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Posts Tagged ‘overcoming obstacles’

Last week, I wrote about my struggles with accepting that the aftereffects of the child abuse will always be a part of my life:

I also wrote about this topic on my professional blog about adoption on a blog entry called Is an Abused Child Ever Fully “Over” the Abuse?.

A reader, who is both a child abuse survivor and parent of abused children that she adopted out of foster care, posted the following comment. It was so profound that I wanted to share it with all of you here:

The problem I see is not that abuse and trauma leaves lifelong scars, but that it keeps people from living their lives. Many smart people spend their whole life chasing after “normal”. They think that they will begin living when they finally achieve that, and get on the other side of their issues. So sad to discover that life has passed them by while they work and wait.

Personally, I feel better with the hard reality that “You will never be like people who didn’t have to go through this. Don’t waste your life trying to be.” This is what I tell myself, and this is what I tell my adopted children. I tell them, you will deal with your crap over and over again. At every major stage of life it will crop up, and you will have to come to terms with it. Expect it, and do the hard work. And never put your life on hold while you do.

The only way abusers win, is when they steal our lives. We don’t have to let that happen. ~ scrapsbynobody

I really needed to hear those words, and I suspect that many of you do, too. We might not have loving parents to nurture us, but we can learn from the pearls of wisdom offered by adoptive parents of traumatized children who have understood the dynamic of healing from child abuse from the outside.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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In my last couple of blog entries, I have been talking about my struggle in coming to terms with the fact that I will always have obstacles from the child abuse in my life. This is not an easy admission for me to make, much less face.

As frustrating as this admission is, it is also empowering. Obstacles can be overcome. In fact, obstacles are what make life interesting. A good skier wants to ski down a slope with moguls. A good golfer wants to golf on a course with sand traps. The obstacles are very real and need to be acknowledged, but they do not have the power to prevent a person from reaching her goal.

I have been viewing healing from child abuse as removing the obstacles from my life. I thought that I would be “healed” when every obstacle was gone. As I am moving into my sixth year of actively healing from the child abuse, I still have many obstacles in my life, and I was beating myself up for this. I thought that I should be farther along in removing the obstacles by now.

As I recognize that these obstacles will always be a part of my life, I am changing my focus and where to direct my healing energy. I do not need to know how to remove a sand trap in order to play on a golf course – I just need to know how to work around the obstacle. Thanks to all of the hard work I have done in healing over the past several years, I am very good at working around obstacles. The fact that they are still there has not prevented me from getting where I want to go. I just have to work around them.

Perhaps the point of healing is not to make the obstacles “go away” but to learn how to ski around them. Perhaps I can apply learning how to “ski around” my child abuse obstacles to other areas of my life. Maybe healing is not about making the bad stuff “go away” but, instead, learning how to love and accept yourself and reach your goal despite their presence in your life.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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