I can’t believe people actually grow up and experience no trauma. You mean your dad didn’t sexually abuse you? Your boyfriend never slapped you? You’ve never been raped at a party, in your sleep? What does THAT feel like, to live a young life without abuse or trauma? Sometimes I can’t believe it when people tell me they haven’t really experienced anything traumatic.
And yet here I am.
I am someone who has experienced traumatic abuse and survived it.
I still see his face and hear his voice. Flashes of memories that haunt me when I’m driving my kids to school or being intimate with my husband. The shame feels sickening, as I remember him looking at my body- touching it, snapping pictures of it. The shame I have felt that I somehow caused this as a child, because I didn’t know how to make it stop. The never-ending question in my mind as an adult with my own children, “How could he do that to me?! What the hell was he thinking?!” And even though I will never fully answer this question, I still ask it all the time, but I can’t make sense of abuse, because abuse makes no sense.
Yet, I have grown up into adulthood and have been able to function in healthy, intimate relationships.
And I’m abused no longer.
But the road to separation from my abuser and the healing of my broken heart has been a really, really long process. Did I say really long process? Really long.
I remember as I came to terms with what happened to me. I was angry. No, enraged, was more like it. I looked back on the sexual abuse I endured, How could you have done this to me?! What were you thinking?! The heaviness and sadness was overwhelming to me as I tried to make sense of my life-who I was and where I came from.
I felt unwanted, unloveable, and gross. A truly gross, not-normal person.
All the dark, heavy baggage, the weird secret memories. I carried a deep well of shame inside my chest. I wanted to be known and loved for who I was, but who I was was someone who had been abused, shamed, broken.
I struggled trying to unravel the confusing things I had experienced, relieve the pain from it all, and find that I am more than this angry, heartbroken girl.
I felt guilt for years as I wrestled with all the abuse I had already endured and the toxic behavior I was still enduring, wondering if it was okay to break relationship with this person. First, he was family, so… And I am a natural people pleaser and I hate conflict. But I knew I couldn’t carry on with my life in a positive way if I was going to continue to allow this abuser into my life. I had to come to the understanding that this person who is supposed to be my protector and my hero is unsafe. And that I am ALLOWED to get away from unsafe people. Period.
So, the first thing I did was set healthy STRONG boundaries between my abuser and I. Setting boundaries was a game-changer for me in my relationship with my abuser and in my healing process.
Armed with my belief in Christ, Christian counselors, strong pure relationships and a courage to pursue purity and right living, I stepped out in boldness and told my abuser we would no longer be in relationship and that I forgave him for what he did. That we wouldn’t see each other or talk on the phone anymore. Done.
Oh, it was so hard. Yet SO freeing!!! All the years I couldn’t and didn’t know how to make it stop as a child and finally I was able to say, “no more.” I had to remove his evil toxic ways from my mind, my body, my spirit. So that I could heal and grow into the person I was always meant to be. Not an insecure girl, but a courageous woman who forgives and is free from shame.
Abused no longer.