Episode 26: Don’t Turn Back to the Past, Step Forward
Description: When we are faced with triggers or past trauma, it’s easy to turn back to what feels familiar. Challenge yourself to move through the pain rather than repeat the heartache.
Welcome back to choose in. I'm your host, Roxanne Kennedy Grenata. And if you haven't seen yet, on my social media, I'm holding a retreat. It's coming up in September, I am so excited about it. It's been something that I've been wanting to do for years. And it just felt like now was the time with COVID and quarantine and, and people coming out of what they've always done and trying to be different.
There's been so much awakening and healing in what is actually true that's going on either in the world or in our own homes, in our relationships. And I have found that women are ready to move forward, they're ready to heal, they're ready to see the truth. As much as they wish, the reality of their situation may be different. At this point, they're done living the way that they were, they want to feel better.
And so I put a poll out there on Instagram and 84% of people said that they would attend a retreat during COVID. So we're doing it and super excited, we're going to keep it small, I'm going to have 20 people register. So there might be about 24 of us or so with the people that I'm bringing to help me. But it is going to be so amazing. It's on my website. So go check it out. All the details are there. My website is Roxanne KennedyGranata.com/retreat.
So go check it out, it is going to be this beautiful place.So many bedrooms, so many bathrooms, there's a pool, we're gonna learn grow, my favorite therapists are going to be there speaking and teaching classes. So Ryan, who I talk about all the time is going to be there. And Geoff Steurer, who is one of the leading therapists in St. George, he was the editor of my book cutting ties, he was one of them. These two are my favorite people in the trauma world.
There are so many resources out there. And both of these deal with betrayal trauma, they deal with the anxiety that comes with it. They deal with healing, they see truth, they talk about truth, everything I've heard from them, whether talking to them personally, or listening to them speak has been right in line with the way that I think with what is actually Okay, and what isn't. I want healing.
I want empowerment, I want to know how to live a life that is free of abuse. And they know how to show us how to get out of that. So they're going to be there as well as some other things. So go check that out. For today, I have really been thinking a lot about how it works and what it feels like and what it looks like when we're healing. And we get into those places of fear, where we feel stuck, where we feel more broken than we were before. And we don't know what to do. I imagine it as if I am I'm learning something, right. So I'm learning how to see the truth let's just start with maybe something like when I was really seeing clear that what I was in was emotional abuse, psychological abuse, I had to kind of look at my reality and go,
Oh my goodness, the relationship I thought I had for so many years. Well, even though part of it was true and good. And my experience at least was good. That doesn't mean it feels Okay, now that I know that I was being manipulated and deceived, that I was being told that one thing but really that was where lies. So there's all this awareness and all this uncomfortable feeling of being exposed. Like I kind of felt embarrassed, like.
Oh my gosh, I thought my life was this and I thought it was so great. And I couldn't believe how wonderful things were. But in actuality, he knew how to manipulate and lie. And so it makes me feel uncomfortable and stressed. So as I'm going along healing and trying to navigate through all the lies, and what was my life really anyway?
And was he just laughing at me the whole time as he was tricking me, or or did other people know or what because I I'm looking at myself and thinking, this could this is just weird that this happened to me, I just felt like, how did I just blindly look at this person and think he had my best interest in mind?Well, that's the way it's supposed to be. So my thinking is actually correct that I should be able to think that my person cares about me and loves me enough not to lie, cheat or manipulate. So it's okay, that that's where I was.
And that's who I want to be anyway, I want to be that trusting person now. But when you find out your life is not what you thought, there's a lot of lessons to learn, there's a lot of healing to do, there's a lot of trauma. And it's really hard to heal when trauma keeps presenting itself. When triggers keep happening, and you're in chaos. And you're hyperventilating and, and you don't even know how to do it, you feel like you need to jump out of your own skin. So I was kind of thinking about how we start the healing process. And we're going and we're looking and so we're really trying to live present, whether we're with our spouse, or not whatever the situation was, we personally are trying to heal.
