Looking for Proof in All The Wrong Places.

Quote from Brene Brown

Victims of sexual trauma can struggle for a long while with recovery and restoration from the abuse they suffered. Why is it that this particular trauma is so difficult to work through and heal from? Not just for the victims but it is also a challenge for bystanders and the supporters of the victim.

I have spent the last 20 years healing and restoring from incest and multiple sexual trauma. The journey has been littered with challenges that I can only describe as the journey through a dark tunnel. This road towards understanding and acceptance often led to dead ends, and detours that repeated cenarious of my abusive childhood. I eventually made it out of the tunnel and into the light and started making some real progress.

But how did I get out of the tunnel? I realized once I got out of the tunnel that I had walked by the exit multiple times. The truth was that I had considered leaving the tunnel, this dark familiar place on many occasion, but I was not ready.

Why was I not ready? We know it is always easier to see clearly when we have stepped out of the situation and turned on the lights. But what I realized when I was out of it, that it had been my comfort zone. The place I knew best, the place I knew and trusted myself to be in. I know it sounds ridiculus, especially to bystanders and the people that love and support us. It is painful for them to sit by and watch us, as we reach out our hand for support, only to pull it back when we get close to getting out of there.

I have read quite a few books on recovery and healing on my journey and all of them have in some way contributed to my rebuilding of myself. There is a bit of research and books written on the symptoms victims take on to survive the abuse. The distorted thinking and the dissociation from the self, during the trauma and later in life without proper intervention and support.   These are all normal coping behaviors. This was an important knowledge for me on my healing. Why?

Because part of the “stuck in the past thinking”, the not wanting to leave the tunnel came from my drive to look for some kind of proof. Some form of validation that what I was feeling and thinking was true. The thinking and feeling I was looking to validate was not accurate, because it was based on negative childish believes that I was bad and the abuse was my fault.   As long as I held onto that belief I somehow felt safe, it was what I saw growing up and what I had been told. I did not know any better.

Our brain and our drive to project this negative belief, is very powerful. I kept looking for proof that I was bad, and that I was not lovable. I kept recreating these thoughts and feelings for over half of my healing journey. It was exhausting, not just for me but for the people that were supporting me. I thank God that they did not give up on me. They believed in me.

After a long while, in a support group, processing my feelings and grieving the loss of my childhood, something shifted. I recognized that I no longer needed to search for proof of the abuse, that I was bad, that it had been my fault. I had internalized accurate information about my childhood. I separated the facts from what I had made it mean. I created a new story about myself, a new truth about who I am.

Over the last few years I have recognized the power that comes from our drive to find proof. Now, I focus on finding proof that I am a good person. That I am lovable, kind, valuable and loyal. I also feel compelled to share this information with other victims of trauma. I do trust in the natural unfolding of our healing journey but I offer this to other survivors looking to thrive after sexual trauma.

You have the power to heal yourself. Some of that comes from you taking the power back from trying to look for proof in the dark tunnel. Find the courage to look for proof that it was not your fault, you are a good person, lovable, compassionate, strong and creative. Focus on that and you will start to see the proof of it, all around you and illuminated from inside of you.

I believe we are all connected. What we heal in ourselves we heal for others around us. I have seen it happen, multiple times. I believe in you and know that you have all the things you need to heal and restore. If you don’t feel that you do, I invite you to look outside the tunnel. Find a life coach or a support group that can support you while you start to practice this new way of thinking and seeing yourself.

If you are looking for someone to hold your hand for a little while, to walk you through the steps in the beginning, please send me a note and we can set up a short coaching session and discuss how I can help you, if and when you are ready.

It would be a privilege to hold the light for you to find your way out of the tunnel.  Remember, we are stronger together.

In love and light.

Svava Brooks.

If you are looking for further supper or education on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse and Prevention please visit me at educate4change.com  or join me on Facebook for daily empowerment and inspiration for survivors and thrivers at https://www.facebook.com/educate4change

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Acceptance

 

We are stronger together.How can I possibly accept the horrible things that happened to me as a child? Why in the world would I even consider accepting that?

