“The Courage to Heal” is a book by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. I’ve used this book as a resource for healing, my research in advising my clients and most importantly, my bible in resonating.
My post here in Stoneologys are filled with real life experiences, ideas from readings, advice from specialist, and the participation of supervising reviews from chosen psychologist specializing in servicing survivors of child sexual abuse.
My posts are intended to advise YOU on one fact, YOUR experience of childhood ABUSE EFFECTS YOUR LIFE as an adult TODAY. This is a fact whether you are a male or female survivor.
I encourage you to speak on your experience, journal about it, seek professional advice to include on going counseling.
During my journey in healing, speaking about it was the most liberating for me. I was able to take the power of shame back from the violation of stolen innocence and use it empower my listeners. Countless men and women have joined me in speaking up for themselves. I’m thankful to be a vessel and validated by more and more voices that were formerly silent.
The counseling allowed me to focus on myself. FOCUS and HEAR myself.
Counseling is a trained and safe environment dedicated to learning you.
A girlfriend, family member or confidant cannot take the place of professional counseling. We need all of it.
I was able to review my current behavior in the context of my experience as a sexually abused child.
This was a powerful activity. Result, I no longer take responsibility nor bare the shame of another man’s sin against me.
The parallels drawn were astonishing. I saw vividly how my fear of telling then, has retarded my growth in self preservation skills through out my life to date. In other words, I had to redevelop the strength, gumption and chutzpah and learn how to protect myself. This also included protection from myself.
I’ve learned to speak my truth without apology or condemnation for what happened to ME.
Being violated as a child had unconsciously made it “OK” to be violated as an adult. Misplaced accountability for being abused placed the blame and the shame squarely on my little shoulders. Abuse became par for the course in conspicuous ways. We’ve all seen the effects of sexual abuse in the form of additions, prostitution, promiscuity, and many other manifestations of self loathing.
I have personally seen remnants of it in my own sexuality, my career path, the expectations for my life, my male and female relationships, my handling of money and my relationship with food.
I’m willing to admit my attitude towards myself has been deeply affected by the abuse.
I no longer suffer in darkness, silence, shame or self blame.
I prayed and received the courage to heal.
In my healing, I was able to make decisions to change automatic behaviors and responses I had unconsciously mastered. For instance, I had disassociated me, the woman, from me the child that was abuse. Therefore, I didn’t have to deal with the pain or acknowledge the shame of being abused. The cycle continued.
The effects of denial and not dealing with the pain of sexual abuse, was never healing from the abuse and empowering the shame of abuse. Think about that for a minute.
One of the best blessings I’ve experienced from my healing, is that I am no longer paranoid. For example being overly protective of my daughters has affected their relationships with men. My suspicious behavior and learned fear based reasoning of a man’s presence around my daughters has colored their perceptions and fear of men as well. I have removed the fear derived from my own experience and developed the skill to assess a situation on its own merits.
I’ve become a better mother and teacher.