My past is holding me back from my future. How can I get my life back?

There are issues from my past that have me very heavily burdened in my heart. I've been torn for so many years and I need help so I can move on with my life.

I experienced trauma when I was 8 years old and I did come out about it until I was 40.

Now I know this is what's holding me back on my happiness. I've met a very loving and caring man but because I'm holding on to these things from my past I’m pushing him away.

How can I get my life back?

Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

I'm going to second that it is completely brave of you to share something you kept hidden for over 30 years.  That's a HUGE deal!

Something awesome about the brain is that it can learn at any time in the human lifespan.  No matter how long you have dealt with the affects of trauma, your brain has potential to rewire and change how it operates.  

This is just my assumption, but it sounds like you are just realizing the impact the trauma has had and is continuing to have on your life.  First of all, that's phenomenal information--many people spend their lives blind to these influences and may never get help.  On the other hand, it can be super overwhelming to now have all this insight about yourself and not know how to deal with it.  It's OK to feel that uncertainty and/or stress about the process--that's totally expected and will most likely feel less powerful the more you move through healing.

I understand your fears about pushing away someone you care about and that seems important to you.  That's quite a normal behavior as a result of childhood trauma.  When we are first learning our relationship to others and the world as children, trauma can teach us that others are unsafe or may hurt us.  Almost all my clients have experienced childhood trauma and one of the things we spend time exploring is what they may be trying to protect themselves from by pushing others away.  Vulnerability can be scary for everybody, but why specifically is it scary for you?  I bet there's a really logical reason!

It's unclear how long you've known this man and how connected you feel to him, but could he potentially be a support person for you?  If you feel uncomfortable with that, that doesn't mean anything bad.  It just means you aren't ready.  It's not easy to talk about such hard things.  It does seem like you know that you behave in ways that push him away--what would your behavior look like if you didn't?  That doesn't mean sharing everything or no boundaries, but meeting him somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes the brain needs evidence that being vulnerable doesn't always equate to danger or rejection.

As others have noted, a counselor can help if you so choose to go that route.  I can't say what your journey will look like, but I already have so much hope for you since you are obviously incredibly courageous and motivated to work to make your life better.  If 8 year old you can make it through trauma, then 40 year old you can definitely work through this!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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