And what I have found and seen, and what I noticed when I'm talking to people, is that we get to this place where all of a sudden, we kind of panic, and and we were doing really well, our nerves were feeling calm, we felt like we we had had a handle on our reality and what had happened, we thought we were working towards healing. And things had kind of been smooth, we may have had a little bit of a reprieve from the shock or the chaos or the anxiety. And so we're sitting in this space, and all of a sudden that fear overwhelms us. Like, oh, my goodness, okay, well, I don't know what to do. Because I just found out now with my healing, that not only did my spouse lie, and cheat and manipulate.
But now I'm finding that my own internal self is flawed in some way. Or maybe not even flawed. Exactly. But our self worth is like shot. It's like, it's like dead and our voice to ourselves is how can you can't heal and why are you not getting over this and, and you have all these things in front of you and you still cry every single day?What is going on? You're out in the world and you get triggered by what people are wearing or watching another man look at look another woman when they're with somebody like their girlfriend or their spouse and you're triggered, why can you not let all of this go? So the response is to go, Okay, well, I'm freaking out.
So we turn our head and we look backwards at Okay, well, I used to do it this way. I used to function like this, it didn't really work. But this feels so uncomfortable. I'd rather go back to what I know. And we have this tendency to want to turn back. Either pretend the other things didn't happen. Cancel our therapist because they keep bringing out the truth. And we have to keep looking at it.
And we don't want to do it. So we're like, I don't like that therapist anymore. And I don't want to be with that person anymore. And we go back to old patterns and habits, we start talking to our ex, if that's what it is, we start communicating, we we start even going after if we are not with our person anymore, we even start trying to date people that resemble our life before because we know how to do that life.
Okay, logically, we don't want to do that. Right? We want to heal and move forward. So as I'm sitting on those, those bumps, like I'm going across the bridge, and I'm sitting on one of those where all of a sudden I am overly stressed like, I do not know how to do this. I clearly don't know what I'm doing. I obviously my counseling isn't working, and it's not paying off. Because look at me, I'm such a disaster. I'm a crazy person. When I'm in that spot. If I turn and go back, I know that I'm going to be at the spot again, because I already know what it feels like to be back.
I know what it feels like to live in those uncomfortable places of trying to discern between truth and lie. All the tears that I shed over infidelity, and mocking and laughing and teasing and saying rude stuff. I know what it feels like back there. So just because I know how to do it. I know also that once I go back, I'm going to get sick of it again. And I'm going to be at this same place because I'll have done some work and I'll have gotten to this place again, where I thought I was doing well and doing doing my healing and something's going on.
Come up a new layer a new level, something that is showing up that I need to work on. And again, I'll be right here again. So if we look at it, like, yeah, you can turn back and you can do this another round at another time, and do it as many times as you need. Or you can sit with the uncomfortable and try to figure out what it is that makes you feel so uncomfortable.
So that you can keep going and get past it on the other side. Because the other side of it is where the freedom is, that's where you breathe a sigh of relief. That's where you're like, Okay, I will never be treated like that ever again. You won't want to accept anything other than care, concern, love, respect. That makes sense, right? We all want that how to get there?
That's the hard part. What I've also found is when we're sitting in that spot, on top of the hill, or the mountain or, or whatever, or you can think about it as you're down in the in the dredges down in the depths of the mud. Either way, however, you look at it when you are fully not functioning to where you want, I look at it like this, okay, I am freaking out, I am completely triggered, I'm completely overwhelmed, I feel insane. I feel crazy.
I feel like I cannot even handle one more second of this, I try to take a step back and allow it to be there for one. Notice that it's there for a reason. And then I start looking at going, Okay, I have been doing my work, I have been doing my counseling, I have been doing my healing, I have been doing my reading whatever it is, that is part of my routine. So maybe that means that I'm ready for the next level of pain that I have to work through.
Maybe this is trauma, showing itself that it's time to heal this next piece. So I can look at it in a completely different way. I can say, you know what, I'm not going to shame myself. I'm not going to tell myself how dumb I am. I hear that voice that's telling me why can't you heal already.
But I'm actually going to listen to that voice for a second not do what it says. But say Wow, that is a piece of me a part of me that was harmed in some way previously. So now she is showing up. She's voicing her concern, because she does not want us getting hurt more than we are right now.
And because of the unknown of what healing looks like, We're going into uncharted territories. And so it's our body's way of responding. It's our body's way of saying I feel like I need to have help here and I feel like we are going into a danger zone. And so those voices just start going and going and going. We don't have to listen to them. And act, we don't have to turn back and go back to what we already knew.
