Eugene Allen / Blog

I survived!!!

Like many survivors of childhood abuse, I have had a difficult time letting go of the past and moving on. For years I thought I was doomed to suffer throughout my entire life, and I resented that. I felt ensnared in my history. With frequent reminders and triggers of the old feelings, how could I ever escape?

Each time I saw sexist imagery in the media, each time I saw evidence of pornography, which had played a part in my history, each time I saw the announcement of another registered sex offender moving into my area, I plummeted into depression. I wallowed in my sad story.

I identified myself as a victim of abuse and as a target for continued abuse, because I considered myself irreparably damaged. I even recognized that I abused myself with these thoughts, but I didn't know how to change my thinking. I saw my life the way I saw it, and that was how it was. I couldn't imagine any other way.

When I interacted with other people, I did so from my identification as a target for mistreatment. I had been bullied in school and at work, and these experiences supported my identity as a permanent victim.

I hung on to that sad story for years before I realized that I could create a new story and a new identity.

First, I began actively looking for the positive experiences that had occurred alongside the negative in my history and I focused on those. I chose to focus on memories that brought me happiness. This practice created some balance in my personal story.

Next, I began to focus on how I felt in the present from moment to moment. When I did this, I discovered that the past didn't really have any power in the present. Actually, it didn't even exist. I can smile with my children and immerse myself in the joy of being together. I don't have to remember that I had negative experiences during my own childhood. I don't have to drag that story along with me and allow it to influence my present experiences.

As for the future, I no longer project continued suffering into that time. The future doesn't really exist either. It's always the present, and the present is what I make it.

Now, when I choose to look back on my childhood experiences, even when that choice is triggered by present reminders, I focus on the aspects of my history that give me positive feelings. I reach for good feelings rather than allowing unpleasant ones to take over and influence my present. A history of child abuse has given me strong intuition, compassion, and a drive to actively seek joy in life.

Terrell Tolbert
Terrell Tolbert  (almost 5 years ago)

This is very powerful and you are not alone. Thanks for sharing. We must all face those demons so that they can not continue to torment us for the rest of lives. Live the life that God has blessed you with not the life that the devil would have you live. Keep your head up! Caroline Tolbert