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Unable to move on from traumatic past


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I don't want to get into all of the details because it really would just be very depressing, but I have never had a period of happiness that lasted in my whole life. I have never had a stable relationship that was healthy either (in my whole life). This includes family, friends, and romantic relationships. Outside of my family, I have only had one person stay in my life for 3 years even. This was a man who was 19 and I was 13 when he started dating me. It was a god awful situation.


What I am saying is, I have had some very horrible things happen to me and I realize that I have no foundation. I moved all of my life every year or so and have no roots. I have nothing to fall on.


I feel like some of the very simple things in life that people take for granted I never had. And I have been in a cycle of abuse my entire life in one relationship to another (not every one has crossed the line to abuse but if not, they were compulsive liars and cheaters and treated me awfully).


With everything else that happened, and I don't want to list the endless drama, I am left in this state where I cry over it *every day*. Most nights for the past decade I have had at least a passing thought or strong desire to kill myself.


It feels like no amount of medication or therapy can ever make me forget the past. I don't know how to move on if I can't get the images out of my head. I don't know how to focus on the positive when all I have going for me are talents which have been wasted due to my depression and inability to function these past few years as a result.


This has been going on for so very long and I do feel like it is beyond fixing at this point. I just don't know what to do.

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If you have had what seems to be one of the worst lives you have ever heard of I would love to talk to you. I really just wish I could find one person who is still alive on this planet that could understand.


I thought I found one guy who was about 55 but then he killed himself.

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Suzy, I'm really sorry you feel this way. But you are not alone. I didn't have a horrible past (not amazing either), have great parents, but I still think about killing myself and have to struggle with the meaning of life every day! I too feel like I wasted many years of my life and it really really saddens me. Therapy can't help me much either, because my problem is mostly different than what others go through.


I dunno what to advise, but all I can say is you are still very young and have lots of time to change things in your favor, so don't mourn over the passed years so much and try to do something so you won't feel the same in future.

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I agree that I need to try to change things but it is difficult when I cry multiple times every single day over it.


I feel like I practically had no youth and my teen years were robbed of me (I hardly saw my parents for 3 years and when i did see my mom she was unstable and abusive so i had to take care of my siblings). Ugh


I just feel like.. ahead in some areas of life. In heart ache, experience, understanding. But then in happiness.. the good things in life.. so very very far behind.


But I just need to do stuff.. keep trying and hope this emotional disaster doesn't cause me to fail again.

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I agree that I need to try to change things but it is difficult when I cry multiple times every single day over it.


I feel like I practically had no youth and my teen years were robbed of me (I hardly saw my parents for 3 years and when i did see my mom she was unstable and abusive so i had to take care of my siblings). Ugh


I just feel like.. ahead in some areas of life. In heart ache, experience, understanding. But then in happiness.. the good things in life.. so very very far behind.


But I just need to do stuff.. keep trying and hope this emotional disaster doesn't cause me to fail again.


I feel the same. I really wish I could go back and be 10 again, to be able to experience it all over again.


Yes, you definitely need to do stuff. You have to push yourself to do things that are out of your comfort zone. You've said before that you live alone, is it still the case? I'm in the same position and I don't see people a lot. I'm setting myself a rule to get out every day, even if it is just for a simple walk. Usually I just want to curl up in my bed and not do anything...but I push myself to do simple things and I feel much better about myself afterwards. You have to get busy and be more productive.


And you know, at the end of the day, we are all alone, no matter how many people we have around. Everything we have is temporary, even family, there is no guarantee for them to always be around. We become stronger individuals if we accept it as a fact, instead of trying to fight it constantly.

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I wish I didn't, but I understand you.


Where I would think most people are generally content and have fleeting moments of frustration, despair, every god-awful emotion you can think of, I find myself to be the opposite. I have fleeting moments of contentedness.


I feel like I wasted my life. I look back on all these expectations and goals I had set out for myself, and realize I achieved none of it. Though I COULD HAVE, though I SHOULD HAVE. Though I should even do it RIGHT NOW. But I simply don't, because I don't have the fight in me right now. I wasted so much time looking back. And even though I am incredibly resilient and still not even in the worst place I could be and have been, in general I lack the motivation. I feel consumed by my past, like I'm drowning in it and can only peek my head above the water for moments at a time.


