What’s Real?

Having touched on the trauma of sexual abuse, I feel the need to share some information I gathered a couple years ago. I hoarded articles found in magazines and got a couple books. I wanted to understand how to deal with what I was going through. I read over them and put them away. I understood the psychological part, but I disconnected the emotions brought up with what I was reading, especially if it was stories from others. What I wasn’t ready to add was the human connection.

Victims need this so desperately, but their experience(s) has led them not to trust so easily. To protect yourself, you live in hiding. You put up a false front that has it all together and you smile and say, ‘everything is okay, I’m doing good’. In reality you’re not okay. There’s turmoil in your mind from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, and more than likely that’s also affected. When flashbacks occur, they’re enough to make you question what’s real and what isn’t. Not because you think your mind is making the memory up. In reality, it’s your way of protecting yourself as you’re reliving the trauma. Personally, I couldn’t accept them. I would ask myself, ‘Why would anyone do this to a child? How can anyone look at a child and have sexual arousal and act on it?’ I wasn’t seeking to understand their perverted mind, I just couldn’t believe that they saw me that way.

I would fight these flashbacks and the feelings that came with them. My body started reacting to this internal struggle. I began getting migraines. I’d had headaches since I was very young, but this was a whole new level of pain. I was always achy. I couldn’t even wash dishes with out getting exhausted. I started to indulge in food, because of the comfort I felt, especially sweets. I knew I was harming my body by eating this way but I didn’t care. I was worthless anyway, right? I mean, I could’ve done something to avoid this abuse from happening to me in the first place, no?

As long as I refused to hear what this little girl inside me was trying to tell me, I was gonna feel that toxic shame. She needed me to listen, to acknowledge what had happened to her, and assure her that it wasn’t her fault and that the danger was over. I had to make her feel worthy and loved and valued once again. I also needed to let her vent her emotions. It was okay to feel anger. They crossed a boundary they shouldn’t have.

I’ve been releasing grief and anger this past week because of a flashback. Yes it’s painful, but I know it’s temporary. That inner child is finally receiving comfort and love, much like what I would give my child if he were in pain. Any kind of healing needs to start with love. It lets us know that we are valuable. Our loved ones wouldn’t replace or ignore us if we had physical wounds, we shouldn’t do that to ourselves either. Those wounds many of us carry should be healed. It’s an act of self love, not selfish love.

It’s time to comfort that inner child. ; )

As for those articles, I’ll be sharing some of those in days to come.

Love you guys.

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A Time to Grieve

This week has been emotionally draining for me. I debated about continuing to write about the qualities I’m still working to cultivate; self control, and patience, since I touched on them in my last post. When I decided to start writing on this website I wanted to keep it all positive, but in order for others to understand how far I’ve come, I think it would be helpful to touch on a subject not so often talked about.

One of the biggest fears a parent can have is that of their child being sexually abused. I had a nightmare a week ago that set off a panic attack that woke me up. Without going into too much detail, in the dream, I went from thinking, “this person wants to molest my child”, to, “oh no, he’s already done it”. I felt powerless and I felt rage, and I didn’t know what to do with those feelings. The people standing around me didn’t believe me when I shared this with them, so I asked them, “what do I have to do? Does the harm have to be visible, like a cut on the throat, in order for you to take it seriously?!”

I told my therapist how unusual it is for me to awaken with a panic attack, so she asked me if I had had a nightmare. I hadn’t linked the two together! When I shared the details of the dream, she helped me to see it from a different perspective. The focus for me was of my son being harmed, and wanting others to understand the seriousness of it. She brought out that it’s probably me seeking validation for what happened to me when I was a child.

My first memory of abuse happened when I was three, maybe four years old. My son is three, and I see a lot of my personality in him, quirks and all. Maybe that’s why in this dream he was the victim. In trying to get me to heal this wound, my mind used something I love and put it through something painful. I got the message, “it’s time to fix this”.

At this point, though, I don’t feel like I’m seeking validation from others. The validation I’m seeking now is from myself. It’s like the abused little girl in me, wants, and needs me to acknowledge her feelings; feelings I had buried. It’s time to face them and let them go, but in a healthy way, because the way I was dealing with them before was by resorting to self destructive behavior. The result of this? More guilt and shame. That wasn’t what I wanted. What I desperately sought, was to heal the emotional pain.

I told my husband this week that I was ready to face whatever memory came up, that the worse had already happened, and the work of dealing with the emotions had to begin. I wouldn’t have the strength for this if I still hated myself! A good foundation is needed in order not to crumble. I didn’t appreciate the importance of this before, but it is so necessary to get through such trauma.

I know the topic of child sexual abuse is a sensitive subject, but the times we live in call for us to do so. I think not talking about it gives the abusers power (which they don’t deserve), and they become more brazen, so they continue in their conduct of hurting children in the most humiliating way, sexually. In not discussing it, victims also fall into a seemingly endless cycle of shame and guilt.  It’s time to break that cycle!

I refuse to continue giving power to those who don’t deserve it!

Love you guys :’)

Recognizing and Accepting my faults

A few weeks ago I wrote about how difficult it was for me to acknowledge and accept my faults. After I read a few articles about honesty, I realized this was something I had to do. Never before had I thought that I was being dishonest with myself in overlooking and making excuses for my character flaws. It was like looking in a mirror, but choosing to see what I wanted. I think I was focusing on my feet! Any way, when I accepted these faults I was initially overwhelmed with the task of working to correct them, but recognized the need to be patient. I hadn’t gotten where I was overnight, so it was gonna take time to work through them.

As a Christian, some of the qualities we are encouraged to cultivate are humility, kindness, self-control, and patience. All are basic human qualities valued anywhere, no matter what your race, country, language, or faith. I had none of these in healthy amounts. One, in particular, didn’t exist within me at all.  That was humility. Humility is the first quality I want to focus on because it’s something I didn’t fully grasp until recently.

I come from a family in which many members are very proud. You can even say some are narcissistic! I’m not laying blame on anyone here for my shortcomings. As adults, we can pick and choose what we will and won’t practice from what we learned as children. Personally, I never thought being proud was wrong, because at least I wasn’t as bad as so and so, and hey, I was a nice person (most of the time). 

The sad fact is, I had no clue on how to be humble despite knowing the meaning of the word! I thought it only involved being very nice. That’s all there is to it, right? What I was really displaying, was false humility, but no one can fool others with false humility. I sure wasn’t. I only succeeded in fooling myself. It was only a matter of time before my pride broke through the facade. I couldn’t successfully suppress it or cover it with niceness. It had to be dealt with and uprooted from my heart in order for humility to grow.

True humility though, can’t exist without love. Love for yourself will ensure you have good self esteem, and when you have good self esteem you don’t feel the need to criticize or put others down just to make yourself feel better, or superior. I can’t stress the importance of self love enough, therefore, it will come up often.

Think of a nutritionist, who stresses the importance of eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. They do so because they know these foods will help you become and remain healthy. Well that’s what love does for us emotionally, it keeps us healthy.