Today I wore a pair of faded old jeans and a plain grey baggy shirt. I hadn't even taken a shower, and I did not put on an ounce of makeup. I grabbed a worn out black oversized jacket to cover myself with even though it is warm outside. I have made conscious decisions lately to look like less of what I felt a male would want to see. I want to disappear.
There is a moment in our healing journey when our denial crumbles; we realize our experience and it's continued effects on us won't just go away. That's our breakthrough moment. It's the sun coming out to warm the seeds of hope so they can grow our personal garden of empowerment.
There’s an innocence to her still that amazes me. Sometimes I forget she’s older than me. Then, I remember that she hasn’t gone through what I’ve gone through.
The rationale seems to be that we keep people as victims by validating them, empathizing with them, and fighting alongside them for equality and the dignity they deserve. I don’t think people are kept down by that. I believe what keeps people down is the constant dismissal of their pain, the degradation, the humiliation, the fear of injustice, and the continuous crushing of their will, their faith, and their hope. This type of oppression kills the self-esteem people need to empower themselves, and it's flat-out terrorism.
John was still making comments regarding violent things that he shouldn't, but I hoped he was just being a big mouth. Nobody was going to listen to me anyway.
He told me that if I hung up, he'd do it. He would commit suicide. He told me that if I called the cops he would kill every single one of them and I knew that he had the potential and the means to do it
No amount of me trying to explain myself was doing any good. I didn't even know what was going on inside of me, so how could I have explained it to them?
It is not a single crime when a child is photographed while sexually assaulted (raped.) It is a life time crime that should have life time punishments attached to it. If the surviving child is, more often than not, going to suffer for life for the crime(s) committed against them, shouldn't the pedophiles suffer just as long? If it often takes decades for survivors to come to terms with exactly how much damage was caused to them, why are there time limits for prosecution?
The story of my birth that my mother told me went like this: When you were coming out I wasn't ready yet and neither was the nurse. The nurse tried to push you back in, but I shit on the table and when you came out, you landed in my shit.If there ever was a way to sum things up, the story of my birth was it.
I am releasing my own demons of times gone by and seizing the opportunity to find my own corner, my own fortress, my own calm and peace. Life is not unfair.
In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.
It is important to refuse to be intimidated. That refusal must not be based simply on a calculation of the odds of succeeding. At times, in my case, multiple lawsuits and an ethics charge seemed overwhelming, and the fact that I knew my work to be accurate and responsible was only partial solace. l was well aware that court, like the National Football League, is an arena in which, on any given Sunday, anybody can win.The refusal to be intimidated must come, in the end, not from a sureness of succeeding but from a knowledge of the cost of scurrying for shelter through fake retractions and disowned truths. It is a question, in the end of self-respect.Who among us could, in good faith, ever face a survivor of childhood abuse again were we to run for cover when pressed ourselves? Children are not permitted that choice, and the adults who choose to work with them and with the survivors they become cannot afford to make it. It would be a choice to become. Through betrayal and deceit, that to which we object.Our alternative, then, is not to hide. Not to refuse to treat adult survivors, not to refuse to go to court in their defense, not to apologize and retract statements we know are true, but to cultivate endurance and tenacity as carefully as we read the research.Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter. Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998
If your body is screaming in pain, whether the pain is muscular contractions, anxiety, depression, asthma or arthritis, a first step in releasing the pain may be making the connection between your body pain and the cause. “Beliefs are physical. A thought held long enough and repeated enough becomes a belief. The belief then becomes biology.
Survivors who don’t stand up for themselves often develop physical and emotional illnesses. Many become depressed because they feel so hopeless and helpless about being able to change their lives. They turn their anger inward and become prone to headaches, muscle tension, nervous conditions and insomnia.
Some survivors can be wary of most people, yet blinded by compassion toward fellow survivors or others who suffer — or who pretend to suffer, or exaggerate their sufferings, in order to take advantage of the survivor. Some survivors overidentify with other survivors, not realizing that even if someone was traumatized or suffers in a similar way, it doesn’t necessarily mean that person is honest. Being either overly suspicious or overly trusting can create problems with a partner who is able to judge the sincerity of others more realistically.
As you heal, you see yourself more realistically. You accept that you are a person with strengths and weaknesses. You make the changes you can in your life and let go of the things that aren’t in your power to change. You learn that every part of you is valuable. And you realize that all of your thoughts and feelings are important, even when they’re painful or difficult.
