Overcoming SexualAbuse: EmbracingaNewLife has several bloggers, a forum of discussions, and other resources. It is written in magazine style. To introduce the different bloggers writing for the site, I will include excerpts from recent posts.
“Ever since I was four years old and my family found me being abused, when their normally loving faces turned cold, I thought that I had to hide what was happening to me. Even more than that, I thought I needed to hide who I was. I thought people only liked the fake me and the masks I put up, but not the real me underneath. It never occurred to me that I trusted in the wrong people and that there might be something wrong with them. I could only blame myself for not being good enough to be loved.”
“Not only was I clinging to the wrong people, I was making them my first and only support system, clinging to one unhealthy person at a time expecting them to fill all my emotional needs. By depending so much on other people I was setting myself up for disappointment. No one person could fill all of my needs, especially if I wasn’t filling my own first.”
“Now I’ve learned that I need a multi-person support system headed by myself. I am the first person I go to for comfort, I can make myself feel better, and I can have fun and laugh on my own. By depending on myself first, I eliminate the need to cling to unhealthy people. If I’m not desperate for love and support I can be choosier about who I invite into my life and I don’t need to look for love from unhealthy, abusive people. I can love myself.”
Stand–InorStar: TakingCenterStageinYourHealing by Bethany Ruck:
“A friend of mine used to be a stand-in on a network show. While the actors were in their trailers, he stood in front of the camera. He was examined from every angle while the crew perfected the lighting and worked out the camera positions before filming. But when the time came for the director to yell “action”, the real actors were brought in to perform.”
“He was the same height and build as the star he filled in for. He had the same hair color and skin tone as the actor. But he was no replacement for the talent. His only purpose was to help the crew prepare before the real work began.”
“Here at Overcoming Sexual Abuse, our writing team is like the stand-ins. Having a stand-in allows you to be able to see a situation on someone else before you try it on yourself. You can view it from different angles and see how the same might apply to your life. You have the opportunity to see if you identify with a story, a situation, or an emotion.”
“We have the unique dynamic of being a mother/daughter team. Many readers tend to label me as the child. Since my first post, messages have flooded my inbox. Some of them have been people who wanted support in their healing process, but the majority are survivors who offer to help or comfort me in my own healing.”
“You’re the star of your own healing journey. Healing requires you to allow the spotlight to be on you. Healing means sifting through your past, getting into the character of that inner child and reliving emotions that are dark and painful. Healing takes facing the lies you believed and seeing the truth. Being the star is hard work. But the star gets the biggest pay-off. Your healing journey is unique to you. Let your healing take center stage instead of being upstaged by the stand-in.”
CrackingUpKeepsMeFromFallingApart: HowLaughterisPartofMyHealing by Nikki Stone.
“Hello, my name is Nikki Stone. I am a Mental Health Advocate, Writer, Photographer, Artist, Domestic Engineer (a professional way of saying I am a housewife), Wife, Sister, Daughter, Friend, and ultimately a human being—at least that is what I have recently discovered.
I have Bipolar Disorder that I am in recovery with and I am also a survivor from sexual, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse. I know the effects of abuse very deeply. Three years ago I came to a total standstill in my life—actually I hit a huge brick wall and ended up having a nervous breakdown.”
“I lived in so much fear, anger, denial, shame, and guilt that I could not see any point in living. To be honest, I would not let anyone help me. Many tried, but I was in such a thick web of pain and lies that I could not see the truth about me or about my life. I believed that I was evil, worthless, a waste of space and time. This belief was built upon years and years of lies I chose to believe about myself. I believed these lies so much that when someone would tell me the truth I didn’t believe them.”
“Though going through the nervous breakdown was a very dark time in my life, in a way I am kind of thankful it happened. I know that may sound weird, however, it has been through the process of facing my worst fears and surviving them that I am now beginning to be the “REAL ME”.
“Until then, I was running on automatic. I was whatever people wanted me to be. I was on a dead end road and I thought that death would solve my suffering. However, I am glad that I made the choice to live. I call my life now the gift of a second chance. Now, I don’t have to be someone I am not just to be a person of value. I am of value because I am a person. It has been hard for me to realize this but there is so much truth to that. I am on the road of healing, recovery, and ultimately living as a whole person and not a fragmented shell of a being.”
“The truth is, being a human means that we have our strengths but we also have our weaknesses. I am not ashamed to be who I am, because no one else can be me thus no one else can tell me that I am doing it all wrong by being me.”
CopingorCoppingOut by Patty Hite:
“I recently moved from Florida to Ohio. My husband and I thought it would be a great move. I was raised in Ohio, so I was ready and willing to move back. He is ill and wanted me to be around my family.”
“It was a hard move. The dream that it would be “greener on the other side of the fence” turned out to be untrue. We drove through snow and ice in a convoy of two U-Haul trucks. We arrived to find that the home we rented has a landlord from hell. Everyday has been a struggle to get things fixed. The weather is too drastic for my husband. We realized that we need to go back home—home to Florida.”
“The thought of going through another move caused many coping mechanisms to surface. I had to choose to succumb to them or to overcome them. Fear was rising within me—fear of having no control over the situation.”
“I’ve been healing from my abuse long enough to know what I need to do in order to feel empowered again, but the truth is, I didn’t want to deal with healing. I’ve already dealt with my past—the dysfunction of my family, the sexual abuse of my sister and me, the physical abuse from my ex-husband and the sexual abuse of my children by their father. I don’t have flashbacks, triggers or nightmares. Anxiety attacks are taken care of, behavior and boundaries are renewed and I love who I am. The past doesn’t hurt anymore. I can talk about it without pain and sometimes it feels like it happened to someone else.”
“But sometimes the patterns from the past, the old behaviors, try to invade my thoughts and try to rule and control my emotions. I am aware of them, I know what needs to be done and I know how to control them. But sometimes, I just don’t want to.”
“The first thing to surface was the desire to dissociate. I’ve dealt with this, especially over this past year. I know when I am being wooed to escape and I have learned to overcome it. This past week, it came in like a flood and all I needed to do was open the gates. Part of me knew that if I gave in, I could escape, but the other part of me knew that it would become my “sick” friend again. I knew that if I invited it in, it would fight to stay. Dissociation is like getting drunk. It feels good at the moment because it offers temporary relief, but I have to face the real world when I wake up.”
“Then I had thoughts of “Woe is me!” “This isn’t fair!” “No one understands what I have to go through in order to make this move!” “No one cares!“ I didn’t give any thought to what this is doing to my husband. He is the ill one, yet I wanted to be ill. I wanted all the attention and I wanted everyone to feel sorry for me. I hung onto that for a few days and made life impossible for everyone around me. There was nothing they could do to make me feel better and I rejected every great idea they had. “It’s not going to work.” “There is no way to make this happen.”
“Isolation was another thing trying to woo me. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to be left alone to wallow in my self pity. When anyone talked to me, I pretended like I didn’t hear them or my answers were so sharp they cut like a knife. I imagined putting on my coat and boots and walking until I got lost. Then everyone would wonder where I was or else they wouldn’t care and be glad I was gone. Would anyone even miss me? I was becoming a stranger to them. They didn’t know who this crazy woman was anymore. Dang. I didn’t know who I was anymore.”
“I hate being isolated. Not only do I stay away, my family stays away. I put up my walls that they won’t cross. Then they feel unwanted and unloved. I understand this pattern since it was a close friend of mine. I always wondered why I wasn’t invited places and why people didn’t want to be around me. I stayed away from them, then they stayed away from me. Then I’d get angry because they stayed away.”
Read them and others at OvercomingSexualAbuse.