As a survivor of past abuse, my new year’s resolution was to have a new story.
When I picked these 2 words, I realized that I have a big part of this already accomplished when I started fervently to pursue peace outside of me, and then from within. To quit parading around with my past on my shoulders, letting it define me as a victim of emotional abuse and neglect instead of a warrior who is walking out from the flames.
Balance comes when we can be proud of how the past has made us into the people we are today.
For a few years, my honey has encouraged me with this, but I was stuck in the pain that my past brought me instead, keeping me from peace and moving forward. While digging into how it personally feels to have have no peace, rather than how it looks, you can find what we hold onto the hardest.
Holding on to your past story can keep you from feeling peace.
It feels like you haven’t been acknowledged. It feels like it’s still happening. It feels like there’s a wall that keeps you in your comfort zone and away from situations that seem potentially scary, like meeting new people and visiting new places. This often manifested in me running away from my problems, moving towns when I wasn’t getting along with my mother, or changing jobs because a coworker’s vibe reminded me that of my abusers. This self-destructive behavior has lessened greatly since I vowed to not be a victim anymore and especially since I started counseling. Usually there would be some hesitance in the past to spend a part of my New Year’s Eve with an old friend, then I realized what keeps me away is the belief that visiting the old places and old friendships will always remind me of my old story. So I looked at what I could control, and stopped talking about the trauma and formed a new healthy habit, of being still if I could only complain or reminisce on the pain.
Pushing past the negative thinking, I shopped for a birthday/Christmas present for my dear Sagittarius and visited her the last night of last year.
We talked about the concerns and joys of the present and had a wonderful night.
Still, I know that until I’m cured, I will continue to have moments where the trauma still feels like it’s happening, and I’ll need to reach out for support. But that’s exactly what has helped bring me peace, reserving the reminders I could control for counseling, and giving the effort to keep those wonderful relationships alive and thriving. I am a Gemini, who needs her peeps and craves to socialize, but I believe we are all social beings that need quality connection whether you crave it or not. It’s a part of the balance.
Disclosure for those with self-destructive habits…
Discernment is key, because this challenge could send you into a discomfort obsession, talking to past abusers when you have spent the time and energy creating healthy boundaries. Keep filtering out unhealthy relationships from your life altogether! Don’t take on this challenge as an excuse to look for trouble! It is not necessary to confront the actual people who have done something to you in order to meet this resolution. Although I am not opposed to challenging your perception of your old story – because growth and clarity comes from revisiting it in a supportive environment like counseling – it would rather be counteractive to the progress you’ve made to open yourself up to the source that caused you trauma.
There are very few circumstances that relationships can be mended and turned around, but don’t count your peace on yours being one of them.
There is a difference between carefully loving those who hurt you (from a distance) and recklessly allowing them a spot in your life that should be reserved for those who are concerned for you and your well-being. Believe me, I’ve learned this the hard way, but that’s another story for another time!
Having a new story, means that you allow yourself to not be the victim you and your friends once knew you as. And when you meet someone who is or was a victim of abuse, you don’t join them with your own tales of hell. I have done this many times, and even though you get a little “high” from sharing your deepest thoughts with someone who relates, you will leave every time with the feeling of a hangover. The worst part is that, even if you have seemingly made progress, the other person cannot be forced to open their eyes to anyone’s revelation but their own. Sympathizing in such a way can only facilitate the old story, both yours and theirs.
Try, instead, a different narrative, one from humility and that offers hope.
Hope will help them persevere through their personal journey. Just as a conversation is lead by your intentions, the same goes for life. So, the goal of a new story, very much resides with your intentions for how you intend the rest of your life to go.
Do you INTEND to keep destructive patterns? Do you feed into negative gossip among your friends and the media? Do you speak power into the pain you were left feeling from the actions of others? Let’s for a moment, forget our old story and ask ourselves an important question.
I was asked this question while I was on the brink of recognizing the unhealthy patterns in my relationship because I was depressed, and it was starting to get out of control. We were sitting at our dining table on a quiet Monday evening while a couple sharing their direct marketing company to us, (it wasn’t a scam) and their question stirred a hope inside me, something that changed my life forever.
They asked, “If time and money, wasn’t an issue, what would you do?”
Possibilities came flying around my mind like a flock of birds, circling with a new creativity, ideas of serving others and creating an abundant life for my son and me. The idea was full of charity, unlimited time to spend with my family, years of peace and compassion, I had never thought of a dream so real and so exciting. It was also a beautiful release in mental chains that kept me in my comfort and denial. It revealed to me that the money I didn’t think I had – to be a single mother without a new boyfriend – was the thing keeping me in the relationship. For the next year, I made sure that this was true, because I hadn’t realized I was also chained because I didn’t want to take the time I needed to be single and focus on myself. I didn’t want to be alone. If my son wasn’t being harmed, I would put up with the bad times and try to be the best girlfriend I could be. WAIT. Hold on, you see how I’m going into my typical narrative again? It still happens, and may always keep happening. Let’s turn this back to the possibility of dreams the questioned posed.
What would you do with your life if you were unstoppable? If you too, were diagnosed with PTSD (or think you have complex post-traumatic stress syndrome) what would you do if you were suddenly cured TODAY?
Would you write a book? Travel the world? Start an antique shop? Lose excessive weight? Become more active in your political party? Start a school? Whatever excites you, and yes, whatever dream is so big that it scares you…THAT’S IT! That’s your chain breaker. Hope for a better life is the path for healing in any case!
Dream BIG, Scary Dreams!
When I started this blog to write about my personal philosophies, it was the most exciting and scariest thing I could think of! But after a year of not acting on it diligently, a friend of mine – a public speaker and inspirational coach in Minnesota- Dajon Ferrel, said in one of her appearances “What if you couldn’t fuck it all up?”…I knew I had to give it my best and stop judging myself.
Stare your discomfort in the eyes and think “I can face you all the days that you are with me, so get ready, FEAR, because you are in for a long ride!”
So, with me as the driver – as Elizabeth Gilbert teaches – and my fear beside me as a passenger, I will keep to my goal, be persistent and continue my run for my dreams that are my new story. Because I have even bigger and scarier dreams, the ones full of charity and abundance. The service I would do for others will not only benefit them, it will make my soul thrive!
What’ your resolution? Do you have a scary dream? Do you wish to serve others, but something is limiting you? Feel free to share! And if you have chains keeping you limited or where you shouldn’t be, I encourage you to sit with yourself, in the scary stillness of your thoughts…let hope enter, and write a new story.
Peace, love, and grace to you!