When we are ready to let go of our old controls, we admit that we were powerless over the incest or abuse...We have often thought, 'If only I could have stopped it,' but we could not have stopped it. We let go of the 'if only' now and sit still with our stark powerlessness…In our surrender to powerlessness, we touch ourselves with the gift of truth.
As you recover, you will find yourself letting go of many of your negative beliefs. You will discover that many of the so-called truths you were raised with and forced to believe are not truths at all. With this perspective, you will come to see, for example, that the names you were called as a child are simply not true. You are not ‘stupid,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘ugly,’ or a ‘liar’. You can discover just who you really are. You can let go of your pretenses and masks and discover who the real person is underneath.
After a victim is made to participate in an act of evil, the people in charge put a lot of energy into convincing the child or adult that he or she is evil and a perpetrator rather than a victim.p324
If you have the tendency to repress your anger, you have lost touch with an important part of yourself. Getting angry is a way to gain back that part of yourself by asserting your rights, expressing your displeasure with a situation, and letting others know how you wish to be treated. It can motivate you to make needed changes in a relationship or other areas of your life. Finally it can let others know that you expect to be respected and treated fairly.
If you carry around a lot of suppressed or repressed anger (anger you have unconsciously buried) you may lash out at people, blaming or punishing them for something someone else did a long time ago. Because you were unwilling or unable to express how you felt in the past, you may overreact in the present, damaging a relationship.
Some Survivors think that getting angry is inappropriate and a sign that a person is out of control. Others are afraid of anger, that of others, as well as their own. They are afraid that if they get angry, they will be rejected or abandoned, afraid they will lose control and hurt someone. But, allowing yourself to get angry and express your anger in constructive ways is one of the most healthy and empowering things you can do.
All emotions, even those that are suppressed and unexpressed, have physical effects. Unexpressed emotions tend to stay in the body like small ticking time bombs—they are illnesses in incubation.
As part of the healing process, change your perception of yourself from “victim” to that of “advocate” and “survivor.
Treating Abuse Today 3(4) pp. 26-33TAT: No. I don't know anymore than you know they're not. But, I'm talking about boundaries and privacy here. As a therapist working with survivors, I have been harassed by people who claim to be affiliated with the false memory movement. Parents and other family members have called or written me insisting on talking with me about my patients' cases, despite my clearly indicating I can't because of professional confidentiality. I have had other parents and family members investigate me -- look into my professional background -- hoping to find something to discredit me to the patients I was seeing at the time because they disputed their memories. This isn't the kind of sober, scientific discourse you all claim you want.
The experience of chronic abuse carries within it the gross mislabeling of things. Perpetrators are really nice daddies. Victims are evil and seductive (at the age of three!). Nonprotecting parents are tired and busy. The survivor makes a giant leap forward when [he or ]she can call abuse by its right name and grasp the concept that what was done was a manifestation of the heart of the perpetrator, not the heart of the victim.
Several researchers demonstrate the ways people fail to label trauma as such or underreport traumatic experiences. In a sample of 1,526 university students, Rausch and Knutson (1991) found that although participants reported receiving punitive treatment similar to that of their siblings, they were more than twice as likely to identify their siblings’ experiences as abusive as they were to label their own in this way. The authors reported that participants were likely to interpret parental treatment toward themselves but not parental treatment toward their siblings as deserved and therefore not abusive. Other studies similarly indicate that those reporting abuse experiences often do not demonstrate a metaconsciousness of having been abused (Goldsmith & Freyd, in press; Koss, 1998; Varia & Abidin, 1999; Weinbach & Curtiss, 1986). KNOWING AND NOT KNOWING ABOUT TRAUMA: IMPLICATIONS FOR THERAPY (2004)
One in four girls will experience sexual abuse by the time she is sixteen, and 48 percent of all rapes involve a young woman under the age of eighteen. It’s not surprising then, that in a society where sexual abuse of young women is rampant, many women never share their stories. They remain hidden and invisible.
You're a survivor because everyday you make a choice not to be governed by their harsh words or actions. No one has the right to take away your happiness.
While a psychiatric diagnosis can serve a purpose in treatment plans, it should not become a tool to discredit a person's disclosure of abuse.
Perfectionism is the unparalleled defense for emotionally abandoned children. The existential unattainability of perfection saves the child from giving up, unless or until, scant success forces him to retreat into the depression of a dissociative disorder, or launches him hyperactively into an incipient conduct disorder. Perfectionism also provides a sense of meaning and direction for the powerless and unsupported child. In the guise of self-control, striving to be perfect offers a simulacrum of a sense of control. Self-control is also safer to pursue because abandoning parents typically reserve their severest punishment for children who are vocal about their negligence.