Although I get so sick of thinking about it, talking about it, reliving it that in ways I think I have numbed myself to so much of it. It's only when I sit quietly with my thoughts that I realize where I really am - And it's scary.


I do push through the day, but you know what? I don't know what for. I don't feel suicidal yet I don't recognize my purpose, either...Even though I know I am intelligent and insightful. I feel like I can never stand on even ground with the things I am skillful and good at - Because the past will be pulling me back, like a dog leashed to a fence.


Wow, I don't know where this came from.


Although one thing I have come to realize is that the foundation is me. Not my family, not my friends, nothing external. No matter where I'm at, physically or mentally I have to fall back on myself. And because I can find so many faults, why would I even want to? But yet, I do. Somehow I've tried to become my own friend. My mother was the only stable thing in my childhood. Other than her, I am the only one who could have, and should have, been kind to myself. As it stands, I still feel the same. I must be gentle and good, to me. I have punished myself for so much, for things I was at fault at, and things I wasn't. I have to stop the cycle at some point.


I don't think I'll ever be relatively care-free. I don't think I'll ever be easy-going. While I firmly believe you can change certain aspects of your personality, this one has been in my nature for so long. I'm simply a worrier, a person who winds up taking the burden on her shoulders - Just because. Well, I'm tired of trying to be that care-free, easy-going person. It's not me, not right NOW. So I stopped trying to be what's not coming easy for me - And instead of hacking away at my faults with a butcher knife, I've just tried to let them flow around me.


I've dug myself out of the wreckage before. I can do it again. I'm just too exhausted to even try right now. Yes, you have to keep moving forward. Blindly, without direction at times. Because certainly it can be no worse than the inner torment you experience now. It's like a choice between the devil you know and the unseen evil. Take the leap and there's a good chance it will pay off in spades - If you allow it to.

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Worriedgirl- I hope my family isn't always around XD

If they all died I can't say I would care. Horrible but. Hm. True.


Yes I also spend my days alone and have had a difficult time finding a job currently. I broke my foot so then again am unemployed and feeling discouraged. Sometimes it feels like people can see through me and see the things some people have done to me. If that makes sense... My foot will never heal so I am now in chronic pain while walking which also doesn't help my depression much.


And unfortunately I know all too well that the only thing I can depend on is change. I have never had anything to depend on other than my dog.


Mintiya- I understand your post completely. Growing up as a kid I never had friends and was picked on relentlessely, usually for always being the new kid, but I was "gifted". But now I see all of those people going on and having normal productive lives and I can't even function normally. Well so what use is being "gifted"?




This is slightly derailing but one thing I thought about what part of the reason I fell into a pretty abusive relationship with an older man at the age of 13 was because my parents moved us accross country, ditched us and just figured I don't know. So I was suddenly alone taking care of my siblings and this guy comes along who is nice to me. He was the first person in my life EVER to say "I love you" and so I fell for him. The one time I have heard this from my mom was not long ago while screaming: "I love you but I don't like you. Look around, everybody hates you"

I figured my dad just doesn't say these things or just doesn't talk to me. But then I heard him once talk to his mom on the phone and when he hung up he said "i love you"... so I guess it just confirms what I thought. They are just jerks.


Ramble over.


The past is what pulls me down as well. I was struggling so hard for years and years. And then my situation took a turn for the worse. I was nearly with no friends, no family, nearly homeless and very ill. I had to be hospitalized for weeks. And then started to date one of the sickest indivuals I have ever heard or read about in my life. After all he did I feared for my life and have had a horrible time with it. After this it is like.. I can no longer function. It broke my back. I feel like I will never be the same again.


I can't get the thoughts to stop running through my head for even a whole day. And I have pulled myself out .. so.. many times. It feels like I am just delaying suicide through any means I can. But there is absolutely no way I can live on in this pain for a full life span. I need to find a way out if I want to live.

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Suzy -


Are you estranged from your family?


And I think that's the toughest part of recovery work. Discovering the answers. There's things I've come up with, reasons why, and I'll tell you I could have gone the whole rest of my life without having remembering those certain things. But I also can't argue the good it's done for me. Not right away, of course, not without a hell of a lot of pain. But as they say, knowledge is power. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.


