Using your Scars

Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 3-4-2021

“You can heal, but there will always be a scar. And that scar should serve as your lifelong reminder, always. -EaE

You are ignoring many emotional battles and issue’s in your life, there is no doubt about it. I am as well, and we cycle in and out of this throughout our years. If you have ever numbed out, intellectualized, distracted yourself, medicated, avoided something and immersed yourself into the next step while ignoring what clearly destroyed and scarred a part of your heart, soul, mind or physical being, you are doing a disservice to yourself. By ignoring these issue’s, you are not even allowing yourself to scar, you are just bleeding, slowly. Sometimes unbeknownst to yourself. I say it all the time, functional does not mean fine. Forcing yourself to pick up and carry on with an open mental wound leaves us in a state of injury that will prevail and sabotage any amount of happiness we might hope to have.

I must say it time and time again, we cannot ignore mental pain anymore than physical, we must feel it, allow the healing and use our scars as a template of truth. A question I want to pose: Would you rather live in blissful ignorance, or painful truth? As fun as it may sound, blissful ignorance hurts us chronically. We will get complacent, we will ignore our intuition and emotions that tell us something is wrong with this picture. Blissful ignorance will ultimately keep us from exploring ourselves and others. It’s a beautiful and gleaming trap, but it’s an emotional death sentence. To live in painful truth means to be emotionally open to the inevitable pain that we will get subjected to, it’s the ultimate vulnerability. It will make us wonder why the hell we get into what we get into, but it will give us the necessarily scars/ humbling we need to grow wiser and protect ourselves.

Call it an adaptation to chronic neglect, abuse, abandonment and military trauma, but I had developed what I thought was the perfect system to life in my earlier twenties. I was known as a ‘high speed’ troop that had all my shit together. Fast burner (ranked up quick), a smile on my face most days of the week, a ‘stable’ relationship, good college student etc. My routine was to function through all professional development, ignore my chronic depression and traumas, then go home, isolate and eat my feelings away while watching Netflix and crying. This was my normal, and I figured perhaps it was everyone elses too. I didn’t have much of a template to compare this too, as my entire family had been emotionally numbed out. It was a family that lacked emotional expression and focused all conversations on mundane daily life, job prospects, or dissociated completely into a television set. If I did have scars, I wouldn’t have known it. My emotions proved otherwise, but my social conditioning never allowed me to explore this part of myself.

Scars are a favor, rock bottom is a favor. I want to reframe these crucial part of our lives to allow us to see that it is that blessing in disguise that gives us the opportunity to slow down, self reflect, self heal and learn. However, these things only happen if we are truly paying attention and using the scars for what they are meant for: reminders of injury. Every scar has a trail of lesson’s. Ex: My scar on my side reminds me of the apartment where it happened, that apartment reminds me of physical abuse inflicted on me as a 4 year old from my mother’s boyfriend. That memory reminds me of a traumatized parent that was not equipped for parenthood and often highly negligent. This very fact reminds me that I lacked a secure attachment in childhood, which makes me highly aware of my personal abandonment issues. These abandonment issue’s have and will impact relationships, friendships and possible parenthood. One scar, tells me all this.

Though that example originally stemmed from a physical scar, there are many emotional scars attached. Emotional scars are very well hidden and often can only be revealed to us in the form of what we call ‘triggers’. A trigger is what happens to a person when something or someone from their external environment leads them into a state of emotional dysregulation or distress. This is where we have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves if we can slow it down and process where/ how/ why it’s happening. Unfortunately when a trigger episode happens, people tend to react. In the therapy room, I encourage people to pause. There is a crucial millisecond between what happens to us and how we react, this is the the second where we must freeze and reflect if we want to learn/ grow. How can we know ourselves truly, if we cannot acknowledge just how much something is hurting us? We can’t!

Exploring your scars/ questions to ask yourself:

-What caused this? Why?

-How did it hurt me?

-What did I learn?

-Did I prevent it from happening again? Or did I get reinjured over and over again?

-Does this emotional injury cause me to lash out in new situations?

-Am I projecting this pain onto others and scarring them too?

-Or am I translating this pain into a healthier direction?

-Can I live with myself while having this scar and recognize that it is NOT the ultimate definition of who I am?

I highly encourage everyone to drop denial from time to time. Drop the projects, drop the distractions, drop the phone, get off the drugs for a second (or learn to take the proper drugs!!), self reflect, put in the work! Because getting to know yourself will be the best thing you ever do. Seeing the scar as a lesson vs something to avoid for eternity will be the best thing you ever do.

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

One thought on “Using your Scars

  1. I have no words to express my emotions right now. They are to raw. This blog makes me see my scars and many I haven’t come to full terms with. Some have healed some have scabbed over and some are still bleeding. I’m a diffidently a person whose scars a template still searching for healing

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: