“But no matter how much evil I see, I think it’s important for everyone to understand that there is much more light than darkness.” ― Robert Uttaro,
The truth about sexual abuse is that it changes who you are and who you were meant to be. It robs you of your faith in others and your beliefs about yourself.
The truth about sexual abuse is that it taints your interpretation of your value and your worth. There is something so insidious about it that anyone who has not been through it cannot truly understand the depths to which it reaches.
Living in Your Body
The truth is that I was sexually abused for over seven years by two different men on a fairly regular basis. The truth is that they robbed me of my childhood. They robbed me of my self-esteem, my sense of worth, my happiness and my sense of security.
The truth is that being sexually abused changes you. It changes everything. Most people do not understand it and will never understand. From the day it started to the day it ended it begins to took that happy-go-lucky easy going child and turned her into something dark and mysterious.
No one knows it on the outside and even you don’t know it is happening at the time. But, like an creepy little tick it burrows its way deep into your soul.
Although my body belonged to me it was not my own. It was a tool to be used and abused and it was for their pleasure because that was what they needed and wanted. No one cared what I wanted. I still struggle with body image issues and never feel pretty enough or skinny enough.
I can’t say that my pain was worse than the pain of others or that my pain left me feeling more bereft than others. I can only say that my pain changed me forever. I know this. I feel this. I accept this.
What Might Have Been
For years I used to lament and feel sorry for myself and think, “Who would I have been if this hadn’t happened to me”? “I was such a happy child.” But this type of thought is fundamentally useless.
To be honest, it doesn’t matter who you would have been or what you thought you would be or what you wanted your safe little world to look like and be like. Truth is truth and the truth is that being abused changes you FOREVER. The truth is you are where you are whether you like it or not.
What is your truth? Did this happen to you? Did someone rob you of your sense of self-worth? Did your parents make you feel unworthy? Did someone touch you when they shouldn’t have? Did anyone use you for their own gratification? If so, I’m truly sorry for this. I know what it feels like.
But, what might have been is in the past. You cannot change this or control it. You can’t wish it away or cry it away. Wallowing in the past and forever thinking about what life could have been will do you no good. I know that the only way to be free of the past is to embrace it and accept it and move forward.
Find Your Heart
Find your heart again. Find that piece of yourself that they did not steal. It is still there even if it’s hidden really deep beneath the surface and beneath the pain. The person and the child and the heavenly being that was you before they stole your heart still exists. Go find that person.
I’m not saying it will be easy. Going back to that place before it all started is actually quite terrifying, or at least it has been for me. To go to that place where I existed in happiness is like walking over Niagara Falls on a tightrope. But, I want to get to the other side so I must traverse my way across.
Anyone that made you believe you are anything bad or wrong or not worthwhile is someone who is unworthy themselves and someone who has likely been abused as well. Have pity for them. If they choose to abuse another then they will never find peace in this lifetime and maybe not even the next.
But you can change all that. You can live in love and find your heart. You can find your way back to who you really are. Stop living in fear and hatred and distrust. Those are chains that hold you down. There is nothing keeping you locked in your dungeon other than yourself. But remember that you hold the key. Only you. No longer do they hold power over you.
Find A Way to Forgive
Once you realize all of this and once you realize that you cannot change your past or what happened to you or what they did to you then you can open the door to your freedom.
To become one with your soul again requires forgiving. There is no peace if you have hatred in your heart. Hatred is like a toxic cancer and it will eat you alive even if you don’t think it’s there. The blackness sits in your soul and keeps you from living your truth.
One day I realized that I had to forgive. I had to forgive. I did not forgive for them. I forgave for me and so I could move on. They were holding me hostage in my own life. So, I wrote each of them a letter and I mailed them. With the writing and with the mailing I let the hatred go. No longer would I let them have any hold over me or my decisions.
How long will you let others dictate the rest of your life? You had no control as a child, but you have control now. If you continue to feel sorry for yourself, wish the past was different or live a life of misery you are only giving them more power to control the rest of your life.
Become a Survivor
Congratulations. You are no longer a victim. You have become a survivor. Yet another cliché’ saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is true. They say these things because they are true and you aren’t dead and if you aren’t dead stop trying to kill yourself.
We can whittle away our days in misery and depression feeling sorry for ourselves and the bad rap that we got or we can become fighters and move on. Tell your story. Help others. Find some peace for yourself because no one is going to do it for you.
No one is ever going to love you enough to make you feel all better and no one is ever going to validate every feeling and need you have. By becoming a survivor you take the first step in loving yourself and finding a way to move past the hurt, past the fear, past the anger, resentment and hatred and find a way to live again.