Where-ever you are in your healing process, “you need a framework of physical and emotional safety in order to progress in your recovery, because child abuse — at its core — is about being and feeling unsafe. People can change only from a position of safety. If you don’t feel safe, then you won’t progress in your recovery. You want a strong foundation upon which to build your new self, and safety is the core of that foundation.” (From ASCA* “Survivor To Thriver Workbook Introduction) [*Adult Survivors of Child Abuse]
You can find a link to this free workbook and other resources on the ASCA Meeting Resources page. Click here.
If you are working on your recovery/ healing from abuse/ trauma, you are:
- Free in Spirit
Hoo-ray! Keep going! May you find wholeness.
“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault and responsibility of the adult. I was — and am — innocent.”
I know people who don’t have any comprehension of what it means to have been sexually abused as a child/youth, and in their ignorance they somehow (almost always) leap to “why didn’t you tell anyone?” There are many answers to that question, but one of the things that is so offensive about it is that it possibly implies the continued abuse is the fault of the child/youth because, in not being able to tell someone or to get an adult to believe/understand them, then maybe some of the fault is with the child/youth. Why isn’t the first question adults ask in the face of abuse stories, “who was the jerk?” or “where were the adults who should have stopped the pervert?” or “why is society so blind (and to some degree complicit)?”. Or better yet, rather than ask a question that would put the victim on the defense or responsible for explaining perverted-adult-behavior, simply say “I am SO sorry you experienced this terrible offense against you!”
I will be writing much more in future posts about my experience of having my experience trivialized/ distorted, but for now I simply want to say to my peers, my fellow-survivors: now as an adult, I am so sorry you experienced this heinous offense against your sacred, innocent person. And I am so grateful you survived. I pray you will find the strength within to advance your healing; I pray you will find wholeness.
“I was deeply moved by the anguish they [women survivors of child sexual abuse] had endured. And I was equally impressed by their integrity , their ability to love and create through such devastation. I wanted people to know about this, about their strength and their beauty.” (TCTH, p.13)
“No matter how committed you are, it is extremely difficult to heal from child sexual abuse in isolation. Much of the damage experienced is the result of the secrecy and silence that surrounded the abuse. Trying to heal while perpetuating that lonely silence is nearly impossible.” (TCTH, p.22)
*TCTH = The Courage To Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis
Since I’ve made the decision to renew a more conscious, deliberate, focused endeavor to address and prioritize my own healing process, particularly healing from sexual abuse, I have found that I also have more hope, interest, and motivation to take steps towards tending my physical health as well. I had neglected regular female-health exams for several years, until I thought I discovered a large lump where no lump was expected. I made an appointment with my gynecologist and, while I found that I am in generally good health (praise be Jesus!), there are some things I can do to improve my post-menopausal condition/health. Plus, I then made appointments for my regular mammogram and complete gynecological exams. The more I do for my healing, the more hope I feel, and the more energy I have for doing each next step.
I know it makes sense that this would be the case: taking one step facilitates taking another, but when you are the person in the skin of grief and depression, it doesn’t feel like any particular action could bring relief or energizing-hope. That’s part of why I am sharing this tiny tid-bit in my process. Hopefully hearing of my experience might help someone else take even the tiniest step toward self-care.
Give as much commitment to healing as you did to surviving for the last ten or fifteen years.
~ Survivor Quote from The Courage To Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, page 7