Many victims of sexual trauma and abuse are faced with the dilemma of somehow making peace with what happened to them. I say dilemma because often we feel that we are being asked to accept and get over it, to make other people feel better. The people around us that are understandably heart broken by what happened to us, but don´t know how we feel, or how to best support us back to wholeness.

I often share with survivors that they are the only one that can decide when they are ready to heal and when they are ready to “get over it”. Only if and when they are ready to start, will any effort towards healing and restoration be possible.

It helps to understand what the process of acceptance looks like and what being willing to go through that process can do for us.

At first it is important to know that it never means that you are saying that the abuse was ok or acceptable. That is not it. The abuse was never ok, never your fault. You will never be asked to take responsibility for someone else’s horrible choices or violence.

What acceptance means in the healing process is to acknowledge that we were powerless in the moment of the abuse. We have to accept that. We were victims. We where violated. Our trust, our boundaries, we were betrayed.   The only way to move on from being a victim is to allow that painful reality to sink in, feel the feelings, grief the loss. Only then can we start the rebuilding process, the steps towards wholeness.

This level of acceptance can be challenging for many because of the cultural stigma associated with being a victim. Don’t buy into it. I know it can be a challenge but you are not the things that happened to you, but until we understand the importance of not rushing or skipping this step to set ourselves up for a greater challenge with the next steps of the journey.

The next thing we learn to accept are the things we did to cope and survive the abuse or the trauma. Learn to have compassion for ourselves when we accept that this is normal, this is what we had to do to numb, distract or act out, in order to try to make sense of it all and manage the pain.   This process of accepting is also where we feel our feelings.   We learn to accept that we did and do have feelings about what happened and our coping. To learn about the feelings, and learn to express them safely is a part of the acceptance at this stage.

The final step of acceptance is when we accept that we are greater than the things that happened to us. Yes it impacted our lives, we struggled for a while, we accept that. But we also accept that any human on the planet is struggling with finding their place, their purpose, and how to best connect with who they truly are. We are no different. From that place, I see and accept that victims of trauma have the upper hand. Can you accept that?

The survivors that I know and work with are the most honorable and strong people that I know. They are the most creative, talented, and courageous people I know.  How do I know this? I know the strength it took to survive. The courage it took to break the silence, the creative thinking it took to manage the pain and cope, and the talent it takes to keep going searching for answers and solutions, not giving up.

Survivors are there for one another, for many of us have had to abandon the family we grew up in, in order to let the truth out, to really be seen and accepted. Yes, life has given you some challenges that you had no control over but you have a reason to fight for self acceptance. You have already proved your strength, courage, and creativity.  You survived! Can you accept that?

I know you can heal. I believe in you. If you are looking for support to feel accepted and supported, please join us at cst.onehealth.com

In Love and Light. We are stronger together!

About: Svava Brooks is a survivor thriver of childhood sexual trauma.   Svava also works as a peer group facilitator, Reiki practitioner and life coach helping adult survivors recover from sexual trauma through life coaching and support groups, online or in person.  You can connect with Svava and other survivors supporting each other, online in the OneHealth community, at cst.onehealth.com  To join Svava sharing her healing journey and how you can get your life back after trauma follow this link 

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Building a business or building a movement…

I have spent the last three days in a business training class. It was a little different from the kind of trainings that I usually attend. Usually I am learning about child sexual trauma, prevention, healing or giving training on the topic. But this training was all about how to take your message, your passion, and build a business around it, to share it with the world.

I have been building a movement for a very long time, one that I started in my home country, Iceland. It started when I realized I could no longer blame anyone else for what happened to me as a child. I had to do my part and become the change that I wanted to see in the world, most importantly to become the adult that I needed when I was a child. To become aware enough, educated, and courageous enough to ask better questions about child safety and encourage other adults to join me to create a safe community for kids to grow up healthy and whole.

Over the last 10 years I have been focusing on educating adults on how to prevent, recognize, and respond to abuse or suspicion of it. I regularly provide Darkness to Light Stewards of Children prevention trainings in two countries and webinars for parents over the Internet.

