“For this reason it took a long time to open up to Sarah. When I finally started to let Sarah into my world, it was at a time when I was uncovering memories that were particularly painful and wrenching. In one therapy session, I remembered some very violent and sadistic activities in which I had been forced to participate. I recalled having cloth put around my neck, then a rope on top of the cloth (apparently to prevent leaving a rope mark). I was then hung by my neck until I passed out.
“Included in the same memory, I saw my older sister being held at knifepoint. I was told that I needed to cooperate and participate in something horrible or they would kill my sister. After discovering these memories I thought I was completely insane. I could not imagine that anyone would hang a child by the neck, so I thought of these memories as somehow the product of a crazy mind - mine!” (My Tears Fall Inside, page 126-127)
Sometimes we can “know” people for many years without really knowing them. They do not let us into their real world. Since that was the way I handled nearly every relationship for most of my life, I had done the same thing with Sarah. Until this time, she had no idea of what I was actually going through, even though she had known me for a very long time.
How can we develop trusting relationships with others so they can feel safe enough to open up to us and we can be a loving support to them?