Bullets to the Soul

I remember very well how, as a child, I was very amused by the cartoon image in which the character was shot and then tried to drink water as if nothing had happened to him. It was then that the water that he drank came out of all the holes made by the bullets and the character became a kind of sprinkler.

There are so many of us that feel this way at some point in our lives. We fill ourselves with the positive words of other people, their expressions of affection, praise, hugs, caresses, kindness, their love and, nevertheless, all this escapes through the holes of the wounds made by the bullets of life.  No matter how many good things happen to us, they only fill us temporarily. No matter how much love is given to us, it does not satisfy us.

The traumas suffered are the shots that our soul has received, our innocence, our value, our dignity. Our wounds are the holes through which the refreshing water that should give us life escapes. With our wounds unhealed, with the holes uncovered, we will live in constant emotional and psychic dehydration.

"Every time someone tells me that I have done a good job and they show admiration or gratitude for something I have done, I feel very uncomfortable and I respond awkwardly that it is not so bad, that anyone could do it." (Sexual Abuse Survivor)

We are facing a simple case in which we cannot accept praise for something we have done. The fresh water of another person's appreciation does not remain within our being but escapes through unhealed wounds.

Every time someone compliments me or congratulates me on something I have done well, I am overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness and discomfort. I am speechless and awkwardly apologize and imply that it is not so good. Then someone encouraged me to respond with a simple "thank you." This way I avoid rejecting the compliment and, at the same time, there is no time for the feelings that lower my value to assail me. That simple word has become the plug that prevents the water of approval and affirmation that refreshes, regenerates and comforts from escaping. " (Sexual Abuse Survivor)

“Yesterday my friend, who knows me well, she told me that she was going to hug me. She knew I needed a moment to lower my guard. I knew it wasn't going to be a superficial hug. It was going to be one of those that lasted more than six seconds, the kind that touches your soul. She looked me in the face and when I made a gesture of affirmation, she approached me and covered me with love. Little by little I open myself more to physical contact that heals. Human warmth no longer escapes through the holes in my soul. " (Sexual Abuse Survivor)

Many survivors of sexual abuse have memories of the assault on the skin and live in a state of hypervigilance. This makes it difficult to receive physical affection. Part of closing wounds is working on our self-care, accepting the physical warmth and affection of people we can trust.

To talk with other people (in protected environments) about our trauma, to connect with our feelings and live them, understand the consequences of abuse and how they affect us, to free ourselves from the people who attacked us, get professional help and receive from people who love us, to learn to hang out with non-toxic people, etc. They are all ways of closing wounds.

By doing so, little by little, the fresh water that life offers us will not escape us as if we were a sieve. Our health will improve the more hydration we have. We will suffer less emotional fatigue. We will be able to walk longer trails. We will sing beautiful melodies without having a dry throat. We will enjoy the landscape without getting stinging our dry eyes. We will have less chance of fainting and losing consciousness. In short, by drinking water and being able to take advantage of it, we will live longer and better.


Joel de Bruine