It feels like it never stops storming, right? I was telling my mother that I've had nothing but hell for the last 5 years, even though I'm supposedly moving in the right direction. And when I was living what I considered..uh..a 'good' life, I was being completely self-destructive and sabotaging. SOmetimes I'm like, why the hell am I bothering? At least back then I was stupid and blind. I didn't get it, didn't want to get it.


Think big, think small. What - realistically - would bring you up just a notch on the content-o-meter? If you don't know, start thinking. Start planning. Staying stagnant is dangerous. Explore other areas of therapy, maybe. Or books. Do books. I have an entire closet full of all kinds of goofy self-help books, journals. 80% of them are laughable, but I take what I need and discard the rest. Get rid of the toxic people in your life. Loneliness may seem unbearable, but unsupportive or even cruel 'friends' or family are just draining you. You need to draw on all your energies, and you can't do that if there's some emotional vampires out there sucking the life out of you. Sometimes you have to be selfish to get right.

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I'm no longer estranged. After I was in the hospital for a period of time they visited me so after that point I haven't been. Emotionally I am though. They really don't know very much at all about my life. It feels like anything they did know they would only use against me.


I don't think I can get all the toxic people out of my life right now. But I am planning on trying to move towards the start of 2011. I can do what is within my power to try to do that. It would be a step forward for me.. I need a fresh start I think and to remove myself from the area where some of the worst traumas have happened to me. I spend a decent amount of time thinking about what I would do if I were to run into "him" again. If there is some way I could carry a gun etc. It is draining.


What do you mean about things you remembered? How did you remember them? I don't know if there is anything I am forgetting.. I am more inclined to think there isn't.


I am also self destructive and sabotaging DEFINITELY. I have moments of hope. But they don't last long.. How did you stop doing this?


Stagnant is dangerous. Yes. This is true.. stagnant is dangerous. I can try to go and apply for more jobs. Tomorrow. I have been trying to start working out maybe it will help.. You are so right about the emotional vampires. I need to do better to avoid them as all they tend to do is bring me down.

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I haven't really stopped as much as I have slowed it down. Instead of being miserable 24/7, I'm miserable more like 10/7. It's partly habitual, like any other thing. So I focus on distractions a lot to deter my mind, somewhere to focus my energy. Anywhere other than on my current state of mind. And I don't expect great things of it. If it can swerve my mindset for 10 minutes, that's ok. It's 10 minutes that I wasn't moping, you know?


I mean like, parts of my past - Realizing why it is that I did/do the things that I do. I couldn't explain a lot of my actions, thought patterns or behaviors. It was frustrating because I felt like they were coming out of nowhere. FOr example, figuring out why I developed unhealthy attachments to people that were really, really emotionally unavailable and cold. I realized what part of my life it stemmed from and with whom, and that I was always trying to 'get it right this time'. Recalling why and how was very painful as I tended to push those sorts of memories to the back of my mind, but recognizing made me more aware and gave me somewhere to start on breaking the cycle. Although it never started out that easy and I'd tend to get lost in the feelings and memories quickly. It's with time and a sort of objective viewpoint that I got anywhere with it. Detaching the intense emotions from the experience helps with that.


You know, I hate to work out. I am so lazy. But it honestly does help. If anything, you'll sleep better. And you know how important quality sleep is when you're depressed. Lack of energy makes things 50 times worse. I hope you're eating right, too. Funky blood glucose levels will mess you up as well.


I have a tendency to have a REALLY hard time letting go of people in my life, because I have abandonment issues. I hate goodbyes and even when something is incredibly bad for me, I'll hang onto it so I don't have to watch another person leave my life. It's terrible, and only in the last couple of years have I been able to let certain people go. And even though the loneliness can be brutal at times, it's still better than doing the dysfunctional 'dance'.


Just remember, the power really IS in your hands. Your past may have a good and solid grip on you, but ultimately you control the outcome, you control your feelings, and you control whether you're going to let those terrible memories camp out long-term for free in your mind. So long as they're hanging out for awhile, you may as well doing something with them.

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You are very insightful


If you don't mind me asking, about how old are you? I am curious if we are about the same age. I am 22.


I also try to distract myself but like it was already said here, it is those quiet moments in the night that get you. I will reach out to anything I can think of to distract myself and it has been pretty destructive for me as well.


