Positive vs Negative

It was recently suggested to me on my Face Book to not read anything negative for a month because I should surround myself with happy thought for my own good.

I think many survivors of abuse have heard similar “advice” from well meaning “friends” and family. They view your pain as a negative thing, the fact that you are not “just getting over it and putting it behind you” is perceived as staying in the past and dwelling on the negative.

I remember worrying about being a “downer”, when your whole world comes crashing in around you and no one seems to understand your incapacitating pain it can force you to suppress your pain which is so unhealthy. Pain does not have to be a “bad” thing, it usually means you are going though a life changing period of growth. Unfortunately real personal growth often comes from personal loss or some traumatic event.

I don’t believe in feeling sorry for yourself and forever being the victim; yes something horrible happened to you and you need to put your big girl panties on (or man up) and play the cards you are dealt, no one can do it for you. BUT the odd pity party is allowed, tears are healing, in fact it is scientifically proven that tears wash toxins out of your body. That is why people will say they “Had a really good cry” because often times you do feel better after a good cry. It DOES help to talk about what happened to you, your brain needs to process the events in order to understand and know what to do with it. When you are in an abusive relationship as a form of survival the brain blocks a lot of the pain, you simply can not deal with it all at once, there is so much drama and trauma going on, the victim has to just let some things go. But it is never gone, it lays dormant until you are strong enough to deal with it. That is what I have come to describe as a “healing crisis”. Just when you feel you are finally starting to heal and get stronger, something happens and you are thrown back into a pit of despair. You feel you have made no progress at all, you will never heal!! you feel like giving up. DON’T!! believe it or not it is a good thing, you have gotten strong enough that now you can deal with some of that buried hurt. Believe me, you want to get it all out now, cleanse yourself of all those toxins so you can face the future free of all that negativity. Talking about your ex, crying, reliving the past are all signs of healing and that is a positive. Looking at the “bright side” is what kept you in the abusive relationship.

Facing reality can be perceived as a negative or a positive. Fluffy kittens and inspirational poems can be perceived as positivity but then a video of an abused pit bull being rescued from a dog fighting ring might provoke tears and even anger at the thought people who would do this to any living thing exist in the world could be perceived as negative, or is it positive because there are people out there who will not tolerate it and do what they can to bring awareness and dedicate their lives to saving these poor dogs and giving them a life of love and caring?

Is it negative of me to make people face the fact that domestic abuse is rampant in the world and one in 3 women will suffer abuse at the hands of someone they love or is it positive of me to take the most horrific experience of my life and use it as a tool to inform society and tell other victims that they are not crazy and they are not alone?

It is negative to go through life as a victim but I see nothing negative about going through life a survivor, raising awareness and helping others who follow behind me.
Jane Goodall has spent her life saving gorilla’s and speaking about how we are destroying the world and trying to educate society on how to live a more sustainable life. Is that negative? I see her as an amazingly positive strong woman who stands by her convictions and has been relentless in her pursuits no matter what the perceived cost was to her personally. I am not comparing myself to Jane Goodall by any stretch of the imagination, she is someone I have the utmost respect for and could only hope to cause the positive changes in the world that she has. But I do feel driven to do what I can, I am only one voice but maybe by speaking out I give others a voice or the courage to speak out, or at the very least by example show other victims that they too can be a survivor.

Some people may view my life and think that when I had the 3000 sq ft home and entertained friends and family with lavish meals and spent hundreds of dollars on elaborate Christmas celebrations and $100 hanging baskets adorned my house every summer as positive and living in a 14 ft 40 year old holiday trailer with its seams busting open as a negative. But in order to judge you would have to know how I feel inside. When I was in the 3000 sq ft home my face broke out so badly it looked like someone threw acid in my face, I was in so much pain with my neck my shoulder atrophied and I was hooked on pain pills and after every dinner or party I hosted I agonized over every little detail thinking how I could have done better. Whether my toilet was clean or dirty was more important than spontaneously hopping in the car and going for a picnic with the family. Doing what others thought I should be doing was more important than doing what made me happy. I also drank copious amounts of wine every day.

Today I can barely make it through one cooler and two will make me rosey cheeked and giggly, my toilet can be dirty and I can actually go to bed with dirty dishes in my sink. I do what makes me happy and if other people don’t like it, well too bad. And I am very proud of the little glamperized trailer I managed to fix up. Oh there were times I was pretty negative about that dang thing, I tried so many different ways to close in that back end, it challenged me in many ways, my tools are still in Clearwater, I was doing it alone and having a man to help would have made it easier (actually I probably wouldn’t have been doing it at all if I had a man around to do it), I almost killed myself while stripping the paint off the counters and table top, but now that it is finished I am so proud of what I accomplished. People who were too polite to tell me what they really thought admitted they thought I had just bought a piece of shit I would be stuck with forever. I could live in 14 feet and be happy, because I have inner peace and pride in myself. That is why my ex can’t get to me any more. I don’t care what he has, where he lives or if she was able to exorcise the evil out of him and give him a heart, I know how he treated me and so far all he has done is blame me for my own abuse and try to sabotage anything good that comes into my life. That is not the actions of a healthy or changed man. I rest my case. No one can ever make me feel less than because I live true to me.

Of course practicality has to come into play also and I have moved into a basement suite where stella has a fenced yard and it is cheaper than a campsite. I could view it as a negative that I did all that work on the trailer and now can’t even live in it or I can view it as a positive learning experience and use it to one day fix up another little bit larger trailer to live in.

I was at my first visit with a counselor for PTSD on Monday. She was asking me questions and I was answering truthfully and as you can well imagine I only skimmed the surface of what I went through with my ex. At once point she blurted out “Holy Fuck!” and then covered her mouth and excused her language. At the end of the session she asked me what I got out of the relationship with my ex and I for the first time in the whole hour I had been there I got tears in my eyes as I told her about the blog and how gratifying it is to me every time I get a comment or email saying I saved someone’s sanity or even life. I also told her about feeling like a puzzle someone had dropped on the floor with some pieces missing and pieces from a puzzle that didn’t belong and not having a clue how to put myself back together. How I took every piece of the puzzle that I have always been told was me and examined it and decided whether it belonged in my puzzle or not and some things I kept but worked on changing some aspect of, like being too sensitive or reacting without thinking and the end result is; I would not change a thing from my past because I have gained so much from the experience and have so much more inner peace and live my life true to me and no one else.
She concluded by saying she thinks I have a very clear idea of who I am, have dealt with things appropriately and she is actually amazed I was able to do it without help. What I am dealing with is no longer the abuse from my ex, it is the abuse by the welfare system and society post abuse. She said that sometimes it helps a person to deal with situational stress and depression to just talk about it in a safe environment and I agree. I am not depressed about my ex or the abuse, I am depressed and frustrated by a horribly inadequate welfare system that does nothing to help a person get back on their feet, in fact they put obstacles in the way.
For a long time all I could talk about was what I went through with my ex, it consumed me at all times but I could see people shutting down and I actually got sick of talking about it. It took a long time and I can’t tell you exactly when things changed but I am able to have a normal conversation, even make small talk (something I had totally forgotten how to do), my sense of humor is back and my ex is not the top thing on my mind.
Have no doubt, if someone near me makes a false judgment about victims of abuse, makes some uneducated declaration of “what they would do” I take the opportunity to educate them. Is that being negative? I don’t think so, I think it shows a person can survive abuse, discuss abuse in a calm and rational way without falling apart without it consuming every conversation all night.
Negativity vs positivity is all in the individual’s perception and mindset. Burying pain, ignoring a problem, putting your head in the sand, never ever makes a problem go away.

11 thoughts on “Positive vs Negative

  1. Jenna

    Thank you for this post. I needed it today. Ups and downs and crazy go rounds. I know I am working through all of it and am glad that I am “growing” too. I love your blog. Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Only Me

    I can understand that. Sometimes, I find myself having to back away from Facebook because the posts can get pretty negative at times. You often see such pain, despair and agony. It can be difficult to deal with and not know what to say to comfort someone. Great post BTW. I think that feeling of not being able to move on just means,we have deep wounds that need time to heal. Once that’s done, it becomes possible to move forward. Sometimes, to aid that feeling we have to act out in some way…cry, scream, wail..whatever it takes. No shame in that! For me, it was blogging, a hot fudge sundae, and a vigorous swim work out at the athletic center. Love and hugs, Me!


