In my therapy session today, we talked about things that we would do over if we could. Of course, I made sure that it was with the caveat that I could do it over again with the same knowledge that I have now. I’d never want to do anything in my life again if I didn’t have some advantage to make it better.
One of the things that I mentioned was to focus less on school work, which was my escape from the struggles of my abuse, and work more on becoming a good friend to others. Rather than focus on the difficult parts of social interactions and attempting to understand how healthy friendships worked, I plunged into my academic work so that I could get great grades, and ultimately get a scholarship so that I could go to a college far from my hometown. I was fortunate to achieve that goal, but I sacrificed lasting friendships for it. Whenever things in my life became overwhelming or I was having a tough time understanding my own emotions, I would isolate myself, which was the exact opposite of what I really wanted to do. I would make up stories and lie to others about what was really going on in my life, sometimes making my situation much worse than it was in order to get the attention I desired but struggled to ask for. I really was a mess in high school and college!
I would have also disclosed my abuse to everyone that would listen. I endured having to live near my perpetrator for a long time after my abuse. I wish I would have had the courage to tell others what he had done to me, so that I could have been free of that burden rather than use all of my energy to conceal and hide from others. I lived in fear of having other people find me out and think poorly of me. I wish I could have made sure that my perpetrator understood that it was his fault, not mine, and that he would never do this again to another young boy.
There are so many things that I would change, but I think those two would be tops on my list. What would you change if you had a do-over?