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Remembering the Good Times

When you grow up or live a life full of abuse and neglect, it’s easy to never remember the good times.  It’s easy to fill your mind with all of the bad things that happened to you and have nothing but hate and contempt for your abuser.  And even though there may have been good times mixed in with the abuse; we don’t want to remember anything good or positive about our abuser because we want to stay angry and punish our abuser for what they did to us.  They took enough from us, right?  Why in the world would we waste a kind thought or a heartfelt moment remembering anything good that they did for us?

I deal with this struggle in my head every Christmas season.  There were so many bad times with Mom, so many horrible memories that I am stuck with for the rest of my life, that the last thing I want to do is humanize Mom at all and remember anything good that she did for me.  In my mind throughout my entire childhood, Mom was a terrifying red-headed monster – but when I start to remember some of the few good times we had around the holidays, my brain doesn’t quite know how to deal or process the good memories that flood my mind when a particular Christmas song comes on or Miracle on 34th Street is playing on the television.

I struggle processing good memories because I am still so angry at Mom for what she did to me as a child.  When a memory of Mom and I baking Christmas cookies in the kitchen or decorating the tree for Christmas comes into my head, I almost want to push the memory out and forget about it forever.  I don’t want to have any fond feelings towards this monster, I don’t want to remember any good times, I don’t feel like I deserve to feel sad, and I don’t believe that she deserves any sort of kind thought from me coming her way.

Maybe Mom doesn’t deserve the good thoughts, but you know what I’ve begun to learn?  I’m learning that we deserve the good memories.  We deserve to have a few memories floating around all of the bad ones that make us smile.  We deserve to have that moment when a certain Christmas song comes on the radio where we shut our eyes and remember something good about our time with our abuser.  We went through hell with our abusers almost every single day of the year, and we deserve those few good memories we were allowed to experience.

Remembering good times with your abuser doesn’t mean that you forgive them, it doesn’t get them off the hook for what they did to you, and it doesn’t mean that you forgot any of the horrible things that happened to you. Any good memories that we were lucky enough to get should be considered a blessing and we should embrace them with a smile and maybe even a tear of joy.  We are survivors and those few wonderful times we had helped us get through the darkest moments of our lives.

Remembering the Good Times

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2015). Remembering the Good Times. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Dec 2015
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