Early in our marriage my husband and I moved around to other parts of the country. Leaving family, friends and jobs behind. We tried different places and different occupations and raised a family. In the process of moving, I discovered most people really don’t want to know all that much about you. You can become a friend to everyone by listening. I could listen. I didn’t think I had a story to tell. I talked about current events and future plans. I didn’t mention my past….ever. It is easy not to talk about your past when you don’t remember it. Years past….moved back to the area I grew up in. People wanted to reconnect with me and talk about my past. I avoided anyone that tried to talk about my past. They would start out, “Do you remember__________________________?” After the 3rd or 4th ‘no’ they broke off the conversation. When our children started moving out, I felt we needed to work on our marriage relationship. Tried a marriage class…did not go well for many reasons. Biggest reason, I had no idea what they were talking about on boundaries, how men and women behave, and other topics seemed like a foreign language to me. So we started marriage counseling. Several weeks went by. I let my husband do most of the talking. I did what I was asked to do but the results of the homework didn’t go as expected. The counselor suggested I join a group of women healing from abuse. The group leader told us not to share our stories and we were going to move forward from where we were. Messed up. I would go to group meeting then go to counseling and tell him how messed up I felt I was doing. I started taking over talking in the counseling sessions instead of just listening. My counselor asked me to tell about my childhood, I had nothing to say since I didn’t remember most of it. I felt irritated that he thought I needed to drag up a past I already forgotten. I was so clueless. I didn’t understand that the key to moving forward is knowing where you came from with a clear idea of where you want to go. For abuse survivors, there is a certain amount of surveying the damage to see what needs to be repaired. Fortunately, my counselor did understand the need for me to tell my story. Slow going when I had nothing to work with. When I finally started to talk, I began with what I could remember. The interesting thing about the human mind, if you can start somewhere, more and more pieces will be added. I still felt there was little value in delving into the past when I wanted to move forward. After months of working, I started to remember random fun things or details that little to do with anything I was working on in counseling. I remember driving home from work when into my mind popped names of all my elementary teachers. Later I was talking to one of my sons and told him of a happy Christmas memory. He pointed out to me that this was the first time I had talked about my childhood to him. I didn’t understand that my story would help me to connect to my husband and children. My lack of sharing was viewed as a negative thing, like I was disconnected from them and wanted to be. I was disconnected but I didn’t want to be. I was blessed with a counselor that helped me to piece together and tell enough of my story that I could survey the damage that existed in my life. Blogs are another place to tell your story. Many times people will use a pen name or some other way to keep themselves anonymous to protect themselves. If you don’t want to tackle a blog there are websites that encourage to share your story on their blog. bandbacktogether.com is one such place. I do suggest a certain level of cautions sharing your story with a stranger on the internet or in person has risks. Minimize your risks for safety sake. Writing a journal or diary, emails to yourself, any way to get your story out to allow your self to examine your life. AA has a moral inventory that is fairly extensive. My husband uses a tape recorder than writes it out. A quick search on line revealed many, many web pages ready and able to help with ideas on writing your story. In my opinion, all the methods work by getting out what is inside, a life story.
A place to share:
Tips to begin:
AA inventory guide:
An article from Psychology Today on the technical reasons sharing a story brings people together.