Nothing long lasting can be done in a hurry and feelings can not be changed overnight–neither can a habit. However, I needed to start somewhere if I wanted to get rid of the burdens I harbored since childhood.
Parents are supposed to prepare a child for adult life. If anything, mine saddled me with an overwhelming burden that I carried for many years. I am still trying to throw off the shadows of my childhood that seem to control me. Many times I wanted to act and feel differently, but the long hand of my parents reached out to stop me.
One day standing in front of a full garbage can to put in another bag, I finally saw myself. As a woman who cared more about how she looked on the outside than the inside, I was filled with negative thoughts and feelings about life. Everything was someone else’s fault.
I was surrounded by people who believed the world couldn’t get along without them. They were self-important and arrogant. I suddenly realized I must get rid of the garbage inside me and refill myself with something that sustains instead of destroys. First, I had to let out what I had been shamefully hiding all my life, analyze it and in return give it back to those who put it there. I would then replace this pattern with something worthwhile.
The abuse I lived through as a child haunted me. Not knowing any better, I accepted this mental and physical pain as my life’s burden. My father always told me I was unworthy, dumb, no good and not worth the food I ate.
As I wrote about my childhood, the haunting shadows hit me. Seeing the horrible scenes in my mind, I felt as if I had emptied one layer of my soul-garbage-can. Every scene I wrote turned on another light and the mental pain left me little by little. I saw how my life today was controlled by those childhood experiences. One memory followed another and after I had written everything down I could never talk about it and realized how much power and control these secrets had over me. Gradually, I started feeling freer; the fear subsided in stages until finally I felt empty.
The time was ripe to fill the gap in my mind with positive thoughts. In this process I discovered a gentle kind woman who was able to love. Carefully, still fearing rejection, I began to express my opinion and my true feelings. I no longer had to please others. My self-confidence grew steadily.
After six years of mainly self-therapy and the help of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), I made an important step even it did not helped the mental healing healing progress. I faced what I feared most, my hometown of Harburg, Germany, where all the memories were created.