Over the last 4 years, I have been providing support groups and life coaching for survivors of trauma to help people restore themselves back to who they truly are. But I have been feeling the need to share my message of hope and healing with more people, especially the honest message of some of the challenges of the healing journey and to give survivors access to the tools necessary to heal. This is what brought me to this business training.

I believe that all survivors of trauma can heal. If we are willing and open to change, we can change the hardwiring that many victims are burdened with. Understanding that, like any other habit, if we focus on and practice new habits, we can change. I did it and so can you!

I was encouraged and inspired by this training. I learned some basic business building skills and tools that most businesses are required to know and use in todays market. My hope in the next few weeks is to start to test out some of these new skills and at the same time bring a more consistent message and value to my readers and community. I plan to create more videos and share them on my YouTube channel. I have made a few already that you can view here. Feel free to subscribe if you like what you see and share.

If there is a topic related to the healing journey that you would like to see me write or do a video post on, please let me know at: Svava@educate4change.com

Remember, we are stronger together.

Love and Light.

Svava

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Mirror Mirror What Do You See?

Michal Madison watercolor art

by Michal Madison watercolor artist

 

 

A poem about the healing journey  By Svava Brooks

Mirror mirror, what do you see?

I see a scared little girl hiding behind a tree.

I see you little girl, I love you little girl, I am here for you little girl

Nothing will ever hurt you again little girl.

 

Mirror mirror, what do you see?

I see a hurt young woman hiding behind her glee.

I see you, I hear you, I believe you, I still love you.

It was not your fault, it’s time to feel,

 

Mirror mirror, what do you see?

I see an insecure woman hiding behind her plea.

I feel your heart, I know this is hard, you are fighting for your life, you are tired of the fight,

But with a touch of hope, she continues to fight

 

Mirror mirror, what do you see?

I see a spark and a gleam in this determined woman’s eye,

I feel your heart, I hear your voice, stronger, knowing who she is

The strength that found courage inside.

 

Mirror mirror, what do you see?

A confident woman that shares her heart,

A beautiful woman that shares her love,

A gentle woman that has compassion for all,

A wise woman that encourages all,

A peaceful women that knows herself.

 

Mirror mirror, what do you see?

A woman that does not need me to tell her what I see

Because she knows herself, trusts herself and loves herself.

A woman humble enough to know she needs others, needs to belong

And needs to feel loved and to love.

 

Thank you my mirror, you showed me until I could see,

that all along,  I could love me.

Now, I am very happy and proud to be me!

By Svava Brooks

2014

About: Svava Brooks is a survivor thriver of childhood sexual trauma.   Svava also works as a peer group facilitator, Reiki practitioner and life coach helping adult survivors recover from sexual trauma through life coaching and support groups, online or in person.  You can connect with Svava and other survivors supporting each other, online in the OneHealth community, at cst.onehealth.com  To join Svava sharing her healing journey and how you can get your life back after trauma follow this link 

 

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Is it worth it? Why go back there?

The fear of hashing through our past abuse and terrifying memories is what keeps many victims of sexual trauma from getting the help they need to overcome the impact of their abuse.

What is good to know for victims of trauma, is that you don´t have to go back into the past.  You don´t have to go through every single memory in order to heal.  Yes, you will have some feelings about it, clearly, so in order to help you in the beginning I always recommend a safety plan and a quick assessment of how you cope with stressful events in your life.

What the healing and restoration process provides is understand of the impact of the abuse.  Get clear and honest with yourself, about the unhealthy coping that is keeping you stuck in the past or getting in the way of healthy relationships today. Evaluate the false believes you took on as a result of not being able to process the pain and the betrayal.  That is the work of healing.

The stigma of being a victim does not help or encourage us, when every where we turn we see victims being blamed or questioned for speaking up about being abused and traumatized.  Many of also struggle with even knowing what words to use,  what to say, how to ask for help after sexual abuse. If you were a child when the abuse took place, it is hard to know the words to describe what was happening to us. No one talked about it, no one educated me growing up about boundaries, safe touch, secrets and where to turn if I was being hurt at home.

