If you are struggling with how to let go of your past and be happy, read on.
Sitting at the conference table with the assistant district attorney, he looked at me and said: “What’s the animosity between Ms. K and you?”
The animosity, I thought. Are you serious? She physically abused me, and I was removed multiple times because of it. Which I already told him. If he wanted to know the animosity, he could have just gone and asked his boss. His boss, the head district attorney at the time, was my attorney when I was in foster care. This attorney is also called a guardian ad litem.
But, what I realized since that day, is that the animosity did run deep, and I had every right not to have a relationship with Ms. K or anyone from my past that had hurt me. But what I didn’t have the right to do was to stay there—at least in God’s eyes.
Letting go of your past is challenging, it’s hard, but you can move on.
My Child Abuse Survivor Story
This is the first time publicly I will be sharing any significant details of my child abuse story, but there is something freeing about having the truth come out. (I have taken out names to protect the individuals involved.) But in a way, it’s part of the healing that takes place when you learn how to let go of your past.
“The children confirmed that they have seen Ms, K, guardian/custodian, choking James on at least two occasions until he passed out and kicking him until he regained consciousness.”
“Ms. K threatened to kill them”.
“Ms. K has bitten them all on the nose.”
“There has been ongoing physical and emotional abuse of the minor children in the home of the custodian, and as a result, the minor children are fearful to continue to reside with the custodian.”
“The custodian has substance abuse and mental health issues which hinder her ability to properly care for the children”
These are just a few of the averments that are listed in court petitions to remove my siblings and me. An avernment is a formal statement by a party in a case of a fact or circumstance which the party offers to prove or substantiate.
I was 17 the last time I was removed, but it wasn’t because child protective services came to my home and interviewed me. It was because I was determined to live.
It’s interesting how life changes you and when you look death in the face, it causes you to fight and muster up all of the courage you have, and give it one last shot.
So for me, the fear of the unknown had to be better than the known.
I was 17 when I walked into a lawyer’s office and told him everything that was happening, and how I didn’t trust my local child protective service agency. The attorney started working on my case, and shortly later, I was removed by the local child protective service agency along with the assistance of local law enforcement with a verbal order from a judge.
It would be the fourth and final time I would be removed by child protective services.
Even with the removal taking place, came a pain to move on that was incredibly deep.
It took me years to learn how to let go of the past and move on and be happy.
How To Move On From Your Past And Be Happy
With any past comes moments where you have questioned decisions, situations, or things that could have been handled differently.
For me, those were decisions that were made on my behalf. And if I’m honest, I still question those decisions today, but what has helped me move on from my past and be happy with these steps?
1. Acknowledge That Things Happened That Were Out Of Your Control
I’m not saying for one second that the things that happened to you were okay. What I’m saying is that you need to acknowledge what happened to you was wrong. Staying angry, and having animosity won’t change what happened to you.
But it’s okay to acknowledge what happened to you and have strong feelings about it.
2. Feel The Emotion
With acknowledging that what happened to you was wrong comes lots of emotions.
Those emotions could range from anger to intense grief, which is completely understandable and welcomed when handled correctly.
Those feelings are real and very valid.
What has happened to you has changed you, and I would argue has caused you to look at the world differently.
So, feel the emotions. God has given you emotions for a reason.
3. Counseling Services
Counseling services and the right counselor to help you process your pain is important.
When you have been through something that has caused you intense pain, seeking counseling services is crucial to moving on from your past.If you are seeking a therapist, you can find one here.
4. Allow Your Past To Be The Motivation To Change Your Life
You survived, walked through, and dealt a hand in a game you never agreed to play.
Now it’s your turn to allow your past to be your motivation.
Use what you have been through for a greater purpose, a greater reason.
Whatever that may be for you, use it.
God cares about what you have been through and wants to use that as motivation to change your life.
I heard lyrics in a song that said, “We don’t retreat, we reload”.
Reload your purpose. Reload the deep part of your soul that craves justice, that craves a greater purpose, that craves a listening ear, because what you have been through matters much more than you could realize.
Now it’s your turn to use it to change your life.
5. Learn How To Forgive Someone
Learning how to forgive someone is hard when the pain is so deep.
I heard a saying once: when we don’t forgive it’s like serving a sentence for a crime we didn’t commit.
And this couldn’t be more true. I once thought if I forgave Ms. K, then it’s like what happened didn’t matter. But that’s not true.
I also thought it meant to some degree, I was okaying the abuse we endured, especially what happened to James, but again that’s not true.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget or that person needs to be a part of your life. It just means you have come to a part in your healing journey where you realize that they don’t have control of your life anymore and you don’t need an apology from them to move on.
Staying angry or holding animosity toward Ms. K, wasn’t helping me. It was causing me to serve a sentence for a crime I didn’t commit.
6. Pray Over It And Through It
Praying over it and through it can be helpful. It can help you to release the control that you so desperately want to keep.
When someone or an agency has hurt you, you didn’t have control. Now you want to control what you can and even at your own expense, it could be your ability to move on and forgive.
For you, this very well may be the places or people that have caused you such deep pain.
I was there, I held that pain so deeply until one day when I went back to the places that caused me such pain and prayed over it and through it even when it was hard.
I released my pain to Jesus as would be the only person capable of handling my pain.
For a keepsake, I even took pictures.
One of the pictures of me sitting outside of York County Children, Youth, and Families.
So, I would encourage you to pray over it and pray through it.
Pray over the places and people that have hurt you and release it to God. He is more than willing to carry it for you.
Learning how to let go of your past is necessary for the healing process. It allows you to take back your life. It gives your new life access to a welcomed change.
With your past, you didn’t have control before, but you do now. You have control of your future, and how you will walk through it. Remember to retreat and reload because your future is waiting for you to use it for good.
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