A Verbally Abusive Past Can Include Good Memories Too

December 22, 2022 Cheryl Wozny

If your verbally abusive past includes positive memories with your abuser, you aren't alone. Unfortunately, many verbal abuse victims can recollect happy times, which may create guilt or confusion as they work through their healing journey.

Separating Memories from Your Verbally Abusive Past 

I have many fond memories that include vacations, special moments, and fun times with those who were abusive to me through the years. However, when I started my healing journey, it was hard to recognize these positive moments from my verbally abusive past since negative behaviors overshadowed them. 

Part of my issues came from my anger and hurt from being the victim of verbal abuse. Initially, I couldn't separate the good moments from the bad, only focusing on the negative ones. This mindset kept me immersed in my verbally abusive past, making it challenging to move forward. 

My Verbally Abusive Past Includes Happy Memories

From my experience, a past that includes verbal abuse is not 100 percent abusive. There were days that I felt happy and content. Sometimes going to family gatherings and events was fun. These good times were what people on the outside saw about my life. 

These individuals didn't know how my life looked behind closed doors. Of course, there were rare occasions of verbal abuse in front of others, but they were often brushed aside as jokes or teasing

In the past, when someone approached me to say I was a happy child or that they had never witnessed abuse, I would try to convince them otherwise. However, I've stopped trying to make people see my side of the story these days. 

Healing from My Verbally Abusive Past 

With professional counseling, I've come to terms with all aspects of my verbally abusive past. I recognize the good and bad times without letting one overshadow the other. I can now look back and share stories of my happy moments without judging my emotions. 

I am glad I have some good memories and that not all of my past was verbally abusive. However, even with these happy times, I was still the victim of abusive behaviors, which has shaped who I am now and how I deal with relationships. I can separate these distinct memories by using compartmentalization.1 

If you are healing from a verbally abusive past with conflicting memories, I hope you can one day separate them and enjoy the positive aspects of your history. 


  1. Staff, K. A. W. (2014, January 14). Why Being Able to Compartmentalize Is a Key Ingredient for Risk-taking. Knowledge at Wharton.

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2022, December 22). A Verbally Abusive Past Can Include Good Memories Too , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

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