Healing comes differently from every person’s perspective. As my view of myself and the people around me changed, so did various aspects of my inner child. I began embracing this change after having frequent therapy sessions with Bob, my post-traumatic event counselor. He was the light I needed outside of myself to see what was true in my struggles.
These sessions further led me inward as I started wondering why I felt the way I did about everything. I realized that in every early relationship I had, I latched onto others more than I needed to due to my experiences with the first person I ever loved. As someone with attachment issues, my abandonment issues fully surfaced, and I allowed my self-esteem to plummet almost completely. This person’s thoughts about me affected me so profoundly that I only accepted myself if she did. I only loved myself if she did. Her words were never too kind. For someone like myself who largely recognizes how people feel about me by their words more than their actions, you can imagine how much my confidence and trust took a toll. Still, my inward journey led me to a new and evolving perspective on my life, every aspect thereof, and what I wanted it to represent.
At the beginning of my journey, I was slow to trusting others because of the rejection I struggled with at home. My mother did not see what I was truly going through, or just didn’t know how to help. All of my siblings never liked me because of how favored I was by my mother’s side of the family. This was true because none of my siblings were known by that side of the family. My mother ran away a little while after she had me and never saw her family again until 12 years later. She had three other children by then that nobody knew or heard of aside from seldom phone calls.
With this understanding, 13-year-old me realized that life was not as simple as I had once thought. I wanted to “inner stand” these facts of my life. No matter how harsh the truth I experienced was and how much it hurt me to hear, it allowed me to make appropriate and accurate choices based on fact and reason while considering my emotions.
For a time, a sense of self-blame came afloat because I wanted my younger self to pay for the experiences he was not equipped to handle. No matter how cruel an action was, I had to consider what obstacles I could have faced if I was poor with four children and had limited knowledge like my mother. She made one choice that truly changed the course of our entire family. That is a very heavy burden to bear as a parent. It took a very long time for me to realize this and allow it to hold the same weight as my own perspective.
It was hard to stand on the expectations I once had with everything considered. I later realized that stretching my perspective led me toward empathy for others and myself, not in neglect of my own. I had to acknowledge that my mother’s past choice had nothing to do with me, which released so many emotions I harbored.
I also began to place the weight of my fate into spirituality by meditating, changing my diet, and slowly evolving with the people surrounding me. I realized that to get somewhere, I needed to set a bar for myself regarding what I would allow myself to do. This meant I had to admit hard truths to myself — that I had no control over the situation I was placed in and the choices I made as a child. I was a pebble in a lake, misperceiving the direction I was going as the direction I wanted, not as what was given to me. Instead, I had limited control over how I felt about it. I only realized this through developing a deeper understanding of myself and who I wanted to be. In hindsight, I could have either allowed my trauma to hold me back in a state of reaction or begun to understand it so that I may be proactive toward something more significant.
The journey to these realizations happened over time, of course. But it became clear the summer of my sophomore year in high school back in 2018, and stretched and turned into complete disorder until June of 2023. Between now and then, I have seen my abuser jailed and lost my mother, aunt, friends, and a heart or two to people I trusted too much to be perfect. All have contributed to my overall growth, and for that, I’m grateful. Despite my trauma, I’m pleased because of how blessed I am now and how clear my spirit feels today. But I still stumble. I have days when it’s not easy to cope correctly, communicate, or even have the motivation to do what I need to.
I fall in and out of this mindset from time to time, so I look to those around me for guidance. It’s been hard to do so since growing up. When I was younger, I did not accept many handouts and felt that help somehow weakened me. I still suffer with this but have learned to accept help as a blessing rather than a burden. My mood and emotions fluctuate as we all do, but I have been trying to fix how I cope with and approach my own feelings. I began implementing healthy self-talk and am getting rid of words like “failure” and “hate” from my vocabulary, along with other negative comments. There is no end to this journey of happiness and contentment, and I don’t wish for an end to be true. I will walk with a different attitude than I had every step of the way. I will not forget my past. On the contrary, I will change what it means to me to use my past as fuel on my journey.