People who have suffered abuse can’t simply snap their fingers and be ‘over’ the effects of the abuse. And the effects of child abuse, whatever kind of abuse it was, can continue into adult life, and possibly be there for all of an abused person’s life.
Whether physical, emotional or sexual, abuse is damaging and is never something you can easily recover from. Even if you think you have recovered, and have a life that is going well, after effects can come up when you aren’t expecting them too, and the painful memories of it can hit you again.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is what you are dealing with, and it is not a simple thing, ever. If you have suffered from a life-harming event that happened in the past, that still intrudes on you, with memories, flashbacks, sleep problems at night, and other related incidents, you may be suffering with PTSD.
If you think you are over the event that affected you in your past, and think you’re over it, but still have some troubling times, sometimes writing about it can bring a sense of healing. It won’t do the job of a professional therapist, but it may still be a way to assist you through to a better understanding, and acceptance.
Your own narrative, your story, where you write about how you feel about what happened to you, and how you have been able to come to terms with what it was, this is a great way to help yourself. If you can write about things, thinking about them, and their effects on you, this is a way to begin your narrative healing process.
Sharing your story with others who understand, that helps to, helps both you and the person you’re sharing your story with. There are so many of us, living lives of healing, or not healing, in various ways. Knowing you are not to blame, and also that you are not alone, but are part of a tribe of damaged ones, all healing in our own time, this can be therapeutic, to some extent.
But if you are getting messages from others or, thinking the same thing about yourself too, that you should ‘be over it’ by now, this won’t be useful at all. PTSD is a big thing that happened to you, and getting from damaged, to haled, this is a kind of grief, when you are grieving for the unharmed ‘you’ that you’d been previously.
And grief, whether over the death of a loved one, or the death of your previous self, that takes its own time, and there is no prediction on how long the healing process may take. Being told to ‘get over it’ certainly won’t help. Writing about it definitely might help though.
Life can be made up of a lot of moments that damage you, and finding better ways to live instead of living in utter despair can be a lifelong commitment, but it may be the only way you can live a life worth living, and that is surely what all of us should be struggling to do. Life has good moments too, and they can help you to keep on going. Writing about them too, can help you – reflecting on things to be grateful for is a task that can help you in your narrative healing. Gratitude is a fine attitude to hold onto.
When or if you write about things to be grateful for in your life, things can begin to look better, less dark. If you can’t find a single thing in your life to be grateful for, it is time to definitely find professional help. Birds, pets, friends, family, sunshine, rainbows, Nature, flowers, these are things I often begin my things to be grateful for list, if I’m in the need of a reminder.
I have a good life, free of abuse, with much love in it. I have my husband, son, mother, who I either live with, or see regularly. I am certainly grateful for their part in my life. They don’t know the full details of the sexual abuse I have suffered in my life as a younger person, before I began the relationship with my now husband of 33 years. I don’t feel any need to share these things with them.
If I was talking to other victims of sexual abuse though, I may well refer back to the worse things in my life, if appropriate. It isn’t a thing to mention, unless it was completely relevant to the discussion. Life is a winding twisting thing, and having control of it, means you may be regarded as a mentor, and inspiration, and if telling your sad and sordid story of your previous life can help someone to see that life can get better, then it is surely worth the telling?
I’m interested to hear the thoughts of other people regarding any of the things I have mentioned in this blog post. Be at peace, life can be good …