Looking back to move forward

Emerging from Broken is one of the blogs that is another survivor learning to live.  Learning that their past needs to be acknowledged and accepted before going forward in the healing process.

“I had been defined by the ways that others treated me. I believed that I didn’t deserve more then what I received and that it was because I wasn’t enough. When my mother disciplined me because she was in a bad mood, I believed that I had caused the bad mood. Therefore I concluded that I was bad. I believed that I upset people. Everyone else’s reactions and attitudes “defined me” as “the problem” and I had to realize that these definitions about myself were not true. They were all lies tightly woven into…” read the rest here….


We live in a society that screams, “Only look at the positive.”  As a photographer, I understand that that is only part of the picture.  I learned from my counselor that I needed to keep the positive in my life while I looked at the negative in my life.  If I spent all my time looking at only the negative that soon that was all I could see.  What to do, what to do?

Recommendations by my counselor:

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.  Accept the misery as part of the process.

Only work one hour a day on past misery.  He even suggested setting a timer.  I didn’t set a timer because that is a trigger for me, however, I do watch the time.  Slows down the study but also slows down possibility of emotional flooding.

Record the positive things in my life.  While I write them, think I do good things, good things happen in my life, and I am a good person.  This is part of redefining myself.

Stop allowing my abusers to define me.  This one is tougher than you think.

Give my abusers an eviction notice out of my head.  If I am doing something to ‘prove’ to my abusers I am a good person, I am wasting my time.  My abusers’ behavior is not about me.  Nothing I do ‘proves’ anything to them.  I make choices for myself without emotional or mental input from my abusers… Delete the negative tape I’ve heard since childhood.  Also easier said than done.  In fact, I still struggle with this one.

I agree a steady diet of looking at the negativity in my past is tough but temporary focus allows me to see myself and my future from a different perspective.  I did not see my childhood as abusive until my counselor pointed out that I was treated less than a 3rd class citizen.  My counselor did not create my past, he expected me to acknowledge the truth of my past, my childhood was lousy. This does not mean my present and future needs to reflect my past.  I have power to change my life from a negative past to a positive future.  I can’t make that change until I acknowledge a change needs to happen.

Learn from others.  Yup, my counselor suggested reading what happened to others and what they did to change or not.  Yes, I read some books that the author decided not to change.  These books are not easy reading.  They are for people wanting to face ugly truths in their lives and feeling alone.  My resource pages list several more books:  https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/resources/books/

When Rabbit Howls chose not to change.  https://www.amazon.com/When-Rabbit-Howls-Truddi-Chase/dp/0515103292

A Child Called It.  Changed and wrote about it in several books.  A Man Named Dave is who he becomes.  https://www.amazon.com/My-Story-Child-Called-Named/dp/0752853716/

I will agree that looking at a negative past is not a positive experience.  However, to clean out the negativity in my life, I first needed to see what needed cleaning.  Sometimes I was not the problem, I learned that getting away from my abusers and burning those bridges so I wouldn’t go back were an important part of my healing process.  I am a work in progress.  If you know me, I am not done with this on going cleansing and healing process.  I work hard not to beat myself up when progress seems slow or a slip back into old habits.  Kindness to myself.  Being the loving parent to myself that I need to have takes time and effort.  Prayer is part of the process for me.  I find comfort and more truth.  I am thankful for Emerging From Broken  By for finding her voice and sharing what she learned.


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