It is amazing how long old believes can hijack our lives. Believes and stories that no longer serve us. Quite to the contrary they can often sabotage any efforts we attempt to move toward our dream life.
Please read to the end to see how you can help create a project that will change this status quo.
Two things come to mind, when I think of believes that have held me back from living fully. Not only did they hold me back, they managed to freeze me in place and made it seem impossible to move out of them.
After my parents found out about my sexual abuse, we had several separate visits with therapists. I know that it was the 80s and that everyone just meant the best, but the therapist must have instilled all kinds of fear in my parents of what might become of their teenage daughter as a result of having been sexually abused. Apparently they were told, that there was a high risk of me either becoming addicted to drugs or becoming a prostitute. I have several instances in my head of sentences that started with: “You know people like you tend to become (fill in a negative stereotype here)”. It worked in that it scared the crap out of me. At the same time, it instilled the belief in me that I could not trust myself or my actions. If my parents had to watch me this closely all the time to ensure that I didn’t veer off the right path, I must have the capability to do so myself. And since I couldn’t trust myself, I stepped out of taking full responsibility for my life and instead let other people take over in telling me what was “best” for me.
The other story I held on to for way too many years, had to do with the threats my abuser used to prevent me from disclosing the abuse. His words to keep me small had always been around telling me that my family would fall apart, if I tell on him and that it would be all my fault. I did tell on him and although with several years delay, my family completely fell apart. My parents got divorced, over time ties with my dad’s side of the family crumbled and broke off and my older brother cut contact with everyone in the family. And what did I do? I adopted the threat and believed that it was all my fault for the longest time.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because so many survivor stories get stuck right here.
A lot of systems have been put into place to help sexual abuse victims to understand that none of the abuse was their fault. Therapists, support groups, and social workers help victims move from a mindset of being a victim to realizing they are a survivors. I am very thankful that these systems have been put into place.
What I think we are missing though, is the next step. My stories above all surfaced years after I had already moved into the understanding that the abuse itself was not my fault. But what surfaced as a result of it, was what was holding me back. I had no examples of people available to me that showed me that my past held no limitation in what I would be able to do in the future. I wanted to see kickass people, who had gone through childhood abuse and where crushing life for the most part. I wanted to learn from them and hear that they had found ways to not get caught up in believes that have surfaced for them as a result of the abuse. I wanted to ask someone, who was thriving, whether there are still days that they fall back into old believes and how they deal with it to avoid being dragged back into their pasts.
I wanted to see survivors crushing it in the world so bad that for a while, I got mad at all the wonderful programs that are being offered. I started to feel that the people, who have experienced childhood sexual abuse were portrayed and treated in our society as ones that needed to be handled delicately, because they aren’t able to handle life on their own.
I wanted to scream that yes we had the most horrible experiences in the past and it left us traumatized. But this does not prevent us from being strong, life loving women and men now. We don’t deny our past, we still see therapists and bodyworkers to help us release unresolved trauma, but we are able to put ourselves on transformational paths to live the life of our dreams just like everyone else out there. We are survivors who are willing to see and challenge the mental obstacles that we are presented with even when they try to keep us stuck in the past and its aftereffects.
I have been in enough groups, that brought people together who were all stuck in the past and didn’t know their way out or blamed the circumstances of their past on their current situation. Believe me, I was in the blame game for the longest time. But all it did was still leave me stuck in the same old place.
And this is why I am committing myself to creating a program that will allow survivors to see and connect with others, who are willing to do whatever it takes to rid themselves of constantly living in the past and catapult ourselves into the present moment, where we plot and implement the steps to live our dream life. Along the way, we need to highlight the thrivers out there, the ones that once were riddled with self-doubt, but since have dedicated their life to grow bigger than their past (not get rid of it, but integrate it to make them stronger).
Our world needs to be flooded with stories of childhood sexual abuse survivors, who might not have been able to write the beginning parts of their life story, but who are committed to not letting anyone but themselves write the rest of it.
If you are reading this and you are a survivor or childhood sexual abuse, I would like to hear from you. In order to create a program that will benefit you, I want to hear what you think would help you in becoming a thriver.
If you are not a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I kindly ask you to share this blog post with anyone you know so it might reach someone who is. Never assume you know everything about the past of the people that surround you. There might be someone that would benefit from this.
I have created a questionnaire at this link with some simple questions to collect information on what might benefits other survivors in such a program. If this is you, please support this initiative by completing the questionnaire. This is the first action step you can take to help create a better future for all survivors. Your answers will not be shared with anyone else and will solely serve in developing the most beneficial offerings.
Thank you in advance!
May we create a community of kick ass thrivers!!!