It was hard in the beginning,  but it was worth it.  Once I got past the initial fear of breaking the silence and realized that I was not alone, it got better.  It took a while, but things did get better, much better.

Times are changing. People are becoming aware, and more help is available to victims when they are ready.  That is the good news.  Most healing modalities today focus on the present moment, helping victims understands how trauma impacts children and adults.

Get educated about healthy coping and find support for encouragement and hope. Keep going, be intentional about healing yourself, because  we do heal, we do restore back to who we were meant to be, and then life does not just revolve around surviving but thriving.

If you are looking for tools or support like those I mention above, please join me for a free access to peer support network, where I provide weekly online groups for adult survivors of sexual trauma.  It is confidential, anonymous and you have access to 24/7 peer support. Here is the link.  http://cst.onehealth.com

In Love and Light. We are stronger together.

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Story of Victory

Life is amazing!  I had dinner last night with a colleague of mine that is in town for a conference. For anyone sitting near us and hearing our conversation must have thought we are a little…… fill in the blank. LOL.

I love my survivor – thriver friends. I have so many in far corners of the world. We stay in touch, we meet when we can, but just like childhood friends, time goes by and when we see each other, we pick right up where we left off.

We reflect on our abuse and trauma, how far we have come in our healing, and thriving, and how life is going on today. We laugh about the people that after they ask us what we do for a living, get silent for a while. Then some do turn back to us and say, you know, that happened to me too. Thank you for what you are doing! And then there are those that take a step back from you and you can see the judgement running past their eyes, as they think, “what is wrong with her”, “why would she tell me that”, and “I am not sure if I should be here listening”.

We talked about how we can see and feel peoples judgements, and discomfort, but we don’t take it personally anymore. We can laugh about it, but we also feel compassion because we know that many of the people that want to run the other way, perhaps are also victims. And just like us and how we were terrified in the beginning to break the silence, to say the words, to ask for help…. they have not and perhaps never will. That is ok. I understand. We all get there when we are ready.
It was a great evening, great food, awesome company and connection from the heart. Complete understanding and acceptance of one human to another. My friend Julie is like me. She sees there is so much more to us than what happened to us, that is what we celebrate in each other, and that is what we celebrate and honor in each person that tells us their story. It is always a story of Victory.

Love and Light my friends. We are stronger together.

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Healing from Sexual Trauma

Victims of sexual trauma often struggle with their lives because of shame and cultural stigma.  We live in a culture that downplays bullying and lacks the understanding of how sexual trauma impacts its victims.

Victims of sexual trauma can become survivors and thrivers when they get educated about the journey.  It helps to know what to expect, to understand the process, to learn the steps to healing and how to empower themselves and build on existing strengths.

Whether you are new to healing or have been on the journey for a while, it is always good to review the steps.  Any change is hard, especially if we are not prepared for it.  We will resist the change, even sabotage it, especially if we don’t understand the natural cycle of the healing process.

The hardest thing in the beginning is to accept the reality that the people closest to you will not want you to change.  May even want you to continue to stay silent about what happened to you.  In some ways our secret, the abuse, is also the family secret.

Choosing to heal and break the silence is hard enough but we can prepare ourselves by finding other victims of sexual trauma and join support groups.  Other survivors of sexual trauma can become our family and support system while we are finding our way again.

When you accept that you don’t know now, but keep the hope that you can learn, and find a way, you have started the journey, the path of self discovery to understanding yourself.

The good news is that others have gone before you. You are not alone nor do you have to struggle alone on the journey.  Seek out others that have gone before you, that will gladly show you how, that want to help you bypass the frustration of trying to figure it out.

Julie Brand  in her program talks about the 7 steps for survivor to become thriver.

Julie Brand

The steps we need to take to heal and restore are not complicated, it is in doing them, the practice, that is hard and we resist doing.  We often resist doing the very things that could help us feel better, do better, be healthier.  Why is that?

