As a fellow survivor, I'd like you to know the following
YOU CAN HEAL, NO
MATTER WHAT WAS DONE TO YOU,
Before retiring as a practicing therapist, I worked with people who were physically and sexually abused almost from birth until the age of 18 or older, victims of satanic ritual abuse, victims of abuse by multiple perpetrators, murderers, and pedophiles. People in all of these groups have been able to heal and live fulfilling, productive lives. You can too. Many people still contact me about their abuse and I am amazed by the fact that they are healing faster now, perhaps because sexual abuse has come "out of the closet." I believe that as each one of us heals if affects the collective consciousness and makes it easier for others to heal.
No matter what was done to you or what you have done, you can heal. There are no exceptions. Your mind is designed to heal you. It knows exactly how to heal you. All the answers you need are inside you. No matter what was done to you or what you have done, you are still pure. No matter what was done to you or what you have done, you are loved by God/Spirit/Consciousness/the Universe.
If a therapist says you can't heal, it simply means that particular therapist doesn't have the skills or ability to help you. Ignore labels. Studies at Harvard Medical School prove that so-called "personality disorders" such as borderline, narcissistic, etc., are simply symptoms of abuse that disappear when memories and emotions are released and self-defeating beliefs are uncovered and changed. If a therapist labels you or says you can't heal, find another therapist. Remember that your therapist works for you. Keep looking. You will find someone to help you.
YOU DID NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED AND IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. CHILD ABUSE IS NEVER THE CHILD'S FAULT, NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES. No matter what you may believe, or what you have been told, you did NOT deserve to be abused. There are no exceptions. You deserved to be respected, cherished, cared for, and nurtured. Every child (and adult) deserves these things. There are no exceptions.
Please write and say to yourself many times, "I did not deserve to be abused. It was not my fault," until you believe it, and all the voices in your head to the contrary are silent. This may take some time, therapy, recovering memories, releasing emotions, and uncovering the limiting beliefs in your mind. Just as soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic memories need to remember traumatic events their minds have blocked out and release their suppressed emotions in order to heal, so do survivors of trauma caused by child abuse. It can seem frightening - and it's certainly not fun - but the results are more than worth it. I guarantee, from my own experience and knowing the personal experiences of hundreds of other survivors, that if you face the memories and feel the emotions, not just in general but attached to specific individual memories, you will feel better than you can possibly imagine.
Healing trauma brings unexpected gifts. Trauma and healing propel us to greater psychological and spiritual growth and bring unimaginable blessings. You will see how strong, intelligent, and capable you are to have survived abuse that would make soldiers break down. You will develop understanding and compassion for yourself and others, and the ability to feel love, peace, and joy.
I used to live in a world that I perceived as hell. Now I live in the kingdom of heaven, nirvana, shambala, a world of daily miracles. You can do it too. We are designed to do it. The Universe/Spirit is constantly pushing us to realize our true Selves and the miracles that surround us.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The conservative statistics are that one in every three or four people has been sexually abused under the age of 18. That means that over 50 million people in the United States have been sexually abused as children. Other studies put the number even higher. Similar statistics are coming out of Canada, England, France, Australia, Belgium, and Germany. If you add victims of criminal child physical abuse and neglect to the numbers for sexual abuse, the estimated numbers are in excess of 70 percent of the population.
Everyone has experienced pain. Pain is universal. It is part of the human experience. Pain is a gift, never a punishment, designed to help us awaken. Does this mean it is okay for people to abuse others? Of course not. But looking for the lessons and gifts in pain gives us a different perspective and make pain easier to bear. A couple of my favorite quotes about pain: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." C. S. Lewis And from poet John Keats: "Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?"
YOU ARE NOT CRAZY, however crazy you may feel right now. You may have overwhelming feelings, self-defeating behaviors, dissociative identity disorder, and a variety of other symptoms of your abuse, but these are symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder - the effects of your abuse. PTSD is a "disorder," not a mental illness, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by therapists. You may need therapy or even hospitalization, but you are not crazy.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR ABUSE OR YOUR SYMPTOMS. The real you, underneath the layers of pain and false beliefs, is pure, eternal, and unlimited. The real you cannot be damaged or destroyed. My experience is that survivors are exceptionally resilient, strong, creative, intelligent people, even though you may not believe it now. We had to be or we wouldn't have survived.
YOU HAVE ALREADY SURVIVED THE WORST THAT CAN EVER HAPPEN TO YOU, and you survived it when you were a child without the knowledge, understanding, resources, and abilities you have now. You suffered unspeakable horrors all alone. You had no one to rely on but yourself and you got yourself through. So you can get through anything. You are a survivor and nothing will ever be that bad again. You can heal and you can live a happy fulfilling life.
