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.
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