Wednesday, November 16, 2011


yesterday brought a surprise, and not a good one. a flashback from the abusive years. over time these have become less and less frequent -- wonderful! the downside of the infrequency is how hard they hit me now because they are so unexpected. 

flashbacks come in a variety of ways -- sometimes they are full blown, technicolor films of events; sometimes they are a single scene; and sometimes they are just a hint. a smell, a word, a sound, a feeling. yesterday's was more of the hint variety.

i was driving down the road letting my mind wander while listening to my new cd, Dance of the Renaissance (wonderful, by the way) when the word "numbers" popped into my head. a random word to be sure, but not a word that one usually connects with terror. terror is what I felt. I've come to accept that randomness is just the tip of the iceberg with flashbacks. I went into self talk immediately -- it's not your fault, you are not causing this to happen, in time we'll figure it out, nothing bad is happening now. remarkably it does help.

I finished running my errand, and when I got home I jotted a few notes down about the flashback. my initial desire is always to shove it aside; bury it; disregard it. the problem is those approaches don't work. writing about what is running through my head does help, just as talking does, but oh how I fight it!

yesterday all I could write was this:
bad numbers
chicken coop?
don't want to go there!
not much to go on really, but a start at getting it out. later as I talked with Alan about it the terror, judgment and humiliation began to subside a bit. this morning as I talked with my therapist, they lessened again.

so what does any of this have to do with intentionality? quite a bit actually.

"Intentionality is the aboutness or directedness of mind (or states of mind) to things, objects, states of affairs, events." (

I have found that I must be intentional when dealing with flashbacks or they can take over my life. so today I made an intentional plan on dealing with the latest episode. life gets in the way of dealing with the past all too often. right now there isn't enough time to devote to working on this flashback the way I'd like to. so instead my therapist suggested taking time each day to affirm what I know to be true and in my best interest until I have the time to address the issue.

today I choose --
:: to not have memory pain, because I don't have to
:: to not have intrusive thoughts
:: to recognize that I have a plan in place
:: to not have to feel terror, judgment or humiliation
:: to honor myself
:: to be kind to myself
:: to trust myself
:: to allow myself to comfort me in healthy positive ways
:: to remember that God is big enough to hold on to this stuff as long as I need Him to

intentionality is hard for most us. abuse survivors may have it a little worse, though. there was no time for intentionality when the abuse was ongoing, nor did I have the experience, maturity or knowledge to apply it. it was fight or flight. try to stay alive. try to figure out the next move or what set him/her off this time. all efforts to gain control of an uncontrollable situation.

now, though, intentionality gives me that control. I like that.


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