Break the silence 

This is specifically for people who have been abused. I can relate. I’m obviously not a skilled writer and that’s not why I put my thoughts out there. I do it just in hopes that someone who needed to read it, will find it. No matter what you’re going through you aren’t alone and you aren’t damaged. You’re precious and I hope you come to realize that. When you’ve been abused you basically have two options: 

You can push people out and isolate yourself as you try your best to push forward. You can push every memory and hurt down and hope that it doesn’t pour over. You can never know what it means to fully accept yourself because you don’t acknowledge what has been done to you. 

Or you can go the opposite way. You can reach out to someone you trust and open up about who crushed you.  You can get involved in support groups where you’ll be around people who understand. And you can be kind and patient to yourself and validate your emotions. 

The second way takes a lot more courage and perseverance. Because when you finally turn and open your eyes to the level of pain that you’ve been avoiding…there’s not a word to describe that helplessness. I know because I’ve been there.

I want to give someone encouragement here though. As heartbreaking and hopeless as your path of healing can feel, you are not hopeless. You are strong and you can get to a place where you can truly say that you accept and love yourself, and you can look back on your past  and not hold bitterness or resentment. You can feel free and whole. 

Breaking the silence is the first step. When you can’t take it day by day then take it hour by hour or minute by minute. Because if your heart is still beating you are here for a reason. Your life will not always be this hard. You can push through and down the road you’ll look back and be so proud of how far you’ve come. Don’t give up.

Broken Girl

There’s a song by Matthew West that is written specifically for girls (or boys) who have been sexually abused. I wanted to share the lyrics because I know that so many people can unfortunately relate to them. No matter what has happened to you, you’re still a gem, you’re still wanted, you’re still precious.

“Look what he’s done to you, it isn’t fair.  Your light was bright and new, but he didn’t care.  He took the heart of a little girl, and made it grow up too fast.  Now words like “innocence” don’t mean a thing. You hear the music play, but you can’t sing. Those pictures in your mind, keep you locked up inside your past.

This is a song for the broken girl, the one pushed aside by the cold cold world, you are. Hear me when I say, you’re not the worthless they made you feel. There is a love they can never steal away. You don’t have to stay the broken girl.

Those damaged goods you see in your reflection, love sees them differently. Love sees perfection. A beautiful display of healing on the way tonight.

Let your tears touch the ground. Lay all your shattered pieces down. Be amazed by how grace can take a broken girl…and put her back together again.”

I love love love the the lyrics “those damaged goods you see in your reflection, love sees them differently. Love sees perfection.” That part has always hit me hard. So many of us feel permanently damaged and jaded and gross because of someone else’s sin. And as hard as it is to accept and believe this…it is their sin and they’re the disgusting ones, not us! We don’t have to be defined by the fact that we were raped or beaten. There is so much more to us than that. That doesn’t mean you should ignore that it happened…you can’t. It won’t work. But you can have hope that you can work through the tangled, shattered, worn out parts of your heart and come out stronger on the other side. Able to help other people not have to go through what you have. Or even able to comfort the ones who have because you can relate.

When people used to tell me that honestly, I would just get angry. I love other people, but it didn’t feel like this heartache was worth it just to help…I was the one who needed help. But then I started thinking, “what if me going through this meant that my little sisters or my kids or my nephews and niece won’t have to.” And then it’s worth it.

I know this is a little jumbled and I hope you got something out of reading it. If you take away anything from it then it hope it’s something along the lines of “I am precious and loved, and this heartbreak I carry doesn’t define who I am.”

Holiday Hurts

No matter what, sexual abuse brings indescribable pain. Around the holidays its even harder for me because some of the people who abused me are immediate family members. So when the family is together to be happy and complete I either sit there with them fighting off flashbacks and anger and pain, or I don’t go and feel bad making it so my family isn’t complete. Especially because I have younger siblings who, because of being born 14 or 15 years after the oldest kid, don’t remember what being all together is like.

I know in my head that I’m not the bad guy in staying separated from them right now, but in my heart I feel selfish and there’s such a longing of wanting to be a close-knit family.  So when I say this I’m not only reminding you, I’m also reminding myself; none of this is your fault.  These consequences of breaking away from the family is a result of their actions. You have reasons for doing what you do.  Even if you know they wouldn’t touch you now, you know that seeing them will put you in a dark place… one that you’ve probably spent a lot of time in.

Your family might not understand, but I guarantee that there are people who do. I am one of them. Its okay to grieve what you don’t have…what was taken from you. Please don’t forget to also have hope for the future and to be thankful for even just the small good things in your life. Sexual abuse does change your life a lot, but it doesn’t have to ruin it. You also cant go through this alone…reach out to people. There are people around who can help you and love you. Stay strong, it does get better.

Ignorance

I’m pretty sure most people know about the 3 girls who were held captive and raped for 10 years. A few days ago someone I was with made a comment saying that, “those girls are better off dead.” I don’t usually get angry easily, and maybe I’m a little extra touchy with this subject, but that is one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever heard. At least this person was noticing that these girls lives will never be the same again…I am thankful for the fact that he wasn’t saying they should just suck it up and move on. It’s true that they have probably had such a hard time working through the nightmares and confusion and suffering the past year and a half(ish) since they’ve been rescued, and they will always carry some part of it with them (honestly it shapes who they are now both good and bad).  These girls are amazing fighters.

They could have given up in that house when everything first started with that man who was holding them captive. But they didn’t. They fought and they survived and now they get to be with their families again. Imagine the unexplainable (I don’t think that’s a word, but you get my point) relief that must have happened in their families and old friends when they heard the girls were still alive. I have such a big hope for those 3 girls that even though they lived through the worst nightmare I can imagine for 10 years, that they will have happiness in their future and possibly even right now! I am so thankful that those girls didn’t give up. It’s inspiring.

End of rant!

The Importance of Family Validating a Survivor

Without validation, I feel stupid; like what they did shouldn’t still be haunting me.  And like I should be able to just push away all of the hurt, and move on with my life. However, that makes a survivor feel silenced… and I’m not sure there’s anything worse than being silenced by what is tearing you apart inside. You need a family who not only says, “I’ll be here for you,” but actually is. A family who shows support to their survivor by showing them that they don’t see the survivor any differently or like any less of a person than they did before. They need to remind the survivor over and over again that I wasn’t his/her fault and they won’t be blamed for what happened. Sit and listen to her flashbacks and anger and intense pain that she’s feeling. Even though it hurts you so much to hear how a loved one is hurting, you can’t be selfish and not listen just to spare yourself pain. You will add to her pain so much if you can’t listen to what she has to say. She already had her voice stolen from her once when she was abused. Survivors already feel alone, misunderstood, and confused as it is. So you  pushing her away is going to send her deeper Into the silent war she’s suffering.

Don’t only tell your survivor that everything will be okay. Some survivors aren’t only worried about it happening again n the future, they also need to find release now. Tell them its okay to cry, to scream, to do whatever she needs to express the pain… as long as its not hurting herself or others. Go on walks with her, let her be alone sometimes but not too much. Do things you know she loves to do to help remind her life is still worth living and everything isn’t as hopeless as it feels. Try something daring and fun together to help clear your heads and give you something else to focus on for a while.

Hold her. Protect her. I know it’ll be frustrating when she’s so broken and you don’t feel like you can help. However, know that if you are loving and supporting her emotions and actions, you are definitely helping. And all of this is a long, hard process. Try your best not to rush her or to put a time limit o how long she can grieve. Think about how much she has lost. But let her know to grieve with a hope that she will heal. Pray for her and for the people around her who will be influencing how she deals with the process of healing and learning to live again.