“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard
This year, I have started letting go of the past and making an effort to heal. My letter is part of that reflection. It feels like one of those “two steps forward, three steps back” things. Sometimes it’s necessary to step into the past.
I felt like I had packed my bags and lived in the past for years
I replayed all the pain over and over again. Staying stuck in victim mode I asked myself the following questions.
“Why the hell did this have to happen to me?”
“I don’t understand, why couldn’t my mom act like a real mom?”
“Why did my dad hit me?”
Being stuck in that place can feel like hell.
I have been so cynical
I have been so cynical and I always questioned the motives of everyone. There was a belief inside of me that everyone was out to get me, to try and hurt me. So, I hurt myself before anyone else could beat me to it.
I have been so scared, that I continued to be a shell of who I was. There was fear that someone would break down my walls. My fear also included making friends, and looking stupid. So, I hid (and still do sometimes), my feelings down deep inside.
Who am I?
But who am I? Well, I’m still in some ways the same person before I left home. I still love animals, and would still run into the street to save a dog. There is still a love in my heart for biscuits and gravy, and I still watch horror movies. Those things have stayed the same.
What’s different? I can look to the past now without breaking down. I don’t spend every hour thinking about what happened, and I joined a group on Facebook called Bounce Back After Childhood Abuse. I’ve found an amazing YouTube channel about mental health that has done wonders for me.
What I’ve learned about myself
Also, I’ve learned that I am not defective and have learned that there are so many people like me, and they have accomplished so much. I’ve learned that it’s okay to open up though I admittedly still have some fear about doing so. Now I know that a parent’s love has the most profound effect on a child.
Sometimes when I’m watching a movie. I get teary-eyed over scenes of moms and their kids playing, together or doing homework, or reading bedtime stories. But it doesn’t break my heart anymore. It’s kind of a slight sadness.
Letting go of the past
It’s time to let go of what could have been. The past is the past and it’s gone. For abuse survivors it can be very difficult to believe you’ll ever feel “normal” or “whole”.
It is exhausting to always be angry and looking to blame the one who hurt you. Every survivor is different, but I hope we can all someday see that though we were hurt in the PAST, that part of our lives is over.
In no way am I saying “Get Over It”
What I’m saying we are living NOW.
The past can only hurt us if we let it. It’s tricky, but this is where thought awareness comes into play. When we realize the past is done and we control our lives now, it can go a long way toward healing ourselves. Healing is what survivors deserve more than anything else.
Reproduced with permission, originally published here