This post has been a long time coming…
I was sexually abused as a child
I could stare at that sentence of 7 words for hours. It has a lot of power in it and yet it also could never show its full weakeness
At the age of 23 my story became public. Since then I have stumbled my way through healing at times Im sure like a wrecking ball in the lives of others but always with the best of my intentions.
For a while no it hasnt even been on my mind. I once read a quote that said
“When you forget what hurt you, you know you are healed”
In a sense I can see how this is true since my mind is not constantly filled with painful images of my childhood years BUT it only takes one person to say the words..
and I remember with conviction.
But I dont remmeber the pain I suffered as a child physcially . My mind remembers it, my soul has commited to letting the pain go and my emotions are at a place of peace.
When I hear a person say the words Sexual Abuse now I mostly think of what other survivors have said that have actually been Secondary wounds for me.
SECONDARY WOUNDING is often sometimes greater pain to a survivor than the intial wound and can lead a survivor into an adult life of chaos. Below I have compiled a short list of just a few things Suvivors and Healers I have come across believe that I disagree with.
You must tell someone! (FALSE)
This is a big one. Many survivors and helpers I have crossed paths with in my life Believe this wholeheartedly. And although I believe they have the best of intentions and are coming from a place of love when they share this advice I also from my experience have learned telling someone doesnt do the trick. It is NOT a quick fix and it does NOT sometimes make life any better for a survivor. In some cases it even may make things worse. Telling a lot of people your story may lead to a lot of peoples opinions and reactions. This can end up confusing you more than helping you.
The greatest healing I found when it came to telling someone about the abuse I suffered was
-when I confronted my abuser
He was the man that seemed to have the power to silence me as a child and I knew I would regain my own personal power in numerous ways when I looked him in the eye and brought that now old hidden secret he so desperately wanted me to keep ..into the light.
You as a survivor will know deep in your heart when or if you want to talk about what happened to you as a child. I believe their are many paths to healing and what works for some does not always work for others. Follow your own instinct. If fear is holding you back from sharing with someone what happened to you as a child try your best to work through that fear. Seek out discovering people who you can build trust with. Sometimes this can take years. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t ever believe just because at this moment you cannot talk about it you will never heal. Your journey to healing is a personal journey. The fact that you are seeking Healing means you are already beginning to heal.
Telling a Survivor they are worth so much more than what happened to them is Victim Shaming (FALSE)
I fully believe we are not our experience and refuse to be labeled based on something that happened to me as a child. It is true that a victim of childhood sexual abuse is worth so much more than they can feel, touch and sometimes believe. It is as though our abusers put a pair of blinders on us and the real worth of our being can no longer be realized.
Letting a survivor know they are worthy of happiness, joy, healing, peace and safety is simply reminding a survivor of that they want anyways.
In my expereince I have yet to meet a survivor who did not long to just be at peace with what happened to them as a child. Truly each of us have had our worth blinded from our sight and we want those who love us to help us feel worthy again.
The Competing Survivor
I have met many people that have the mentality that “No ones story is worse than theirs” and for some strange reason seem to compete and compare their story with others survivors stories.
I once had a lady tell me “ You wouldnt have a clue of how much I suffered as a child” My first reaction to that was… I know you HAVE suffered is that not enough?
I admit I have stepped into those shoes before where I was the survivor with the worst story of childhood abuse pinned to me as my legacy. I found myself saying at times “No one would believe me if I told them because it just sounds way too bad and over the top”
I think as victims we all struggled with the thought that others don’t quite believe what we went through. We believe they really can never know the impact it had on us and the degree of hurt we experienced.
Sexual Abuse unfortunately cannot be compared to that of a burn 1st degree 2nd degree or 3rd degree. Sexual Abuse is utter Death of the Innocence within us.
Really what is happening is we ourselves can’t quite believe it still. Yes the death of innocence can happen in many different ways and yet who could compete to die more than someone else.
The Angry Survivor
“I dont want to be around you because I know you were sexually abused as a child and you just remind me of what happened to me. I don’t want to be reminded “
This is an example of the Angry Survivor. They so despereatly want to be free of the sexual abuse they suffered as a child that any reminder triggers them. As a survivor I have come to learn staying away from these people is the best gift I can give them and myself.
Again remember everyone is on a different part of their journey to healing and their are many paths to take. Even the angry survivor can stumbled upon healing.
The Shaming and Blaming and Fixing Survivor
During the act of child sexual abuse the child experiences feelings of helplessness. So it isnt hard to believe that child would grow to an adult and still carry that helplessness with them. In my journey to healing I have discovered 3 (and there may be more) ways Survivors overcompensate to releive themselves of the helpless feeling they had as a child.
I have come acrross a lot of suvivors who have stepped into the role of telling other survivors what they should say or shouldnt say. What they should feel or shouldnt feel. I have also encountered some who place themselves in a position of authority over other survivors (fb groups, forums, and pages) In many ways they give off the idea that they are much much more qualitied to speak on the subject because you are the new person there. I was kicked out of a group one time for “not participating enough”
I try to be as open as possible to hear everyone experience in healing. Here I go again saying…
there are many paths to healing
I pray we each find even just a little healing and
Please try to be gentle with those who have endured the Death of Innocence.