But it's okay to listen to that voice. And be aware and understanding and have empathy for what she's trying to do what she's trying to tell us because she matters. She mattered to you when you needed her when you were in chaos, and she was saying, Hey, we got to get out of this. This is not good. We are not safe.
She was helpful. And so now if she's talking and it's loud, and you feel panicked, look at that as trauma, and trauma, the thing about it is we can look at it and it's not us. We don't have to feel like we're the ones that are so broken that we just don't even know how to handle anything. We can look at it that it's trauma and go, Oh, that's separate from me. The trauma is part of my experiences. It's the result of what I've gone through. And it needs love and healing. Those pieces need to be heard.
So as the layers come up, and we've talked about layers, before, we've talked about how we go along our journey healing, and new things will pop up. And it's our body's way of saying we're ready. It's the same with things like this. It's the same with trauma response and triggers. It's our body's way of saying, Hey, we're ready to heal this because we're so done holding on to this.
We don't want to hold this anymore. We don't want to be affected by it anymore. We don't want to be out in public and not be able to handle ourselves. That was like the worst thing to be out somewhere and be triggered at Home Depot at Target at the mall. I don't know how many times I had to leave them all because I was triggered by other people by their actions by what they were wearing. Or even just
just watching couples together and and believing that they might be in the same situation that I had been in. And I hated knowing or thinking that that was possible. Now of course, there are people that have been in my situation. That's why I'm here. That's why I do what I do. That's why so many of you respond to what I share. But that doesn't mean everybody is that doesn't mean we need to take it on.
And that doesn't mean we need to be triggered by it. Once we go through healing, and we work through all of the trauma that comes up, there's this freedom that allows us to let go, we actually can live we actually can be at the mall, we can be at the beach, we can be at Home Depot, we can be anywhere, and we can feel okay, we actually feel happy.
It's really empowering to cross the bridge, where so many things affected me. And so many things caused me chaos, where every moment of every day was spent, living in recovery, trying to heal, trying to navigate, trying to do do these things, so that I could be free, but it took every waking moment. So it was this 24/7 full time job. And I was still a mom still raising my kids and doing other things. But that time spent actually does pay off. When you're wondering if it's hopeless, when you're wondering if Will I ever feel okay, again, I promise you, you will.
Not today, not when you're in the middle of it, not when the triggers come up, and you have new trauma that you have to heal. But if you keep working through it, and addressing it and noticing it and accepting it, and really loving your body and yourself, and having empathy for your heart and mind for what it's gone through. The healing takes place. I promise you it does. It takes a lot of work, it takes day to day work, it takes noticing and awareness and being present.But as you do that, it works as you do that you feel so much better.
And you can start living again, you can start being happy. There was times where I thought there is no possible way I'm ever going to be able to live without this hanging over my head. And that is not actually true. And now here it is, I talk about it almost every single day. Yet, it's actually not hanging over my head at all.It feels just like it's facts, it feels like these are things that happened.
And it feels like it doesn't own me feels like I have my own life that I'm separate from from it. Now, how cool is that? Right? So I'm telling you that you can actually feel separate from all the pain you feel now, at some point, at some point you can, it will feel so good. And you will you will be thriving. And you'll think wow, I have this new lease on life.
I want to go do this. And Iwant to be able to do that. And everything seems better. And and the sky seems brighter and the trees are more green. It is really a peaceful, reassuring feeling when you start crossing over to that healing. Now, this does not just mean with trauma, this can be with anxiety. This doesn't even have to be with just addiction or betrayal and infidelity, anything in our life that causes us to form belief systems about ourselves that aren't true.
Like we're not worth it, we aren't good enough, we need to be perfect in order to be loved. Any anything like that or other things that cause us harm in our thinking, or in our actions is what I'm talking about. All of those things can be healed as we start looking at it and noticing what it is and how to accept what's happening in our own body.
So when I started uncovering the things I felt about myself and the insecurities I had, and the beliefs I had made about what I deserved, or what was even possible, when I started actually going. Okay, I actually was thinking that I only would be able to be with someone who's broken, or I would only be able to feel good about myself if I was doing things exactly the right way. perfectionism that was huge for me if I'm failing at this, this or this, then somehow I'm not okay, and how can I have a relationship with somebody if I'm not perfect over here, or here or here.
