Any devotion!!!
    God help tear down that wall,
    So I can just ball!!!
    Emotions are how we let things go,
    God help make this so!!
    I want to be whole,
    Clear down to my soul!!
    If I could just cry,
    I would not feel like I was going
    To die!!
    God help me to feel,
    So I can begin to heal!!!

    Thank you so much for this sight.

  31. Thank you for sharing!!! I was beginning to think there was no hope for me. I just want this to be over. I want to be normal again. I want to go out in public without shaking. I was going like a freak nature. I still hate this process but I take it second by second.

  32. This is so true. I’ve spent many years wondering why therapy didn’t help me feel better. I really rebelled in therapy because I thought I could just try to dump everything and feel better right away. I think I was looking for the microwave/trash compactor method to healing. Now, I am fighting the war and dedicating as much energy as possible to the battles. The more I accept the battles, the harder I fight during therapy, the more time I can actually write and reflect and talk and practice what I’ve learned, the better I feel.

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