Trying not to dwell on painful memories of abuse–religion included

jesuscallingJesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, Deluxe Edition

A few months ago, I purchased a Christian devotional book that has been a wonderful source of wisdom and help for me. It isn’t specifically about dealing with narcissists. In fact, it’s not about dealing with abuse, bad memories, or painful events in particular. The part that caught my attention in the store was the phrase “Enoying Peace.” Hmmm…after years of PTSD symptoms which include nightmares and flashbacks, I could use some peace from the weight of bad memories!

This book includes a devotional for every day of the year. Not all of them speak to me, but many of them do. Some of the quotes have been so helpful that I wrote them out on sticky notes and posted them over my desk so I’d see them through the day.

One of my favorite quotes comes from January 16th. It says:

Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way!

I know this is easier said than done, for sure. We don’t *want* to keep re-living the terror we endured with a narcissist or sociopath! It just jumps into our heads and drags us down. But at the same time, we can help ourselves by not specifically dwelling on the bad memories. It’s tempting to sit and think about how unfair things are, but like the quote says, that lets us relive the pain. Not worth it!

I read a few years ago, that it isn’t enough to try not to think about something, because the more you try not to think about something, the more it comes to the front of your mind. Instead, it is important to replace an intrusive thought. If something bad is haunting you, you can try to focus on something else. I know it’s not always that simple, especially if you have PTSD. You can’t just forget or get over it, but you can try to keep it from being worse. I can say from experience that healing doesn’t only come with time. You also have to make the effort to grow past trauma as bad as narcissistic abuse. I had to make a deal with myself that I needed to stop making myself hurt more by focusing on all the injustices. No, things won’t be fair, but that’s not going to change, so all I could do was change myself and focus on finding peace.

I have really enjoyed this devotional. I didn’t start reading it on January 1st like one is supposed to, so I just read a few at a time, when I need to. I just follow my instinct, and I usually come to a really good point to underline. I always walk away feeling wiser and more accepting about things that have happened to me.

***Note: the pretty pink copy I have is not the same copy that Amazon has now. The one in the link is brown. I could not find that they still had the pink copy in stock.***

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