What Could I Have Been?

David1959

Confident
I am in Therapy with a new Therapist for the last 4 weeks, so far so good. I had read an article she wrote in a national magazine about adult survivors and childhood abuse and I had to wait 3 months to get an appt, glad I waited.

Therapy I have found often confuses me because it ends up going down roads that you did not know where there. Sort of like peeling an onion with multiple layers. I have many to go. My struggle is that as I learn about the abuse and long term damage it has caused I am beginning to realize that this invisible hand has guided many key decisions in my life that have led me down many negative paths.

This leads me to the ultimate question I am struggling with, what could my life have been😢? Here is an example, I am an extreme introvert but when I think back to my youth before the sexual assaults began at 10 I do not believe I was an introvert. As a matter of fact, even though my memories are extremely limited I remember a young boy who was very gregarious and friendly, that person does not exist anymore.

There are scores of examples like this, basically I am saddened by the loss of what could have been and this leaves me spiraling downward. My T has quickly recognized something I did not, namely that my abuse at 10-12 certainly effected and changed me but it was not the only abuse. I suffered a string of traumatic items both caused by me and not but they hardened and set me for life down a road I would never have seen without all the damage.

Example - I went to 3 different high schools, NY, TX and PR. In my two years living in PR I lived in 10 different places and my brother and I were on our own starting in my Senior year of HS. Years of wild behavior, drugs and lack of any guidance took their toll. Another behavior that she has identified is my inability to grieve. My father whom I was very close to and loved dearly passed 34 years ago, I still can not talk about him without beginning to cry, I say beginning because I do not allow myself to cry. . I feel that if I were to start crying it would never stop. She said (correctly) that is because I have never allowed myself to grieve for him or for anything else for that matter. I have built a steel wall around my emotions that nothing gets through. I am beginning to understand that this behavior probably saved my life when I was 10 but has caused immense damage over the last 50 years.

Therapy opens up lots of feelings, so far for me all bad but I know I need to go through this process if I want to survive and not fall into a total collapse.
 
Therapy opens up lots of feelings, so far for me all bad but I know I need to go through this process if I want to survive and not fall into a total collapse.
I love this and I love how you're determined to get through this. And you will. I promise you that feeling the bad feelings right now will open you up to many wonderful feelings that you also have been unable to feel up to now.

Grief is hard. It's feels so unpleasant, yet ultimately it's a very healing emotion. The grief of "what could have been," personally, has been the very hardest thing that I've had to feel. I still think about it, but I think that ultimately I'm coming to accept that person never existed. I really would have liked to meet that person, yet, as I feel and grow, I think I'm somehow getting closer to knowing him.
 

Friday

Moderator
This leads me to the ultimate question I am struggling with, what could my life have been😢?
The next question... as you pass through grief, instead of locking it away? Doesn’t hurt so much.

“What could my life be?”

It’s one of the very few reasons why I’m willing to do all this hard shit with the past. It changes the question from what was... to what is, and what will be.
 

intothelight

Moderator
Therapy definitely provides insights to the past, but it also gives a person an opportunity to make changes in the future. The new found realizations can cause grief of "what could have been", but this is a slippery slope full of cognitive and emotional pitfalls. Radical Acceptance is a tool to stop the cycle and takes time and practice.
 

David1959

Confident
Thank you all for the words of encouragement. I am hoping some day to merge the logical part of my brain and the emotional part.
 

David1959

Confident
I love this and I love how you're determined to get through this. And you will. I promise you that feeling the bad feelings right now will open you up to many wonderful feelings that you also have been unable to feel up to now.

Grief is hard. It's feels so unpleasant, yet ultimately it's a very healing emotion. The grief of "what could have been," personally, has been the very hardest thing that I've had to feel. I still think about it, but I think that ultimately I'm coming to accept that person never existed. I really would have liked to meet that person, yet, as I feel and grow, I think I'm somehow getting closer to knowing him.
For 50 years I have shielded myself from expressing grief, initially for survival but now it is just hard wired. There is no pain that I can imagine that is harder than feeling grief. It is like asking someone to jump off the roof of a building, I can't do that to myself. I suspect that my drive for survival coping in any way I can good or bad is what has ultimately stoped me at different times in my life from killing myself, luckily the self preservation drive is stronger.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
I understand nothing being able to get in, OR out. It will change. You will change. Sounds like you have a great T that is perfect for you. She knows how we have to do 'baby steps'.

We do learn to walk, but we have to go thru the learning of safety to take those big steps. You are willing to do the work and that makes you halfway 'there' already.

We are excited to see who you will become. You are not alone on your journey.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
The great thing is... you don't have to do it TODAY. And one of the wonderful things about therapy is sometimes the changes are so gradual we don't even notice them, say until maybe we laughed out loud at something that never in a million years that would have happened before we started healing.

So you will have plenty of time to adjust to the changes as they happen. And then they will be normal as your old behavior or thought patterns. And the cool thing is, you aren't real fond of yourself now, so any good changes will be the reward and the surprise! Not to worry, I and others here see a man very determined to change his life. I can't imagine it having a bad outcome with that kind of commitment.
 
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