Home Featured Your biggest obstacle is staring back at you
we can be our own worst enemy

Your biggest obstacle is staring back at you

by Matt Pappas

There are so many obstacles to overcome as a survivor of abuse. Things like, the memories of the person(s) who hurt us, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, depression, and fear of the unknown. They sure do hit home when you spell it out like that don’t they?!

The biggest obstacle, the main roadblock that can keep us from having what we want, is ourselves. Every time we look in the mirror, we are right there staring back.

Our mind is an amazing creation; more versatile, intelligent, capable, and complex than any computer that mankind could ever dream up.  It protects us during our trauma by taking us away and not being fully aware. It knows what we can handle and when we are able to handle it.  We could go on and on about how awesome our brain is, but one of the most amazing is that our minds can be retrained.

No matter when we were abused, neglected, trafficked, bullied, beaten up, or whatever the case may be, we were brainwashed. We were groomed over time by skilled perpetrators who knew just what to do to get the reaction they desired.

So not only were we physically abused in many cases, we were emotionally abused. Physical wounds can heal, but emotional scars can last longer than we ever anticipated. What we were trained to believe and feel, can continue to stand our way and be a constant obstacle to deal with.

So what do we see when we look in the mirror each day? We see the parent, family member, friend, or school mate, staring back at us through our own eyes.

We see ourselves as we were trained to see ourselves.your biggest obstacle is staring back at you, we can be our own worst enemy

Think of it in terms of some real life examples:   We go to work and the boss asks us to go head up this project. What do we do? We go look in the mirror and see all of the doubts and fears that we have lived with, and they tell us that we will fail.  Our self-confidence is so shaken that we can hardly realize what we are capable of.

Maybe there’s an assignment coming up that just looks incredibly daunting and you wonder how in the world you will ever do all the research needed. You look at yourself in the mirror and you see your inability to stay on task and your constant wandering mind.  Those eyes looking back at you are trying to tell you that you can’t possibly get everything done in time.

There are countless examples, unique to each one of us, where we may feel completely incapable. In life, so often we are indeed our own worst enemy. We tell ourselves how incapable we are and our past comes rushing back into full view.

The good news is that while we can be our own biggest obstacle, based on our past, we can also be our own biggest ally.

That’s not exactly an easy concept to grasp and cling too, especially when we were trained to submit and think as we are told.  I am so right there with you on this, but we have to be able to fight for ourselves.

We can be confident; we can fight for the right to have the life we want. We can push through the pain and lack of belief in our abilities. I know you can do it! I know I can do it, even when I don’t always feel like I can.

We were knocked backwards, knocked down, and possibly so emotionally beaten down that there was next to nothing left.  That old saying, “it’s not just about how hard you get hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep getting back up”.  How many emotional punches have we been dealt in life that make us question every fiber or our being?

How much fight is in you, how much do you think you are worth getting back up for?

Your abuser tells you that you are nothing. Those bullies are laughing at you. You can prove them wrong by getting up each morning and looking at yourself in the mirror and realizing that you are strong, resilient, and capable. You can punch back at life, and take matters into your own hands…because you are worth it!

Overcoming ourselves might just be the hardest thing we ever do in our healing journey, but it’s not impossible. Keep believing in yourself, keep knowing that you are stronger than you think, and realize that you are always worth fighting for.


Be sure and check out the accompanying Podcast on this topic as well!

photo creations by survivingmypast.net using royalty free images. 

You may also like


Don July 17, 2016 - 10:43 am

The best way I’ve found to overcome all this “stuff” is by healing myself to the best of my ability and showing the abusers – they didn’t win! Some days that isn’t easy… but it is what keeps me going.

Pippit July 23, 2016 - 7:56 pm

I am fighting back each day by looking for legal recourse and trying to be an active participant in the political process on a legislative advocacy level. I have alot of fear now of going to doctors, but am fighting through that to find doctors who will take this medical problem seriously and do something about it. I’ve suffered significant institutional abuse in the medical system and alot of my fear is warranted, as my medical records have been poisoned to a degree that will likely negatively influence other doctors, so this libel must be removed (possibly by court order) so that I can obtain unbiased care elsewhere. I realize intelectually that not every doctor will buy into the defamation charted on me, but I have to consciously fight through the fear that nobody I need help from will believe or help me. When you fall into the wrong hands and these people get away with abuse and other types of malpractice/medical negligence it really feels like you don’t know who to trust and like you’re at a disadvantage because when new doctors read your records it’s “your word against theirs” and you don’t know how the new doctors will interpret the defamatory charting and how they will view you as a result.

Matt July 24, 2016 - 11:11 am

Thank you for sharing that Pippit! Please know that I validate you and that I’m in your corner. If there is anything I can do to support you, just let me know anytime. I’m so sorry you have been through so much in the medical system; unfortunately it’s just all too common. I commend you for taking a stand and doing all you can to right the wrongs that you and others have suffered.

Joy Richardson July 30, 2016 - 9:02 pm

Wow that sounds rough, I can relate.


Reply with your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.