Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Running from the Past

My friend Gary Roe sent me a copy of his book Heartbroken: Losing a Spouse. Much of what he writes applies to healing from abuse as well as from the loss of a spouse.

One sentence stayed with me long after reading: "As we allow ourselves to feel the pain, our hearts will begin to heal."

Wonderful words, but the problem comes for many with the statement, "allow ourselves to feel the pain." That's what many won't or can't do.

"It hurts too much," is a common response.

Of course it's painful and traumatic. If it didn't hurt, the healing would have taken place long ago.

Instead of facing the situations, too many medicate themselves so they can run from their past—and it's not a conscious choice. It's our individual way of coping. Some resort to drugs, others by cutting off their emotions. My medication was busyness. For years, I was a driven man but had no awareness of it. "That's just the way I am," I often said.

Gradually, I learned to stop running (which is what my busyness was accomplishing). I wrote gradually because that's probably the best expression I know.

After I became aware, I decided to do something about coping with my drivenness. I read everything I could on how to live in the present and slow down. Taking time to read, in itself, was part of my slowing down. Yet slowing down was painful because I had time to think. And to feel. But I stayed with it and I'm making progress.

The struggle to run from my pain was useless. I couldn't outrun my childhood trauma.

But I could face it.

And I have.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the article.

Anonymous said...

I was the same way when my kids were young. I kept them busy in all kinds of activities and I stayed busy along with them. When they became older and had their own activities, then I became a workaholic. That way I did not have to think about the abuse. But now my job is not as intense as it was, and I have more time to think about the abuse. One thing that has really helped me is this blog and the ability to talk about issues without being judged.

Unknown said...

"Without being judged."
Thanks, Anonymous. That's exactly the intention here. We want to help each other heal. Most of us survivors have enough self-judgment, and we certainly don't need anyone adding to that.

Anonymous said...

I judge myself enough. I definitely don't need others judging me.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering. Does anybody have self destructive habits and tendencies? I have been trying to lose weight and lost 25 pounds. Since Thanksgiving, I have been eating like crazy. Honestly I just don't care. I really don't care if I eat every bit of chocolate and sugar that I can find. And I do eat it all. I really don't care about my health or weight, I just keep on eating.

Roger Mann said...


In talking to many others who have suffered abuse this is very common. Overeating, smoking, drinking, excessive exercise or deliberate sedentary lifestyles, drug usage even OTC/prescription drug abuse is very common. Workaholic is another as also sexual promiscuity.

Working in the healthcare field I made some good decisions regarding my health in many of those categories. Not so much in others. There were times I was not good about brushing my teeth, eating healthy, getting enough sleep. The of course there was the sexual promiscuity. I came away from my abuse with the belief that was all I was good for and when depressed which was often, I would lend myself to more abuse. I truly believe God protected me from getting any serious STDs. It certainly was not because I was careful.

During the dark times I often hoped I would get something and just die. But here I am still.
I have had many tell me of similar stories of self destructive behavior. When we believe the lies about us that are told to us verbally or other ways, we can just not care at all about our bodies, even come to hate our bodies. Truth really does set us free to be all that we can be as happy healthy whole men.

I am proud of the body I have now. I do try to work on it. I am proud of the man I have become now and all of that is learning, and accepting the truth about my life and the abuse my younger self survived.

Anonymous said...

I told my wife yesterday that I have prayed and begged God to please let it all be a lie and to let me be the biggest liar ever. I just want all the abuse from my dad to be a lie. I would gladly tell the ones that I have told about the abuse that it was a lie. I also told her, that while talking to her, that I realized that I have not prayed that prayer lately. Maybe I am finally coming to a realization that it all really did happen. I think God protected my mind during and after the abuse. I specifically remember the night that I tried to kill my dad, and that is the night that I locked away all the abuse from about 1976 until 2001. 25 years. When I locked it all away, that is when I became an excellent student and began achieving all kinds of scholastic honors. School became my refuge and books became my friends.

Anonymous said...

I did not strive do excellent grades to win my family's praise. I was never allowed to mention appearing on the honor roll or other achievements at home because my parents told me that it made everybody else in my family feel bad. I think I kept on achieving in these areas because it was the only thing that made me feel good about myself.

Roger Mann said...

I know God protected my mind for some time. He may still be doing that because I can't remember very much of my childhood. What I do remember is odd isolated snapshots. No continuity. Maybe that's for the best IDK.

Anonymous said...

I have been begging for God to reveal to me everything that happened to me. My mother died in March, and since then God has revealed more incidents of abuse to me. It has been very hard remembering certain things. I really don't think I could have handled all the memories before now. I remember during the abuse, I floated outside of my body. I could see the abuse happening to me, but I would be floating above it all. I truly believe that God separated my spirit from my body to protect my sanity. All during my childhood, I had dreams that I could fly. Sometimes I really felt like I could. Have I remembered all of It? I don't know. Do I want to remember all of it? I don't know. I am not begging God now as much as I was several months ago, i don't know why I stopped begging to know more. I do know that I begged to know everything, so I could prove to myself that it did all happen or that it did not happen. I was desperately searching for peace. Was I a liar or did all of this truly happen. Most of my abuse happened in the middle of the night. So I could not tell if i was awake or asleep. But I would be woken up with a large hand over my mouth and then all the action happening down below. For a long time, I wondered, why did God allow this to happen to me. Where was He? But after intense Bible study, I understand that God gives man free will. Man chooses to do evil. I do see now where God's hand of protection was on me. I can barely handle the memories now as a 52 year old, I could never had handled all of these memories back then. When I was 16, i placed a gun to my head and had my finger on the trigger. God protected me from myself. All I could think about was my little sister finding me. That's what stopped me.