I am very blessed to work in the field that I do. They push me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. These women are my hero’s who have the courage to take back their own lives and do it with such class and passion. It takes a lot of strength to heal and move forward.
One of the survivors has offered to share a glimpse into her journey of healing……
The funny thing about being an adult survivor of sexual, emotional and physical abuse is that you don’t see your-self as someone who is strong and powerful. Yet as a child I was fighting everyday of my life to survive. I had to be strong not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. I didn’t think about what was happening. I just did it. I was fearless. I learned to adapt to a plethora of situations or else I would never have survived. I just did what I needed to do to stay alive. I thought outside of the box. In a nutshell I was simply amazing, but I didn’t realize how strong and amazing I was, until much later.
So when did I change to someone who hated and despised herself? When did I learn that it was better to align my-self with the abuser then to be free? When did I allow my mind to turn against me?
When I think about it, it is astonishing how I learned to become abusive towards my-self. He taught me very well to hate my-self. I no longer needed him to be in person to abuse me. I just did it for my-self and I did it with such ease and simplicity. I was an expert on abuse and I knew instinctively what to do to continue this pain. All I had to do was look in the mirror and just like magic, words of hate and disgust would automatically appear in my mind. I would put my body through daily vigorous workouts to punish it for not looking good enough. Sometimes I would poison my body with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. I believed it was making me invincible, when instead it was making me weaker. As I allowed his voice to get stronger, my voice of strength was getting weaker. The weaker I got, the stronger he got.
I would surround my-self with people who would share the same beliefs of self-hate. I knew this language, I felt safe. Men who were kind and treated me with respect was seen as a threat, so I would label them as weak. I would seek out men who were unattainable, who treated me like shit because it would secretly confirm I was worthless and not worthy to be loved. This is all I knew. My destruction was my validation that I was worthless. Little did I know, I was slowly becoming a prisoner of my own mind, promising my-self that tomorrow would be different. But tomorrow would come and it was no different. I continued the abuse. I was helpless. I was scared of everything and everyone.
What happened to that person who survived? What happened to that person who fought everyday of her life? What happened to that strength? Where is that person?
I know that person is in there? I know she is scared but I know she is also strong. Most days I would hear this silent whisper, “You got this, I beg you, you deserve better.” I would scream back and shout that I didn’t deserve to be happy or loved. All you have to do is look at my life. I have a history of broken relationships. Look no one likes me, but all I wanted was to be loved. What was I doing wrong?
Maybe, just maybe this other voice might be right. I slowly learned to listen to that other voice. Whose voice is that? Yes I was scared to trust this voice, but there was something about this voice that kept willing me back. It sounded familiar. As I started to tune in I began to recognize this voice. This was the voice that woke me up every morning and helped me survive many years of abuse. This was the voice that kept me alive!!
This is my voice. I know that this is my voice and not the abuser, because I am kind, I am supportive and I push my-self to be strong. I tell my-self to go look in that mirror. I hear it immediately, “your ugly, you don’t deserve love, your fat, just lose some weight and then people will love you.” NOOOOOO! I know that voice. It’s not mine. I beg my mind not to listen to that voice, but its so easy. I know that voice. I can predict my day when I give into that voice. Learning to listen to my other voice is scary. This doesn’t feel normal, but I beg my-self to listen that voice. That voice, that kind voice is MINE. I will myself to take another look at my body. This body is MINE. My body is not weak. My body is not to be hated. This body is MINE. I own this body now. I am learning to take back what was once mine.
…….Survivor of child sexual abuse and adult rape!