Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Conversation

Last night I found myself in unusual territory. As a survivor of child sexual assault (CSA), I try to offer support to others who have been victims. I feel totally inadequate as a rule. I don't believe I'll "get over" what happened, and I'm not even sure I'll "get beyond" it. I think of the abuse as something that is part of my history, just like anything else -- going to school, getting married, having children. 

But last night, another survivor posed some questions to me. I answered with what had been my experience in healing, because I believe every road is different. Each trauma has it's own persona that must be handled in its own way. What works for me may not work for you.

We talked about medicines, panic attacks, triggers, reactions, sex, love, children, and marriage. Because there is no part of my life that isn't impacted by the abuse.

After awhile I needed to get away from it. I'm still figuring this out for myself, and don't see myself as any kind of role model. I do think I understand the Hippocratic oath a little better these days -- "First, do no harm".

What I say to another survivor can help or hurt, and so I must watch my words and intentions oh so carefully. I only want to help, but I recognize how easy it is to hurt, unintentionally. 

Here's what I do know -- healing comes from telling. You will never heal until you share. I was never meant to carry this load at all, but I was certainly never meant to have to carry it all alone.

Accept that you can't undo it. No bell, once rung, can be un-rung. Stop waiting for the abuse to go away. It's not going to. 

Be kind to yourself. Honor is a big word in CSA recovery, and with good reason. Learn to treat yourself honorably. You ARE worth it and you DO deserve it. 

Maybe this is rambling. Maybe this is journaling. But maybe it will help someone else. God knows that's all I want to do.



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