I'm doing much better than I used to be .. *much* better. It seems like no matter what I do I just can't get past it. I still cry every day over it and have almost come to see it as normal.


Like you said about yourself, I also have a very hard time letting go of people. "Give up" is almost not even in my dictionary although I am trying to change that. My ex for example, came clean to me about his lies 9 times. He swore to me nine times that he would stop lying (he was trying to cover up that he was cheating with his ex the whole time). I tried to work through it but he also did everything he could to not let me go. I will feel like if I try really really hard and do my best good things will come. But it just isn't that way. The harder I try the more abusive people abuse and the more toxicity you get involved with. I have lost everybody in my life. I have never had a single person stick around. I am more just desperate to find some sort of connection that can last.


I'm not eating so well. I used to have an eating disorder and at times like this it likes to butt its head. I'm working on it -_-..


Need to gain will power. Need to just.. force myself. The insomnia is part of the problem throwing off the eating though *sigh*

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it is those quiet moments in the night that get you. I will reach out to anything I can think of to distract myself and it has been pretty destructive for me as well.


Need to gain will power. Need to just.. force myself. The insomnia is part of the problem throwing off the eating though *sigh*


I think taking care of your insomnia should come first and foremost, especially since you say that these "destructive moments" usually come during the quite moments in the night.


As Mintiya suggested above, exercise will definitely help regulate your body rhythm so that hopefully, you will be able to fall asleep better.


Also, while I dont think one should be too rigid about following a strict daily routine, it helps to structure one's day. Maybe it's just me but I've found that structure in the exterior helps me to obtain a sense of structure and organization in the interior. It helps me feel like I'm more in control over my life. But like I said, maybe it's just me bc I do tend to be a bit anal


And I know that you've found music to be an effective outlet for you.

I heard some of the stuff you've posted for us on youtube (not that I'm stalking you or anything and you're really talented (!), which I'm sure many people have already told you. I definitely think you should continue on with your music, not only as a form of expression but also as a way to stay connected with people who have similar interests.


One question: in the past, what have you found to be effective in dealing with the trauma? What steps are you taking to heal yourself, heal your relationship with your family? And I think you said that you are getting help from a professional? What does he/she have to say about this?

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I fully understand where you’re coming from, I think when you live a life of so much trauma and negativity it then becomes hard to let yourself enjoy things, your waiting for the next bad thing to happen.


I also grew up in an awful abusive home. I’ll just list some of the things that I had to deal with as a child, so maybe you can understand that there are so many of us out there, so many of us hurting.


Sexual abuse

physical abuse

drug abuse


physical fighting on a daily basis

moved every couple of months

failed to grades in school because my mom didn’t get us out of bed

alcohol abuse


foster homes

mom calling me * * * * * , * * * * * , threw ciggs at us, always pick her men over us.

went hungry

went without lights and was cold, they started burning furniture to keep us warm

slept in a tent for months, ate what they caught out of the river

wasn’t hugged or told I love you

left with family members months at a time


The list can go on and on, and that’s just what I remember, my therapy has made me realize that I have blocked out 50% (really I can’t remember years at a time) of my childhood and to tell you the truth with all that I do remember I don’t want to learn anymore.


But the real test is can we stop the cycle, can you be happy, feel joy. I’m sorry if I offend you but it sounds like you pick the wrong men, you pick men that will be abusive to you. This is a cycle, I’m telling you that you can HAVE better, that you DESERVE better. A healthy relationship is when 2 people are together, working together to make the relationship work. You don’t have to be abused, not all men are like that. There are men that will treat you good, love you, and can disagree or be mad at you without the hits or the name calling.


I have been diagnosed with bipolar, manic depression, and anxiety. I just think that’s just them labeling me, I am who I am, came from what created me, learned from them how to feel, how to deal. So heck yes I have issues, but I work on them. I refuse to end up like my mother. The cycle will end with me, that’s all I can do.

Get your eating under control that will bring your mood and your health up so you will feel better, not so drained or tired.


I wish you luck and I’m here anytime you want to talk.

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I understand, Suzy. It's difficult reading your thread bc I feel for you.


It is the sort of feeling of waiting for your real life to begin, after what seems like a sort of nightmare that is out of your control. Well, that is how it felt to me.