I will not answer this for you but we all want a quick fix. We live in a culture that tries to tell and sell us all day long that there is a fast fix, a miracle pill, checklist, or the real deal.

Studies show that the long term effects of trauma are devastating to our health and wellness.  If you want to know how this applies to you here is a questionnaire for you.

The only real deal to healing and restoring after sexual trauma is that you are the only one that can change your world and it starts with self acceptance and education about the consequences of trauma.

From there it will take months, even years to change our habits and old beliefs.  Understanding that you found a way to cope with the pain, even repressed the memories that caused long term stress on our bodies, makes us sick.  Our coping and habits,  perhaps turned into addictions that now consume our lives, can even destroy our lives.

Yes it will be hard and at times I did doubt if it was worth it.  But it was.  It was worth getting my life back and to not be consumed by fear and shame every single day.

Today as a thriver, a speaker, and an advocate for survivors of sexual trauma, I am encouraging and planting the seed of hope.  Validating your pain, understanding your struggle and waiting patiently and compassionately for you to join me, paying it forward in changing the world, one survivor at a time.

Be gentle with yourself. Trust your timing.  I believe in you.  You can do it. We are stronger together.

In Love and Light.

About: Svava Brooks is a survivor thriver of childhood sexual trauma.  Svava is a certified parent educator, childhood sexual abuse prevention educator, passionate about educating adults, especially parents, on how to keep their kids safe from child sexual abuse.  To sign up for her prevention webinars please visit educate4change.com Svava also works as a group facilitator, Reiki practitioner and life coach helping adult survivors recover from sexual trauma through life coaching and support groups, online or in person.  You can connect with Svava and other survivors supporting each other, online in the OneHealth community, at cst.onehealth.com

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The story I created… to stay safe after child sexual abuse

 

Loving yourselves… the Bravest Thing you will ever do!  Brené Brown

In order to safely make it through my childhood and adolescence I needed a story to keep me safe.  A story that I clung to when the reality of the world I lived in was closing in, making me doubt everything to the point of wondering if there was a reason to go on.  A story that helped me to deny the truth until I was ready to unveil the secret, not just my secret but also my family secret of abuse and trauma.

When a child is sexually abused, repeatedly over a long period of time, knowingly or unknowingly, multiple adults have stood by and let it happen.  I know this sounds harsh but I can almost guarantee that when the truth finally becomes public, too many adults think back and say to themselves, “I knew something was going on, I just did not know how bad it was, or what I was supposed to do about it.” *1

I don’t write this in order to blame or point fingers.  I share this to give an insight to the multi-layered reason for why so many victims of abuse and trauma struggle with asking for help or telling their stories. Victims know the scrutiny they will undergo if and when they break the silence, and for all too many, the risk is too great, we choose to stay silent about it.

Not until I was an ocean away, living in another country, from my family and my offender, did I feel safe enough to slowly awaken to the truth about my childhood.  The healing journey and restoration is a slow process that over time I learned to appreciate.  Even though at many times I felt frustrated that I was not healing fast enough, I also learned and recognized the natural unfolding and cyclical nature of the process.  If ever I was not “ready” for the truth, I could trust that there would be another opportunity to tackle this layer at a later time.

On the healing journey *2 I did learn that my strategy for creating a story and tactical denial management is actually what kept me “sane” because I needed to keep the faith in my family, because I needed them for survival.   I learned by reading up on child development and acknowledging the stages *3 that I had missed, that children learn their values and norms from the families that raise them by how they are treated. Children model into adulthood what they learn from the people they think love them.

In a healthy home, when children reach adulthood, the natural process is to question what you have been taught by your parents and decide for yourself what you believe and value.  But children that live and grow up in abusive or codependent households feel the need to deny the truth to keep their families and to stay connected to the community they feel they need.

