Dusana Michaels

Author of "Chopping the Onion"

Maintaining the balance

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As I follow the progress of other survivors on different social media sites, I am amazed at strength displayed as people maneuver  the  journey of healing from childhood trauma, or any trauma. Every path through recovery is unique for what the individual experienced and what was needed in order to survive. It takes a long time to ferret out all the layers involved and also learn the deeper understandings as the layers bring the issues back to the forefront of life over and over. With time you see the same issue from a different angle as wholeness is recovered.

I’ve learned to balance the good times with the bad. There are times to feel the pain and times to put it away to be picked up again another day. I think of it as maintenance. I know I have some challenges that are best to give attention to from time to time. Childhood sexual abuse is something that you never get over but you do learn to live with it. You find acceptance of the positive and negative aspects.

One way I did that was to take a step back and find appreciation for the person I was becoming in spite of the abuse. This was part of  the balance I needed for incorporating the grief from the abuse with the limitless possibility of growing into the person I wanted to be.

The following is one of the journal entries I’ve included in my book from this practice:


Things I can love about myself and my progress in life:

  • My sense of humor
  • My power
  • My ability to perceive
  • My knowing
  • My intelligence
  • My strength
  • My gifts
  • My special-ness
  • The hard work I put into myself
  • That I am a totally different person than I was raised to be
  • My lack of fear at a core level
  • My tenacity
  • My being-ness
  • My big-ness
  • My ability to have more fun than anyone else
  • The support that I am able to offer others
  • That I follow through with relationships
  • I try to make my life better
  • I follow my natural rhythms
  • My ability to remember songs
  • That I can dance without being drunk
  • That I can do a lot of things without being drunk
  • My ability to love
  • My ability to forgive
  • My life experiences
  • My zaniness
  • My ability to be loud
  • My ability to confront
  • My ability to care for myself
  • My ability to surrender
  • My ability to receive
  • My ability to treat others fairly
  • My sense of responsibility
  • My calmness
  • My inner peace
  • My sense of protection coming from the universe
  • My refusal to be pushed or bullied
  • My attitude
  • My quick-fire wit
  • My love of adolescents
  • My ability to love and be loved
  • My hair
  • My work ethics
  • The person I am
  • The person I can still become

From the negative coping skills that I needed to survive into adulthood, I could make the conscious choice to grow into the positive characteristics of a healthy person. Life is continually presenting me with opportunities to deepen these characteristics and recommit to grow some more.

I look back at this list and smile at the person I was when I wrote it. The healing that was happening at the time as I overcame criticism from being vocal about the abuse and other injustices I was seeing. The comparison of my behavior to the adolescents I was working with at the time. I miss some of that deviance. I’ve mellowed with age or experience, not sure which. Maybe both.

I do hope I am living more of the power on the inside. Life doesn’t feel like so much of a fight anymore. There is a quieter knowing that doesn’t need to be shouting from the rooftops. I’ve learned to pick my battles and choose to engage in the ones worthy of my energy.



Author: authordusanamichaels

I have been healing and recovering from incest for over 25 years. It's been an incredibly tough, and yet rewarding process. I have learned to love, trust, and persist under soul crushing circumstances. Beauty can be found everyday, even if it is only for a moment.

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