When You Are the Survivor of Abuse #metoo

survivor of abuse

Sometimes the term survivor of abuse makes me cringe

Other times it chokes me up, leaving me wanting to bawl my eyes out, or rock myself in the corner. I dislike it so much because it implies victim status, but I’ve come to see that this label is inescapable. 

It is what it is, because no matter how hard we try to make our tomorrows brighter, we can not erase yesterday. Us survivors carry the scars of the past around, like invisible (or visible) wounds of the battlefield. These scars are etched into our souls, and haunt us while we are sleeping.

Being the survivor of abuse can (almost certainly) damage our confidence. It can make us feel that every single little thing is our fault, even when we’ve done nothing wrong. It can leave us questioning our abilities in ourselves, to the point of feeling totally incompetent. The smallest task can feel like having to climb the biggest mountain.

Scratch beneath the surface

Underneath the bravado, and positive thinking, there’s more than likely a little girl or boy dying inside of us. Failure can to be great as a learning experience, but it can also lead to feeling that nothing we do, or ever will do, will be good enough.

The weight of responsibility on these shoulders of ours can drag us so far down into a hole that it seems impossible that we’ll ever find the resources to climb out. Each situation we fail at we’re reminded of all those times we were implicit in our own abuse. All those times we should have said no, even though saying no probably wouldn’t have made the blindest bit of difference.

The #metoo hashtag only scratches the surface

However, it’s highlighted that we have a very deep rooted problem on our hands. So many of us have suffered, and for a lot of us that suffering was in silence for too many years.  

So this blog is for all those who were taught from the youngest of ages not to ‘air their dirty laundry in public.’

For those who were led to believe that their abuse was their own fault, and suffered in silence.

For those who are afraid to speak up for fear of outing their family members, causing fights or making others feel uncomfortable because of their words. 

For those who carry the scars, and do everything in their power not to pass those scars on to their children.

An Open Letter to the Survivor of Abuse

survivor of abuseDear Survivor,

I hope you aren’t offended by me calling you this, for you truly are a survivor. You may not have had to slay zombies or save the world, but after going through what you did as a kid, you’ve earned that title.

What ever form(s) of abuse you suffered, be it sexual, physical or emotional, will have left you with demons. If you haven’t already acknowledged them, then the time has come to do so. 

For once we make peace with our past it frees up all the associated baggage, and allows us to move forward with our lives.  

By baggage of course I’m referring to the guilt. The never ending guilt that us survivors carry around.

The shame of being abused. Of having our innocence robbed from us at such a young age. The coulda shoulda woulda thinking about what if… 

We must make peace with all that went before, so we can make our worlds a brighter place for our own children. It’s vital for them, we owe it to them to be the best we can possibly be. So do this for their sake. Whether they are already here, or just a twinkling in your eyes.  

Slow down. Take a breath. And be honest with yourself.

Are you drinking too much? Taking drugs? Going out and getting hammered every other night? Are you sleeping around in the hope that someone, anyone will show you some real love? Are you starving yourself, binging or comfort eating? Are you in tons of unnecessary debt? Are you cutting yourself just to feel something? 

You will find a way to undo whatever damage is being done by your own self-destructive behaviour.  

You deserve happiness

YES. YOU. DO!

First, you must start being kind to yourself. 

Find a creative outlet, take up a hobby, eat well, exercise, look after your mental health. Stop the negative thoughts in their tracks. Do not let those thoughts control you.   

If you have people in your life that are still taking advantage of you, then know they are toxic and need to be walked away from. You must find the strength from somewhere to cut the ties.   

You might not have much clarity right now, but as soon as you have made vital changes you will start to see things clearly. You’ll come to realise what you need to do to turn it all around.

Eventually you will forgive yourself. 

Cherish the wonderful folk who’ve proved themselves worthy of a place in your life. If you don’t have any yet, then know you will make real friends once you have moved on from the quagmire of shit you have had to pull yourself out of.  

Time will be always be the best and truest healer. If you can summon the strength to get through this next bit it will pass.

Don’t let those bastards who robbed your childhood win. Sending love and strength your way.

For anyone who posted who has posted a #metoo status this past week

 

When I posted my #metoo status on Monday I said that there were no words necessary, but I’ve changed my mind. The words are absolutely necessary. ♥️ I was eight years old when my abuse started. The same age as my eldest daughter is now, and the thought of any of my kids, or anyone else’s kids going through what I did terrifies me to my very core. ♥️ I used to convince myself that what I went through wasn’t that bad, and they were just teenage boys experimenting. I know people who went through so much worse, which meant I didn’t have the right to complain. But looking back all I can think is: I was 8 or 9 and they were 15 or 16. And that is NOT OKAY. Not even a little bit. ♥️ The abuse wasn’t simultaneous, it occurred separately. One used to take advantage while he was babysitting. The other was a ‘family friend’ and lived with us after his mother chucked him out. He was obsessed with my mum and used to crack on to her at every opportunity. If only she had known what he was up to while she was fending off his unwanted advances. ♥️ When I was younger, I had zero self respect. I was promiscuous. I got myself into ridiculously bad situations. I was once found running down a dual carriageway with no shoes on screaming “help, he’s going to kill me!” Truly horrifying. ♥️ Unfortunately sexual abuse wasn’t the only abuse I suffered as a child, and it’s all had a lasting impact. One of my best friends tells me that although I’ve been through more than most other people she knows, I’m one of the most grounded people she knows. The thing is though, this year, I’ve not been feeling so grounded. I often find myself thinking: if only you could see the contents of my mind. ♥️ I’ve been through therapy. I’ve healed my broken heart. I’ve patched up my aching soul. I’ve written a self-help book to help others on their journey. But still the pain, the torment, and ultimately the shame stays with me. ♥️ I’ve had a blog post in draft for months titled ‘when you are the survivor of abuse’ but I’m having trouble getting the words out. Maybe I will find them this week, who knows? ♥️ Big love to everyone who posted #metoo! Let’s hope that our kids will never know the same suffering.

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