We grow up with stories that we tell ourselves to survive the abuse. But then we struggle when we are adults because now we believe the stories.  Because in our hearts we know that we have been hurt by the very people that were supposed to teach us about love and trust and prepare us for the outside world.  The cost to keep the secret for our families is tremendous and often comes at the loss of our health and well-being.  Our mind can keep the secret forever but our bodies will break down eventually. *4

I told myself a story that my parents loved me.  That they were good people and the reason I was abused was because I was bad and there was something I was doing that deserved this abuse.  I have accepted the truth now, my truth.  I was abused by one of my parent and neglected by the other. I also know today that they did the best they could at the time, given what they knew, but they did fall short and they were not there for me growing up.

The good news, not just for me but for countless other survivors who are now thrivers, is that we can heal, we can restore back to who we were meant to be.  I truly believe that now.

The pain of that process is to acknowledge the story you told yourself in order to survive the abuse.  Don’t allow the shame to hold you in its grips, the shame that feeds the thoughts that “you” should have known better or done something different.  Find other survivors that have been through what you have been through.  People that can validate the pain and the anguish of innocence lost, love missed, and hear the real story.  People that will believe the truth and will not turn away from you and will tell you as often as you need to hear it, “I hear you, I see you, I believe in you, and you are going to be okay.”

In the company of fellow survivors, I was finally ready to realize the made up parts of my story and acknowledge the negative beliefs that had taken a deep hold on me as a result of it. I could hold tight to my inner child and tell her that it was okay to know the truth now. I could let down my guard to be seen and heard.  What a relief it was to learn that I was not marked for life by the things that happened to me. With commitment to healing, and over time that I could change, that I did change, and I learned to trust, love, and believe in myself again.

If you are searching for the truth, your truth, and are hoping for a safe place to explore and find support, I invite you to join a growing community of survivors of sexual trauma for peer support, expert led discussions, and guest speakers on trauma recovery and other related issues.  Here is the link. Http://cst.onehealth.com

Remember, you change your life by changing your belief’s, owning your story and unlocking your heart.  I offer you my support and want you to know that I believe in you. When one of us heals, all of us can! We are stronger together.

In love and light

Additional Resources:

If you suspect a child is being abused please report to the police or child protection services in your town!

1. If you would like to learn about child sexual abuse prevention and how to keep kids safe please visit Darkness to Light for a training near you.

2. To learn more the healing journey and the path to restoration.

3. Growing up again, parenting ourselves. Growing up again, Dawson

4. Learn about the long term impact of abuse and trauma.

About: Svava Brooks is a survivor thriver of childhood sexual trauma.  Svava is a certified parent educator, childhood sexual abuse prevention educator, passionate about educating adults, especially parents, on how to keep their kids safe from child sexual abuse.  To sign up for her prevention webinars please visit educate4change.com Svava also works as a group facilitator, Reiki practitioner and life coach helping adult survivors recover from sexual trauma through life coaching and support groups, online or in person.  You can connect with Svava and other survivors supporting each other, online in the OneHealth community, at cst.onehealth.com

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What is a safe person?

As a child and a young teenager I noticed that I kept a distance from people.  I was very unsure at times who to trust and who was safe.  This confusion and challenge with relationships followed me through my adulthood until I started my healing and restoration journey.

“Child sexual abuse is betrayal trauma, the consequences of which color and impact all close relationships for survivors of CSA in a highly negative way.” –Freyd (2008)

What is considered normal in relationships?  What is acceptable when boundaries became blurred?  I was not even sure what a healthy boundary was.

What was I to do, when someone that I considered in authority or someone that I trusted, touched me inappropriately and left me confused and in emotional pain. I did not know who to trust or who to believe.  I even doubted myself, too many times, and involved myself in risky situations, when I should have stayed far away.  But I thought these people cared about me.

I noticed early on that I was like a magnet for older men. It fed my shame and my painful secret that somehow people knew that I was bad, damaged goods.  That the abuse I suffered was somehow my fault.

After suffering through a childhood of sexual trauma by my step father and rape as a young teen, I was confused, terribly confused.  I kept getting hurt by the very people I thought cared about me, my apparent friends that I thought I could trust.

