Looking into the future

One of the hardest things that I’ve been asked to do in therapy, is imagine what my world would look like in the future when I’m “healed”… that magical point where I feel as if I determine how run my life is run. When you’re a survivor used to living moment to moment; have lived with abuse in one form or another nearly all your life; where chaos is the norm; and you find your mental health issues driving your every action… imagining a life of self-determination is difficult.  I’ve had few positive role models around me, so I have no real terms of reference for what “healthy” looks like.

So, when this months Carnival Against Childhood Abuse came out with the theme of Independence, I thought I’d challenge myself to think about what freedom (or independence) may look like.  As I’m making this challenge up, I’ve decided to go for a list of 5 things I’d like to see in a life of self-determination…

1. Free from abuse
This may sound obvious, but I have a proven history of being attracted to people who are abusive, either as friends or as partners.  So, establishing healthy relationships is a key aspect to my well-being.  This is tied to boundary, attachment and a whole raft of other issues; so I know it will take time and testing.  I’m taking baby steps with this through my online interactions…

Free from abuse, also means being free from self-injury in all of it’s forms…

2. Like who I am
I know that this should say “love” rather than “like”, but one step at a time 🙂
I’d like to feel comfortable in myself – my skills, abilities and who I am as a person.  To work through the shame, guilt, disgust, etc., to a point where I can look in a mirror or walk down the street with my head held high.  To not make unfair comparisons about myself, but instead, notice differences without judgement.  To value those differences in myself as much as I value them in others.

3. Trust
Trust in myself and those around me.  I realise that trust is heavily linked to points 1 and 2 above, but it’s such a big issue, I think it needs to be separated out.

I currently have little trust in my decision making… I can make decisions, but second guess myself all the time.  I’d like to get to a point where I can listen to the internal messages without fear, and act on those messages appropriately.  Usually my internal compass about people is fairly accurate, but I tend to drown it out with self-doubt.

I know that not everyone in this world can be trusted, but I’d like to be open to the possibility that some of them can be.

4. Enjoy life
I’d like to wake up in the morning, feeling positive about the day.  I realise that life will always have the natural flow of ups and downs; but I want to reach a point where I have the skills to help me ride out the negatives without it causing a downward spiral.

5. Be creative
More importantly, be creative without fear!

I think this is my main goal in life… to work towards a place where I’m not living in fear.


23 thoughts on “Looking into the future

  1. Excellent goals CG, especially the last one. When I made a similiar list for my thera a while ago she asked me, which little steps I want to take to reach these goals *sigh* That was real,real difficult. Till today, I don’t know which steps are necessary to live without fear. Does it mean, that we must learn to trust people as a first step?? Maybe you can give a few tips.
    Take care (((((CG)))))

    • Hi LSC,

      It’s good to see you 🙂

      This post came partially from the reports and assessments that I have to do as part of the ACC accountability process. So while I’ve identified these as my long term goals, what we report back to ACC is quite different. What we report to them are things that are manageable within a three month timeframe. So, these past three months, my goals have been to begin building a relationship with Allison, to be able to eat one healthy meal per week, and so on.

      I think trust has to be there before we can reach these big goals, but I don’t think it’s necessary for the smaller goals. We gain trust by trying things and realising that the consequences aren’t as bad as we thought. So I think we build trust by challenging ourselves to do things and then seeing the results. The challenges are usually fairly small to begin with, but they build up as we learn and the trust in ourselves and our decision making develops.

      It will take time and testing, but it can be done… or so I’m told, and I have to believe it’s possible.

      Take care and (((warm safe hugs))) to those who want them 🙂

  2. Was it a good exercise for you? Was there a sense of how it could feel if you reached those goals?

    Those are scary, but I’m not entirely sure why yet. Maybe it’s like you wrote – we live moment to moment.

    I love what you wrote about each one! Can I steal some of what you wrote?


    • Hi Lisa,

      As I said to LSC, this was partially from an ACC requirement, so it wasn’t totally new… but it was good to do. In some ways, it feels like I’ll never reach those goals; but in other ways, it gives me hope.

      It is scary to think long term… it challenges my constant suicidal ideation and my “moment to moment” living. But, it’s necessary to challenge that thinking when we can.

      Of course you can use some of what I wrote 🙂

      Take care,

  3. Sounds like a wonderful place to be. I think it’s good to have goals in front of us. That way we are looking forward, and not always behind us at the monsters that haunt us. I know you can achieve what you want. I have hope for you.


    • Hi Missing In Sight,

      It’s what I’m aiming for 🙂 A huge part of that is what you say – looking forward, rather than looking back. I’m not sure how that happens, because some of us are so frantically looking forward as a way to block out the past. But then, maybe they’re looking down rather than up?

      I know you can achieve something similar… you have incredible strength and courage.

      Please take care, and with (((warm safe hugs))) to those who want them…

  4. You have such fair goals. Everything I read is so down-to-earth, reasonable, and user friendly. It’s very impressive. Good for you!


    • Hi Meredith,

      Oh yeah, I can pass for human quite well sometimes… Sometimes, I can even pass for sane 🙂

      Thank you… I lost control of the blog for a bit there, so I’m doing that testing process I talked about with LostShadowChild, by posting this. It’s not really coming from “me”, but rather a place heavily influenced by the protection of M.

      We live and learn!

      Take care of yourself,

  5. hi castor~ what an excellent post! i love the theme of independence and really enjoyed writing my own post for the carnival just now. i have struggled with the above issues you mention and still struggle with some. i think finding good people did take me a long time, and some really painful trial and error. i wish you all the best on that front. and the trust and learning to like myself and trust my instincts, i’m still working on these things too. i have a tendency to feel inferior and inadequate and down on myself still way more than i think is good for me. thank you for sharing about your feelings here.

    wishing you well today and always! 🙂 safe hugs~~

    • Hi katie,

      I thought your entry about independence was brilliant! Thank you for sharing it with us.

      I know what I describe here are long term goals that I need to work towards. I know it will take time, testing, successes and failures before I get near them; but I need to believe that I can get there. That’s where the blogs that I read help… I can sometimes see hope through others writing when I don’t see if for myself.

      Take care and (((warm safe hugs)))

  6. It took me a while to comment on your post because it was so profound. I had to think abit it and read it several times. You have beautiful goals and I believe that you can reach them and get the life you want. You know what you want and I believe you have the strength to work towards accomplishing it. Beautifully written and very inspirational.

    • Thank you tai 🙂

      If you get a chance, check out the Blog carnival when it’s published. I know from some of the submissions that I’ve read already, that it’s going to be an inspirational and moving edition.

      You may even want to submit something – either for this edition, or a future one. The carnivals are a great way to find new blogs to read and get validation, inspiration and support.

      Take care,

        • Hi tai,

          I usually put posts which have either more personal or triggering content behind a password protection. I don’t do it very often.

          I’ll email you the password so you can look at them if you want.

          Take care,

  7. Pingback: July 2010 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: Independence « Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Chicago

  8. This is a great post. It is a really tough exercise to envision what “healed” looks like without any point of reference! It’s like rebuilding yourself from the ground up. Good for you for putting your goals into words.

    • Hi Kim,

      Thank you for stopping by 🙂

      Yes, it’s difficult when there are so few terms of reference for what “healthy” and “healed” look like. But I hope that by imagining change, it gives me something to work towards…

      Take care,

  9. This is a wonderful list of things to look forward to. Thanks so much for letting us use it for THE BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE.

    I hope that you get to this place on all the points along your list very soon. You so deserve it and you are worth it!

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