My life, my real life, in my heart has only really begun in my 30s. I finally feel like the past is in the past, and I am me - free and clear of the influences of everyone else and all the strange things that occurred in my life. I fought tooth and nail to get here, some people will never understand what that is like. To fight to just to feel like you have a chance at a future!


No matter what, you can't give up. You can PM me anytime.


You have no idea how many late night posts I've made here while suffering insomnia or after having woken up from nightmares. Thankfully, those nights are in the past now, but I remember them all too well. The remind me to be grateful every single day. Every little thing seems so precious to me.


There is a depth of gratitude for life and what it has to offer that comes after you have had to fight so hard.


One thing I'd pass on is the value of letting go of shame. My shame held me a prisoner for so long, I don't wish that on you. Our pain need not be a source of shame. I wish you to know what it feels like deep down to love yourself - no matter what. No matter what, you deserve well being and love.

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Hi Suzy,


I'm 27, well I'm about to be 28, but having issues saying so


I'm a former alcoholic so I do know about reaching for the bad stuff just to get your mind off something. When I drank, I became very violent. Talk about exchanging one bad thing with another. I would love to say that I replaced alcohol with great, life-changing heart-warming things, but the truth is it's not that amazing. I read a lot, from the closet of sappy self-help books. I paint. I come to ENA. I play with the dogs, I change the bed sheets. I just do something.


We can't change a person. Our love, loyality and friendship aren't going to be enough to move mountains. Just as the change had to come from me, to put a stop to the cycle, it has to come from them to come to terms with who they are or what they should/shouldn't change. I think we all know this. But the people who actually practice it? They are in the minority. We should be the minority. Fighting the tide is really exhausting. - And I think part of my own personal stubbornness on the whole issue is trying to validate myself through them. If they care, they will do X. Otherwise I deemed myself unlovable, unworthy. And honestly, partly because dysfunction was the norm growing up. If something wasn't wrong, it wasn't right.


If we lay ourselves out there as doormats, I guarantee there's a million people out there waiting to get in line to step on us. Not because I think people are inherently bad in nature, but because of the false ego produced from controlling others. The most controlling of people are the ones who feel they have none over themselves.


And it's not that people can't, or won't stick around. It's that subconsciously you tend to probably gravitate towards a certain type. The type who will ultimately abandon you, abuse you, or leave you in the dust. It's part self-fulfilling prophecy('everyone leaves') and part what you're just simply used to. How can you deem anything else normal when have limited experience with it, you know? I'm not trying to psychoanalyze you or anything, I just think that perhaps it's an idea you could ponder anyway. Plus when we're desperate for love, we'll latch onto anything that remotely resembles it - Especially the dysfunctional type we may have experienced in childhood environments.


But see? You said you're much better than you've been. Me too! So what's to stop us from coming to an even better place? Undoubtedly you have felt this way before. Even lower. And you've come out on top. You'll prevail, once again, because you are a strong and resilient person. I know life is flinging dung at you, but use the manure as a fertilizer for your life. Ok, that was one of the grossest and creepiest analogies I've ever come up with in my life. But you get my drift.


I hear what you're saying about never giving up - And even though it's raking in negativity, it's also a very awesome quality to have. It just needs to be fine-tuned, like all things. Redirected and refocused(on you, ultimately).


And of course you can also PM me any time as well.

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I grew up with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Followed by a string of toxic relationships as an adult. I would not say I am a role model for what to do when life hands you poop (except make poopinade and tell people it's chocolate milk). I think that's almost what I do, I wear the veil of someone strong, bubbly, and carefree, but underneath it all I'm scarred much more than most realize. I avoid addressing my actual feelings like the plague. People rarely believe I have been through what I have, and have often accused me of making it up.. so I avoid talking about it. Not that it helps. No one in my life actually even knows about the sexual abuse. Once people get to know me I imagine they can tell there is something ..off. I'm extremely guarded, introverted, and terrible with responsibilties. Like I said, not a good role model. I think a firm belief in reincarnation with oddly no basis has kept me away from suicidal thoughts during tough times.


Aside from being a total crazy person, I found the best way for me to escape my cycles of depression are to bury myself in my art. It helps me work out some of my pent up negativity, and helps give me a sense of accomplishment and pride. If I'm not depressed and I get a creative streak, it seems to help keep me stable. Surprisingly enough, "art therapy" seems to be gaining popularity in recent years.

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