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Keeping Myself Prisoner With Trauma and How I Found the Key

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I’ve been journaling a lot lately. I’m stuck in quarantine alone and I’ve been coming face to face with a lot of my traumas, so it has been helpful to write them down. Yesterday was especially difficult for me. I was re-living a lot of truly awful memories from my childhood and it was tearing me apart. I spent the morning writing nearly 8,000 words, sobbing the entire time. As you can imagine, it was exhausting. I decided to take a bath.

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As I’m soaking, reflecting on the sweet, little girl I used to be, I kept thinking about how much I wish I could go back there and help her, hold her, hug her and tell her how much she is loved. I kept thinking I’d do almost anything to save that little girl from the awful things that happened to her.

And then, it dawned on me.

All these years, I’ve been keeping that little girl a prisoner, locked up in a place where I’ve been forcing her to re-live her trauma again and again.

All this time, I’ve been the one trapping her inside of those moments and I’ve never allowed her to escape them.

It’s me. I’m keeping her there.

And I thought how awful it is, that I would do that to her when all I really want to do is protect her and show her the love she didn’t receive.

Then I realized, that little girl is me.

I knew it all along, of course, but I finally understood that I’m the one who is making myself go back to those places. I haven’t let it go. After 40 years, I’m still trapped there. I won’t let myself leave. But, if I truly love that little girl, I must also love myself and the adult I am today, because we are the same person, in spite of the things that have changed me.

Those times, those places, those people… they’re gone now. They can’t hurt me or my little self ever again. I’m the one who keeps going back there. I’m the one keeping those things in the present. I’m the one keeping myself a prisoner.

It’s not a miracle cure, but I honestly feel… lighter. I’m going to stop trapping that little girl, myself, in those places. Because I deserve to be free.

I’m going to let her out and I’m going to bring her with me when I do the things she’d love, or go to the places she always wanted to visit. I’m going to start being good to her and showing her that love she deserves.

She is me. I deserve love. I deserve to love myself.

I’ve never had this kind of breakthrough before, and it feels like hope.

Image via contributor

Originally published: May 7, 2021
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