But what did I know about trust and honorable people?

A common consequence of sexual abuse is that we feel afraid, even when we are safe.  We fear all relationships, even friendships. As I grew older this confusion stayed with me.  My life felt like a repeat of the same situation or scenario, over and over.   I met new people, they looked trustworthy. They treated me well, gave me attention and time, and complimented me. But then the confusion started.  I would seek these people out, since I thought they were my friends and they were for a while, and then something happened.  A boundary was crossed and I was abused.  I was hurt, felt used and betrayed, and even more confused.  I entered into a vicious cycle, one that I had learned from an early age that had become the norm, rooted deeply in my negative beliefs about myself.

A turning point on the healing journey after sexual trauma is the realization that I really did not know who to trust or how to trust.  I did not know how a safe person behaved or lived, how a safe person would treat me or others.

To double the challenge was the fact that I was very distrusting of anyone that did not fit the mold of my usual “friends or family.  I was suspicious of anyone that was too kind or too caring, too direct or too honest.

I am sure that I pushed people away because I “knew” that they would hurt me. Or I would act out my inner pain, testing them, proving to myself that they would not stay if they knew the truth about me.

With the growing awareness of my own acting out came a grief for not having learned about trust or how to even trust myself from the people I loved or called family growing up. I realized that I could not trust other people if I could not trust myself.  How could I know my own boundaries, what I wanted or needed from others, if I did not trust myself to make and enforce them.

Over time, with support, taking the risks and finding my courage in the safety of my close relationships, I learned who the safe people were in my life and I learned how I could stay safe in my relationships.  I learned to set boundaries, asking for what I needed, and to speak up when someone stepped over my boundaries.

Trust is something we earn in our relationships. We earn trust when we show up and do what we say we are going to do. We earn it by supporting, listening, and validating our friends and not giving up on our friends or ourselves when we are down, and lack faith in ourselves.  Being a trustworthy person and having safe trusting people in my life was a key to restoring myself and my inner knowing/trusting that I am a good person, no matter what happened to me in the past.

So who are safe people?

This week in the Onehealth community, we are talking about relationship challenges and identifying the qualities of safe people.  According to Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend, Zondervan (1995) the Safe People list, includes qualities such as:

  • A person who accepts me just like I am.
  • A person who loves me no matter how I am being or what I do.
  • A person whose influence develops my ability to love and be responsible.

And my favorite, someone that helps us get closer to God/Spirit/Universe, closer to others, and on the road to becoming the real person God created us to be.

When you are ready, when you are willing to challenge your old beliefs about who you are and which people are safe, you will find them.

That is the good news, that there are safe people in this world. Safe people that are committed to your health and wellbeing as much as they are to their own.  I am one of them. Why this commitment?  Because I know, when one of us heals, we all heal and that we are stronger when we heal together.

We are here when you are ready. Join our weekly meetings, Wed. 4pm. pst. and ongoing community support at http://cst.onehealth.com

If you are a parent and don’t know how to start the dialog with your child about boundaries and body safety I provide webinars for parents on this topic here

Svava Brooks is a survivor thriver of childhood sexual trauma.  Svava is a certified parent educator, childhood sexual abuse prevention educator, passionate about educating adults, especially parents, on how to keep their kids safe from child sexual abuse.  To sign up for her prevention webinars please visit educate4change.com Svava also works as a group facilitator, Reiki* practitioner and life coach helping adult survivors recover from sexual trauma through life coaching and support groups, online or in person.  You can connect with Svava and other survivors supporting each other, online in the OneHealth community, at cst.onehealth.com

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Posted in community, Healing, life, Parenting, peer support, prevention, recovery, restoration, Support, Survivor of child sexual abuse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fathers Day!

funny-father-day-quotes

Father’s day is coming up, a time of reflection. I have been without a father in my life for so long that I sometimes forget that I should have had a father in my life. Someone to look up to and someone that I felt completely safe to go to with my worries and challenges in life. This was not in the plan for me.