  3. Maria Corley

    You’re absolutely right about all of this. You talk about it until you don’t need to, any more. Pretending that you haven’t been hurt isn’t the same as healing–it’s just stuffing the pain down, and will lead to an explosion when and where you least expect it, or a slow rotting of your spirit from within. Crying is wonderful! Resentment, not so much, but there’s a process to go through before you can truly step back and see the abuser’s actions as a result of his/her deep issues without the sting of memory. It took me years. I’m not saying I can’t still feel a twinge, but I’m pretty objective, now. I don’t know what you went through–it sounds like it was more dramatic than my experience. And yet, the feeling that your soul has been crushed was probably similar. Great post!


  4. O.

    You know, I just realized that beyond the judgement of others, there is the changing perspective we experience over time in witnessing how we heal ourselves. At the beginning of my recovery I needed to rage, my anger was a necessary part of my healing. People who knew me as a kind, quiet, easy-going person were aghast at my complaining. The anger was on top of the pain. I had to let the anger out to get to the pain beneath. And when I did get to the pain, it was excruciating, I cried myself to sleep for months on end. Had anyone told me not to be angry or to just “get over it” I have no idea how I would have responded. Now that I am 2 years out, WOOHOO! 2 years free from abuse!!, I can easily have a day where the narc isn’t constantly on my mind, I’m not shaking in fear when I drive thru the same town we both still reside in, I can enjoy the peace & quiet of my environment, I can make a plan and follow thru on it, so many things that were impossible in the beginning of my recovery and would likely still be impossible or at least very difficult to experience & to enjoy. You know how much help you provided me just by posting on this blog, Carrie. I will be forever grateful that you didn’t cover up your pain with false positivity but stayed real and dealt with it out loud for others to know we weren’t alone and we weren’t crazy in imagining the narcs truly meant to harm us. Much love and gratitude to you, always! (((hugs)))


  5. kim

    thankyou for this post carrie it takes such inner courage to mend after what we been through sometimes the only way to cope is to take one hour at a time and when you feel like you are sort of dealing with it something knocks us down so then we start all over many times also sometimes feel like i cant talk or function because its all so much to get through i believe god is guiding me but it is positive to come here and know we are not alone and it is a long time before we get there i think we are all very positive to have come as far as we have my health is hard but am thankful of what i have we can all speak our mind here and that is such a positive thing for healing and its all thanks to you carrie im pleased you are doing ok and i think a lot of us were suppressed in the relationship finding who we are takes time a lot of time but thats ok its wonderful the help and advice you give best therapy ever carrie thankyou positivity will eventually come out of a negative situation if we let it xxx


  6. siouxzyq

    I went to your FB page earlier and saw the suggestion you referred to. I’ve always found it interesting how different people interpret meaning in any given subject.

    In all the time I’ve been following your blog I have never once read ‘pity-party’ or ‘negativity’ or ‘wallowing in self-pity’ in any of your posts. I have seen (or felt) depression from time to time, but it came across as just an acknowledgement of present feelings – nothing long-term or concerning. I have seen strength in your development that I have just been in awe of. I have been looking up to you since first finding you.

    Initially, coming across your blog was a Godsend to me. I felt so naïve and stupid and had been questioning my sanity. I made it into my 30’s before being exposed to a narcissist. I had no clue these jerks even existed. I knew jerks existed, but had no idea of the depths of evil that one individual could possess. Your page, Carrie, gave the first explanation I found in order to recapture my sanity again. It gave me somewhere to start in order to make sense of lunacy.

    I had believed that some things are impossible to understand without one experiencing it for themselves. Your ability to explain yourself as well as you do makes me think that maybe some of this could be understood without having to learn it the hard way. However, when I see some peoples responses to some of these experiences, the first thing I think is “oh, they have no clue because they’ve never experienced this sort of abuse”.

    Your blog really is invaluable. There is a difference between being an eternal victim and being a source of education for something that is important to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      siouxzyq, thank you so much!! I just now saw this. I am so far behind on reading comments and replying, there never seems to be enough hours in the day lately. You have always been so positive and one of my greatest supporters and cheer leaders! thank you again, you are an angel, I am so glad I was able to help you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. annaberg

    I’ve only just discovered your blog but I’m really interested. I’m a Belgian woman of 54 and was diagnosed with a severe burn-out two years ago. To help me cope with stress the doctor sent me to a psychotherapist who opened my eyes to what had been going on in my family for decades. I found out my father and sister are true narcissists whereas I thought they were just selfish and irresponsible. Finally I have found an answer to my questions but healing takes a long time.



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