The Truth About Moving On

by Annie Kaszina on July 25, 2007

"Is it so unrealistic to tell
someone who has been through years of hurt to just ‘move on’ (my
husband’s words)?"


So writes a reader whose
ex-husband has, allegedly “morphed” into a fun, sexy guy in the heady, early
days of a new relationship.  A new relationship with, apparently, another
woman.  More likely, a new relationship with himself insofar as the mirror
image that he sees of himself in the new woman’s eyes is flattering, gratifying
– and, ultimately, false. 

Abusive women fear that
their men will emerge from the relationship like beautiful butterflies from a
sorry chrysalis.  Abusive men do all they can to foster this myth.
Quite possibly they believe it too.  But the truth is, it’s not going to
happen.

Abusive men are interested in the
quick fix, not change.  This is an important distinction.  The quick
fix means manipulating another person, whether through ‘love’ or fury, to
provide the emotional pay-off they want and need.  Change means doing the
work themselves.  And abusive men don’t ‘do’ emotional work.

Still they tell an abused woman to
‘move on’.   

When an abusive man says that what
he is actually saying is: “You’re going to have to come to terms with the fact
that, without me, you’re nothing.  You’ll never move on.”   

When other people say, “move on”,
they often mean something along the lines of: “Your present state makes me feel
uncomfortable.  Please put yourself out of my misery.”   

The injunction to “move on” is
generally an empty phrase.  Women who are already feeling broken and
hollow pick up on the emptiness of the words and assume that moving on is way
beyond anything they are capable of attempting.

And yet, abused women can
and do move on all the time.

The problem is that we hold within
ourselves a misguided vision of what “moving on” looks like.  Since we
don’t know, in fact can’t know, what it will look like for us, we fall
back on facile images.  (Once again, thank you Hollywood.)  We look
for an end result, despite being useless at predicting our own future.  In
so doing we totally overlook both the process and the value of the process.

The fact of the matter is
this: you only have to start the process and you will set in motion powerful,
positive forces.  At a point in your life where you feel utterly
devastated, you may well lack the energy and self-belief to undertake anything
‘big’.   

Don’t ever be fooled into assuming
that small actions have no value.   

The only thing you need to do is
change your perspective.   

We start off on the road to
recovery feeling we have the emotional stature of an ant, and we try to move
mountains.  It can’t be done.  Not straight off, from a standing
start.

Unlike ants, our experiences
and successes nurture and grow us. What do I term a success?  Sometimes
getting out of bed is a success.  Sometimes just keeping going is a huge
success – although it may not feel like it at the time.  But then it’s
your perspective that is not helpful.

As we carry on growing the
mountain shrinks.  Of course, if you’re totally focused on the old
negative self-talk in your head if, that is, you are still in the old negative trance,
you won’t notice the mountain shrinking.  That is what happens when you
are hypnotized; you see and hear what you are told to see and hear rather than
what is actually going on in front of you.

If you turn the volume of
that old self-talk down long enough to look at what is really going on,
you will notice that the landscape is changing.  Why not trust that?
What do you have to lose?  You could be disappointed?
Maybe.  More likely not.  Besides, the old perspective guarantees disappointment.

You see, the thing that ‘they’
never tell you, when they tell you to move on, is that you are entitled to
enjoy all the scenery along the way.   

Ok at the start sometimes you will
and sometimes you won’t.  But you can.  You have that
right.  Nobody can take that away from you but you.  And ‘they’ never
tell you how much you can enjoy a moment, how much strength you can draw from
it.   

Best of all, every time you enjoy
the moment, you are liberating yourself a little bit more from that old
negative empire they had over you.   

That is
what moving on is really about.

Previous post:

Next post: