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?

Ashton Sullivan
Ashton Sullivan
Dialectical Behavior Therapy and EMDR

I'm so sorry that you have been haunted by the past for so long.  It must have been incredibly difficult to open up about something so dark and vulnerable.  But by shedding light on it you have already taken the first step toward healing.  

Trauma can wreak havoc on relationships if it isn't healed.  In fact, we are all reacting to things every day based on perceptions colored by our past experiences.  The good news is, you can heal by gaining an understanding of how trauma from the past is affecting you now, developing healthy coping skills, and working through those memories and emotions with a therapist.  

This will require some "rewiring of the brain," meaning that you will identify the negative thought patterns and beliefs, and replace them with something more helpful.  For example, if your negative reaction feels like "I'm abandoned and alone," you might work on changing it to "I can get my needs met, and I'll be okay regardless." Or if you find yourself feeling like "I'm not worthy of love," you might change that to something like "I deserve to be loved."

Most likely, the reason you're pushing this man away is because something about this relationship is triggering negative beliefs and emotions from the past, and your reaction (by pushing him away) protects you in some way even though there may not be any real danger now.  You probably know this logically, but trauma gets stuck in our emotional mind which you can't reason with!  

That's why you have to work through the emotions to be able to see things more clearly from a new and more helpful perspective.  I like to think of emotions like clouds that block the sun and make it difficult to see anything clearly.  If we ignore and avoid the clouds all the time then we will spend our lives looking at the ground.  If you can learn to safely weather the storm,  you'll find that before long it will pass and you'll be able to see things clearly again.

I recommend working with a therapist who is trained in treating trauma and who you feel comfortable with because they will be able to tailor treatment to your specific needs.  You can have the happy life and healthy relationship you desire and deserve! 

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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