And as I learned that, that is not how it works. And the idea is not to be perfect, it's actually feels so much better to just be human, to be able to live and relax in what actually is happening to you. What's going on with you what the circumstance is what your experiences are, with having COVID one thing that I have felt over all of these months now of not being able to go as many places or or working from home and not not doing as much outside in the world is I began to relax even more things that were important to me before have not had such a hold anymore.
Even like my husband and I were laughing the other day. He's like I didn't take a shower today. I'm like neither did I. That's so funny, like, just silly things but we were talking about how it gave us this opportunity to Just relax into life, not worried aboutwhat's going to happen that day or who you're going to see or, or what's going on, you can just be. And there's something so fulfilling and refreshing about just being, I can relate so much more to people that share with me what's going on in their life.
When people pretend that all is well, and they don't want to talk, and they don't want to share anything that is hurtful, harmful, sad, something they've either done, or they're going through because someone else did something, the heartache of our life, right, the heartache of our, our what's going on with our children, or the heartache of friendships, or our parents or siblings,
the things that are not easy. When we keep all of those to ourselves, we're doing ourselves a disservice. Because we cannot have the close relationships that we want. It is nice to know that we can actually be human and say, I totally made a mistake the other day, this is what happened. This is what I said this is I wasn't meaning to be rude, but it just came out that way. And
I needed I needed to apologize. And this is what happened. There's there's more respect that comes in a relationship where we can come open and vulnerable, where we can say I am so sorry, that this happened that I did this, that I chose this, this is not what I was going for, I was not in a very good place and, and I took it out on you or whatever the situation is, it's so nice to get to that place. It's so great to feel free. If we always have to be on our very best behavior. If our children always have to be lined up with their hair combed and their clothes neat. It gives this false statement
that all as well at our house. But all the while we're at home. And we are dealing with the things of real life of rejection and sadness and pain and addiction, and anxiety and depression, and illness and whatever else. So many things. Every home has things that they are dealing with, we'll deal with or have dealt with. There's so much that we can learn from each other, just by being open, just by sharing what was true. We can learn so much we can even maybe get ideas that will inspire or help us How many times have you listened whether to my podcast or something else.
And something felt insightful. Something felt like it, it pierced your mind or your heart and you're like, that's what I needed. That's exactly what I needed. I don't know how many times I've read quotes online, going, Wow, that's for me, that totally resonates with me. It gives me ideas, it gives me ways to talk to my family or, or situations to discuss. It's open. It brings truth, it brings reality.
It helps us to live in the present. Because if we are looking at things from a past view, we're not in the present. And if we're looking towards the future, we're not in the present. When we do that, when we look ahead, I used to do this a lot. Actually, I don't live a lot in the past, I lived more so in the future when I was going through things. I kept waiting for the day to be over. So the next day, I was like counting oh good today is almost over.
Okay, good. Because then there's tomorrow. And then there's tomorrow. And then there's tomorrow and I just kept doing it, I would look to the future of when things would be okay again. And somehow I was waiting out the time, because things were so hard and awful. That was at the beginning, I didn't have a therapist, I I hadn't started into 12 step yet. This was before I found out what was actually happening in my home, I was just waiting out the time.
And I kept thinking, wow, this is gonna be a really long life, this is gonna be so long. And that's not how we need to be. Because when we are living present for today, doing the things we need to for today, we feel better, we're more productive, and we can make it. It's helpful in our healing.
It's helpful in walking that bridge of the chaos that we're in. And it keeps us grounded and also keeps us living in the truth. When we're turning back. And living in the past. We're wishing something was the way it used to be. Now on some things. That is true, right? Like I loved when my dad was living and he wasn't living in heaven anymore. And I could see him and he could come over and he could bring me homemade bread.
That was my favorite thing that he would do. I love that he would just stop over, give me a hug. Talk to me, and he's just the sweetest person ever. So I can look back and wish that that was still here, but not in the way where I'm looking back. longing for a way of life. That wasn't even necessarily true. That's where I'm going with this. If I looked back at my first marriage, and before I found out about the addiction fully. If I was looking back after finding out and going I just wish my life was back there again. I just wish it was the way it was before.
