Going back to move forward

From reading the many meme’s wishing they could forget, people seem to believe that forgetting is the key to moving forward.  Interestingly, I had to go back and remember for me to go forward.  I needed to know what happened so I could understand my reaction and behavior today.  I needed to process past hurts to put current challenges back into proportion.  If I over reacted, which I did often, almost always there was something from my past that was unresolved in the same area.  A key piece to accepting myself is to accept my past.  Fortunately, I had an excellent counselor that guided me through this process.  He encouraged me not to get stuck in my past after telling my story.  I needed to tell my past stories to make room in my life to create new stories.  AA is another place that encourages people to look at their past to move forward.  One of the steps is to take a moral inventory of your life.  I believe telling my secrets that I held since I was 5 years old was a tremendous relief to put down the burdens I carried since childhood.  Burdens that didn’t belong to me in the first place but shoddy behavior of abusers that believed blaming the victim absolves them of their crimes.  My story took years to tell because I buried it so deep that I couldn’t easily access the information.  Many a counseling session left me totally drained and exhausted from the struggle of extracting my story from my own forgetting.  A simple start to telling your story is to write your earliest memories then move forward through time.  If you have nightmares, write about those too.  If you have intrusive thoughts that pester you write those too.  I do recommend keeping this information in a secure place.  My counselor did recommend that I reserve the remembering process to his office. Not as a secret but as a self protection for me.  Not everyone will respect my story.  Not everyone will understand what my past means to me.  Not everyone was safe to tell.  I needed to decide carefully who can handle the information.  My experience last summer of a counselor assuring me she understood PTSD then by the second session questioning the validity of my story that I spent years reconstructing.  She later claimed she believed me but her body language told another story.  I believe one of the values of counseling that I experienced was a safe place to tell my story and be validated.  I am thankful for a counselor that had the ability to do that for me.

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