This question haunted me for more than a decade. What I found out after reoccurring nightmares and reacting spontaneously to various triggers in the day? You can't. And you know what? That's perfectly okay. It's my belief that for better or worse, everything happens to us for a reason. I can honestly say, despite all the horror and pain I've been through that leave others wondering how I'm even alive, I have finally, finally, confronted my past and made peace with it. Examine the past for what you can take away from the experience. Without it, you would not be who you are today. The true benefits, may still be in shape, transition, as of now. A lot of times these bad memories remain as bad memories (yes, it is possible for that part to change), because they are unresolved. They keep coming back because they’re unfinished and so come back in search for completion. Many psychological theories exist today and a combo I truly feel captures a human in pain is the existential-positive. In that, rather than giving a client coping skills to help deal with a weakness till they can hide, instead, help them confront what's negatively effecting them with support and compassion. Let them focus, not on their weakness, but on their strengths so that they can not only overcome, but rise above the obstacle. A good analogy I personally view this as is illnesses. You could, could, stay indoors all the time and not be around other people, all in an attempt to escape contagious things. But, would that be "living" or merely "surviving"? Instead, lets glove up our hands, keep our minds and body healthy, so that while we encounter life (both its pros and cons) we can defend ourselves from the here and there storms. Bottom line, don't spend your life running. Do not allow that obstacle, that pain, to control you well past its initial impact. When you do, you’re giving it power and allowing it to take charge of you and your happiness. I got sick of it finally and turned the plates for GOOD. So can others. You stop, turn around, and in a take charge voice even, you tell it, "No more! This stops now! I am a good person that deserves happiness! What happened, happened, as in past tense. I acknowledge you as part of my past and a contributor to my true self in making me stronger. Now, be gone! I am done with you!" Sometimes, saying this out loud to yourself, saying it in a commanding voice, and hearing you yourself say the words with the feeling of power, can REALLY assist. Obviously, you can tweak the words of empowerment per the situation as well.