|Posted on May 3, 2010 at 2:21 PM|
Before I began healing from childhood abuse, I was always in emotional pain. I felt guilt and shame for what had happened to me and thought that somehow I had brought it on myself. As an adult many years later, I see how silly that sounds, but at the time I thought it was my fault that someone had abused me.
As I grew into adulthood I was involved in a number of abusive relationships, with men that only help to reinforce my thinking that it was my fault. I pushed their buttons, or pissed them off, so they hit me. It never occurred to me that their problem was exactly that, THEIR problem and not mine. It didn't matter what I did or didn't do, I would be abused anyway.
As I learned that it wasn't my fault, but the fault of some sick individuals in my life, I began to let go of my pain. It was a long process and I held onto it like a warm blanket keeping me safe and warm. "What would happen if I let go of the pain, who would I be, what would I do?", I constantly asked myself. I had known the pain for as long as I could remember and even though my therapist and others told me it was time to let it go, I just couldn't. That was who I was, I had identified so closely with it that it had become my comfort. Without it I would be bare and vulnerable, leaving myself open to more abuse and more pain.
As it turned out, that wasn't true. It took courage to let it go, but once I did, I finally felt free and alive. What had happened in my past was over, it couldn't hurt me anymore. Those people that had abused me were no longer a part of my life and I was safe from them, so why did I need to hold on to the pain they had caused?
I read an amazing book called “Emotional Alchemy – How the Mind Can Heal the Heart” by Tara Bennett-Goleman. I learned about something called is called a “schema” or pattern of behavior that I carried throughout my life. We all have at least one, some of us more and they determine how we react in certain situations. Most of them begin in childhood, where they serve to protect us, but as we grow into adulthood they are no longer appropriate. The pain that I was holding onto was just a schema and since it no longer served a purpose in my adult life, I made a choice to release it. Letting go is a clear choice. We can choose to hold on and live in pain, or we can choose to let go of the pain and be happy.
The best way I found to let go of it was to focus on the good things in my life at the time. Life wasn't perfect, but it was sure better than it had been and I had so many things to be thankful for. I had a roof over my head, good food, decent clothing and could take care of myself. We all have things to be grateful for, but sometimes we spend so much time focusing on what we don't have that we forget about what we do have. Since I chose to focus on the good and let go of the bad my life has changed and I am much happier.
If you have any questions about this post that you do not want to post publicly, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if there is a particular area of abuse or healing that you would like to hear from me about.