I have come to the realization that healing is like a video game. There are lots of levels. Sometimes you lose a man along the way. And if you are like me, you can never ever win the whole game.
I started out at level 1 which in it's barest form is just surviving. Avoiding anything abuse-related. Dodging the flashback bullets. Just meandering through the level (and life) aimlessly. Just living through level 1 is success.
Level 2 was much harder. You add in new memories, body memories, more flashbacks, panic attacks and depression. All while trying to maneuver around regular life. And survive. This is the beginning of dealing with the abuse.
Level 3 adds in family and friends and work. Not only must you do everything from level 1 and 2, but you must cope with everyday and ordinary life too. Don't let any of those balls you're juggling fall down.
Other levels add in the normal bumps of life - job changes, an illness, new baby, trouble with spouses, raising children, getting a dog, losing weight, etc, etc. All those normal things that normal people deal with. But you're not normal. You have to deal with abuse and life.
If you dare to think that you might be ready to advance to a new level, then you fall down and have to repeat a level. Over and over again. Rinse, lather, rinse, repeat.
Every time I think that I've finally conquered some abuse-after-effect, it rears it's head again. Right now it's two things - (1) the paralytic fear of making any life changes or life decisions; and (2) looking too much in the past or future without living in the present.
Each time I repeat a level, I feel like I'm more prepared and have learned things. At some point though, I'd like to beat this game.