The thing was, is the way it was before was still happening. Like I knew at that moment, but because I didn't know about it, it seemed like it wasn't really true. But it still was true. So that's looking in the past, looking at the future is always going, Okay, well, when I do this, then it will be okay. When this happens, everything will be made, right? When I have this kind of a job, or make this much money or have this many friends, then I'm going to fill okay. But again, that's not true.
If you don't feel Okay, today, you're not going to feel, okay, when those things happen. So what's going on today that we can thrive and we can progress and we can heal? And we can look at what's true. That's what's important. It's important to look at today, it's important to be in the moment of always aware of how we're feeling and what's going on, how many times do I need to drop down on my knees in a certain day? If it's a hard day, sometimes a lot.
Sometimes, so I don't go into the future mode or past. I have to drop to my knees and say, Okay, okay, I'm trying to stay present. I'm feeling all this chaos, or I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed. What is going on in me that I'm having this reaction? Is there something I need to see about myself?
Or is there something happening that I'm not aware of? What can I do to see clearly, the best way to do is start with gratitude. When I dropped to my knees like that, I say those things that I just said, and then I start counting kind of reliving what I'm grateful for the things that are amazing in my life, this doesn't discount the fact that I have something hard in my life. That's okay, too. But it puts things in balance and in perspective, because when we start letting the piece that feels overwhelming, rule our thoughts and feelings 24 seven, it becomes huge, and there's no room for the other things on our plate.
And we want the good things on our plate, we want to know and remember the things that have been a blessing in our lives. Just even that day, it's helpful. And it helps us keep things in perspective so that the trigger the trauma, or whatever's coming up, or whatever the overwhelm is, doesn't rule us, we want to notice it, we want to address it, we want to work on it, we want to do what we need to, to kind of fix it or figure out how to heal. But we don't want it ruling us because then
that's when we're stuck on that bridge. And it feels too big, we feel too broken, we don't know how to do it. And that's when we want to turn back and go to old patterns, because we know how to do it. And we don't want that we want to move forward. That's the whole point. We want to move forward. We want to be happy. We want to find our life again. And and we want to be able to have relationships in our life that feel uplifting and positive. Are you on board with me with that? Do you want to feel healthy? Do you want to be able to relax and feel peace in your own mind and your own heart and your own soul?
Well, you can you just have to keep plugging away one step at a time. If your goal is to feel one way and you have this goal, I just want to feel like this, I just want things to be like that. That's okay to have that goal. But dial it back down and look at what is the first thing you need to do. What's the first thing you need to heal to get to that goal? What is the first thing you need to uncover or go to counseling about, that's how you start, you start at the very beginning.
Because otherwise, it looks like you'll never reached the goal. It feels like it's impossible, but it's not. It's all possible. These are the kind of things that are important in our healing because it's hard to move forward. When these kinds of thoughts and feelings are in the way, we just end up surviving each day. And we want to do more than that. We want to get to the other side of all of that pain, whatever your pain is that you're going through.
Whatever happened in your life, whatever your experiences are either now or as a child, or as a young adult, or whatever's going on with you. Keep doing your work, keep hearing and feeling that inspiration that says when the next thing is that's going to be beneficial to you make an investment in yourself to do that work, you're worth it, you really are worth it. If you feel inspired that you want to join me and the other women that are going to be at this retreat,
do it. It's gonna be so great to connect. You're going to build friendships there that that you'll have never had the chance to do. Had you not taken a leap of faith stepped out of your comfort zone and done something that might feel really hard, but could really be a blessing. So pray about that. Maybe you'll feel inspired. Maybe God will tell you if it's right for you at this time or if you can make that happen.
But I would love to have you there. I would love to see you and meet you in person. I I love meeting with you guys each week just through my podcast, it feels like you're here with me as I'm sharing these things. Because a lot of things I share are things that I have been working with others on over the weeks of mentoring, or it's things that have come up for me, as I've read things that reminded me of my experiences earlier.
And God just says, Hey, this is the thing for this week. Why don't you talk about this. And generally, there's a lot of you that need exactly what we're talking about. So you are not alone. You are doing the work. I'm so proud of you. And I will see you next time.