I had a stepfather who could be loving at times. But most of the time, he manipulated me into thinking he was safe, and then abused me, physically, sexually, and emotionally, any time I would seek him out for support or guidance.  He was not so safe behind closed doors and was violent to all of us kids. So to a little girl that got mixed messages about love and sex, and from the tender age of 4, the lessons I learned from my stepfather about men and my own value were incredibly hard, painful, and destructive.

Throughout my childhood, I was confused about love, safety, and men. I was searching for love in all the wrong places. I often felt that I was somehow a magnet for older abusive men. I was constantly looking for love, something that offered the only thing I knew would get me the attention and the affection that I needed.  It was a self-destructive cycle.  It fed the shame that grew with my dark secret that there was something wrong with me.  No one was going to love me for being me.  No one was going to appreciate me, with my gifts and talents and encourage me to spread my wings. The only thing I had of value was my body and to give access to it brought me peace, but only until the men turned away from me after getting their needs met.  I felt confused and broken and incredibly lonely.

I did not have a father who believed in me or helped me to trust myself or to find my way in the world.  I didn’t feel that I had support at home and that I was celebrated and honored at home for being a loving child, a talented athlete, and smart student. I felt no love at home.

It was a long time ago.  The healing journey after betrayal trauma like child sexual abuse is long and hard.  It took over twenty years but I have healed and restored to more than I was before. I could not have healed without support, especially the support of the man that helped restore my faith in men.

I did grieve the fact that I did not have a father or a father figure that I respected or looked up to.  I know it did impact how I felt about men and it fueled the lack of trust I had in them and the world.  I cried about the loss of innocence that was taken from me way too soon.  I sobbed for my little girl that never went to her mother, afraid at night because she was sleeping next to the monster.  I felt powerless and unable to change this little girl’s belief that the world was not safe and men would only use and exploit her.  All the grieving helped.  After the tears, I found my anger and my rage.  My strength grew and I took my power back. I was no longer a victim.  I was no longer afraid.

I have been blessed with an incredible man for a husband that has helped me through a lot of the grieving.  He held me like my father should have, stroked my hair and told me everything was going to be okay and that he was not going to hurt me, over and over and over.  Even when I thought for sure he would leave me after he learned the truth about me, he proved me wrong. We have no secrets and he is still here, 20 years later.

This is the man that has restored my faith in men. That has been the father to my children that I never had, that he never had. That has been the husband and the friend that I needed to see in my parents relationship growing up.

So today, like every day, I honor my husband for who he is and the father he has become to our children. For playing the part of a father for me, for safe attachment and solid connection, so that my little girl and inner child could learn to trust and feel safe in the presence of a man.

I am sharing this with you to plant a seed of hope.  I know I am not alone with my experience of an abusive father.  Our fathers pass down a legacy to us.  But we don’t have to pass the legacy onto our children.  My children have been my greatest motivation for my healing, at times when I did not want to dig any deeper into wounds, when I felt exhausted from the grief and the waves of anger that consumed me at times.  In the end, right here, right now, I am glad I did. That I pushed through it.  Grateful for being blessed with the support and kindness from my husband and that he has modeled love and respect for his children.

So this Fathers day with a happy heart, I plan to celebrate Father’s Day with my family and celebrate that we are breaking the cycle of abusive fathers in our family. We honor and celebrate the tough choices that we made and above all, I honor my sweet loving man for being the best father my children and I, could have asked for.  Thank you David, from the bottom of my heart, for teaching me about love, and loving our kids the way you do. I love you more than you will ever know!

Happy Fathers Day!

Svava Brooks is a survivor thriver of childhood sexual trauma.  Svava is a certified parent educator, childhood sexual abuse prevention educator, passionate about educating adults, especially parents, on how to keep their kids safe from child sexual abuse.  To sign up for her prevention webinars please visit educate4change.com Svava also works as a group facilitator, Reiki* practitioner and life coach helping adult survivors recover from sexual trauma through life coaching and support groups, online or in person.  You can connect with Svava and other survivors supporting each other, online in the OneHealth community, at cst.onehealth.com

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