You can survive recovering the memories - past thoughts and emotions - you need to uncover for complete heal. You will only recover memories you are ready to recover and can handle. Your mind will not let you down now, after protecting you for so many years.
IF YOU FEEL LIFE ISN'T WORTH LIVING AND ARE THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE:
You are not the alone. Most survivors of child abuse suffer from depression and have suicidal thoughts. These are common effects of abuse. I had these thoughts for many years before I began to understand them in therapy.
The worst part of depression and feeling that you want to die is not knowing where these thoughts come from. We think they are coming from our present situation. We feel crazy and out of control. Understanding that these thoughts are simply past thoughts and symptoms from abuse makes them easier to handle.
No matter how terrible your life appears to be now, most of your feelings of depression and hopelessness are coming from the past. Your present feelings and thoughts are coming from feelings and thoughts you had while you were being abused, feelings your mind blocked out because they were too overwhelming for you to deal with as a child.
When children are being abused, there is no escape. Often the people who are supposed to be caretakers are the abusers. Abused children are unable to escape their torment. They feel helpless and hopeless. They want to die. They may even beg to die or pray to God to let them die. Death seems the only way out of a terrifying world of abuse, violence, and ugliness. This is the only world abused children know.
Children cannot survive on their own. They have no place to go. As a child, after being abused, I used to cry in front of my bathroom mirror, saying over and over, "I want to go home, I want to go home," even though I was in my parents' house. I hated God for not letting me go "home".
Feelings of depression and so overwhelming for a child that our minds block them out. We dissociate from these feelings to protect ourselves. But these emotions remain stored in our minds and are triggered by events that remind us of the past abuse. Repressed emotions give us a double whammy: we are hit not only by today's feelings, but by the unresolved childhood feelings as well.
The best way I found to overcome my suicidal feelings was to uncover specific memories of abuse where I wanted to die. I had to remember how I felt and release the violent emotions I had at the time that my mind had suppressed. I also had to recall thoughts I had at the time about wishing I would die, that my father would kill me and get it over with. Once I released the emotions and realized my adult thoughts were coming from the past, my suicidal thoughts and feelings of helplessness went away. I was able to see that I had survived even as a truly helpless child and that I was no longer trapped or helpless.
This technique was the most effective process I used as a therapist. I've also trained hundreds of therapists and they too find success using this process. Survivors heal when they uncover the root cause of their emotions and self-defeating behaviors. Otherwise they can remain stuck in past feelings and limiting beliefs.
Right now you may be feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and hopeless, but these feelings come from your childhood when you were truly helpless. You could not escape your abuser. Your abuser was bigger and older than you. You could not fight back because you knew you would be hurt worse. You had no options. But is that true now?
The truth is that you survived the abuse when you were too young to help yourself. You didn't have the understanding, intelligence or resources that you have now. But you survived. Think about how strong and intelligent you were even as a child. You survived. Look at what you have accomplished in spite of the horrors you endured. You have the strength to hold on a little longer and take the last couple of steps that will free you from the past and move you into peace and happiness.
The fact that your old feelings are resurfacing is a signal that you are ready to deal with these repressed emotions and the effects of abuse. Your mind is letting you know that you can uncover the memories and handle the emotions now. It is pushing you to heal. Once you release these old feelings and understand the cause, you will feel better than you can possibly imagine. Right now you have no idea what feeling free is like
Does this mean you will never feel unhappy? Of course not. Everyone has disappointments and you will still have feelings. But these periods will be minor and manageable.
Anger also kept me alive. I realized that if I committed suicide, my abuser would win. I wouldn't give him that satisfaction.
I believe that living well is the best revenge. And you can live well. People who want to die really want help and relief from their pain. They want peace and happiness. As someone who has been suicidal, I am grateful to those who would not let me die.
I used to see the world as hell, but now experience it as a place of beauty and wonder, nirvana, the kingdom of heaven. Many other people have found the same miracles - and you can too. The true world is supportive and beautiful. Only old hurts, thoughts and emotions prevent us from seeing the truth. They are the veil. Today more and more people are freeing themselves from the blinders of the past and are seeing the truth. You can too.
YOUR MIND KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAL. Trust your process and your intuition, the gentle, helpful instincts (not the inner voices of fear, self-criticism, and anger.) By seeking help, you have already taken the most important step on your journey of recovery and you are farther along in your journey of recovery than you may think. You will heal. You will discover your true Self. It's what we are all designed to do.
My favorite quote is from the Buddha: "If you search the wide world over, you will never find anyone more deserving of love than yourself." This applies to everyone.
Love and blessings,