The following post is from a colleague and friend named Svava Brooks. She works tirelessly to help her fellow survivors of childhood sexual abuse, raise awareness about issues surrounding CSA and is an all-around amazing person. Please be sure to check out her site at – http://speak4change.com
They say the hardest part of the healing journey after childhood sexual abuse is the beginning, when you muster up the courage to tell someone that you have been sexually abused. I used to agree but from what I have learned through my own healing journey and from supporting countless other victims, I believe that the hardest part is in the middle. The messy part, the crisis, the unraveling of your world as you know it.
It felt like I intentionally abandoned all that I knew about my world. No matter how dysfunctional or self-harming, I knew what to expect, I knew how to cope with my vicious internal dialog, and how to defend myself against the invisible enemy that I expected daily, sometimes hourly, to attack me. Even though I was no longer living under the same roof as the perpetrator, I was still living my life, with my fears, thoughts, and beliefs as if I was still living with him.
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” –André Gide.
Growing up in an abusive home, we denied our truth, what we “saw” and felt. We ignored our fear and numbed and repressed our feelings. We thought we could trust our caretakers but they hurt us, ignored us, and made it clear by their actions that we should stay silent.
Accepting this daunting reality as a part of the healing process can be and is overwhelming, especially if you try to go at it alone. I tried for many years to get validation about the abuse I suffered from the family that had ignored it. It did not work. I was called crazy and asked to get over it. Told that I was just causing trouble for everyone else.
What I learned eventually and I want to share with you, is that the sooner you stop seeking validation from the wrong people, the people that make you feel wrong about speaking the truth, the better off you are and the faster you will recover. Unfortunately for most of us, the wrong people are the people in the families that we are born into. You have to stop going back to them.
I am not saying that you can never be a part of their world; you can eventually. But it serves you, right now, for your healing, to divorce from them or separate for a while. At least while you are healing yourself, going through the messy part of healing.
The middle part, the messy part, takes the longest time. It is the part we tend to resist the most. It is the deep work of identifying our negative beliefs and exchanging them for new positive, empowering beliefs. Going back to the people that will not validate your truth will only re-enforce the negative beliefs.
You cannot heal your life if you keep giving your power to the people that hurt you then and are hurting you now. Find and share your story with those that can support you, that can and will validate your pain, your struggle, and most importantly can and will encourage you to move forward.
Find others like you, those that are on the journey and have been through it. Learn to listen to your heart and intuition. You know what your truth is. Listen to it, honor it, and follow it.
I could have saved myself lot of grief and heartache if someone had told me in the beginning of the journey that the people that I thought loved me, would not be the people walking alongside me and supporting me on the healing journey. It was a painful realization but one that we have to make peace with.
My greatest support came from other fellow survivors that were just a little further down the road than I was, that I could see had made peace with the fact that they could not change their families or make them listen and understand them.
I am glad you are here, that you are reading this. I want you to know that you can heal and restore yourself. You can connect through your healing with complete strangers that are survivors and thrivers like you. They have been there, they understand your struggle and they do believe in you.
Your fellow survivors are the people to go to when you feel that hope is lost and the abuse was your fault. We know that you need to hear this, over and over and over. We can remind you of what is possible. That healing is possible.
I believe in you. I believe your story and your truth. I know that you can heal and I will remind you of that as often as you need to hear it. You are not alone my friend. It may not seem like it but we are all in this together.
We are stronger together.
You can also read this at Svava’s site and the rest of her insightful articles at:
February 27, 2014 at 11:24 am
Your article was great, so insightful and covered new ground. You are so valued in our community of child sexual abuse recovery. Keep on writing these help articles. Hugs, Margie
March 3, 2014 at 2:16 am
Thank you Margie. Glad to pass on what I have learned in the hope it may help others. Stronger together my friend.
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March 2, 2014 at 2:38 am
Thank u for helping to share this important information
March 2, 2014 at 4:37 am
Reblogged this on Many of us's blog.
March 2, 2014 at 6:40 am
Reblogged this on Understanding Me and Her and commented:
March 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm
I so agree. You need to feel the heartbreak of realizing those you grew up with will not be the ones to walk the path with you. I can now hear them tell me they miss me and know there is nothing to respond to. Our relationships never developed into a new form in which healthy love is reciprocated. And they can’t ask me to play the old game anymore.
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