Saturday, April 26, 2014

Incest, Healing And Moving Forward

I was in a conversation on Facebook a few days ago that stemmed from the following quote by Dr. Steve Maraboli. Here is the quote:

unless you let go,
unless you forgive yourself,
unless you forgive the situation,
unless you realize that that situation is over.

Here is what I said when I posted this quote on my Facebook page.

"For small situations, you can move through to moving forward pretty quickly. As an incest survivor, the process of moving through the feelings, forgiving myself and my abusers, letting go of it all has been a lengthy process that has taken years. There were many people who told me to move on, let it go, before I was able to. The truth is that letting go can take a long time sometimes. Talking about it, writing about it has brought it out into the open and out of the darkness of silence and abuse. In talking about it and healing my issues, I refused to be a victim any longer. Today I am moving from survivor to thriver and that is a very good thing."

Someone told me it takes courage to not let the incest define me. I do use the label of incest survivor in reaching out to others and in sharing my story, but I do not define myself as what happened to me as a child. I am so far beyond being that person that was molded by the hurt, the abuse and the betrayals. Working through the issues from the incest does not mean that I am stuck. I am moving forward, even today, years after starting my healing journey. Anyone that knows me well knows how far I have come from who I used to be.

I don't see myself as stuck in the past. I use that past to help others and I am still moving forward in my life each day. Child abuse has been ignored for so long and the only way that I see to stop it is to openly acknowledge it and to educate others. Instead of being silent about my own past abuse, I use it to let others know that they are not alone and can also heal. It is through silence that child abuse has been allowed to continue and flourish for so long and become an epidemic in our world.

Someone suggested to me this week that writing and talking about the incest can keep me trapped into identifying with the past situation and keep me stuck in my story. She suggested that I close that book and that I write a whole new story.  

Why would I want to disconnect from who I am? My story is a big part of who I am. My life is a story of success and others have told me, of inspiration. Why would I not want to share that with others who are hurting and think they can't ever get over it. I know that they can, with time and effort on their part. Sometimes you have to hurt enough before you are willing to move forward.

Incest isn't all of who I am. Everything that happens to me affects who I am. I don't know who I would be without the incest. I don't ever intend to shut up about incest and how it affected me as a child. 

If we don't educate people, who will. The child molesters will continue to abuse more children. Abusers thrive in the silence. They count on the silence of those that they abuse. They count on the subject to continue to be taboo in society. The silence gives them free reign to do what they want. I refuse to be silenced again.


Mary Graziano said...

So true, Pat, we as incest survivors move on, and we won't be silenced. We have to reach out to others, be a voice for others who aren't strong enough to come forward. Hugs Pat. Love you <3

Debbie said...

So very true Patricia! If survivors don't speak up and tell their stories then the ones out there that are abusing get to go right on abusing and the ones closing their eyes to it will keep on tucking the secrets away too. The more its talked about in the opened the more people get use to hearing and talking about it and the more awareness is spread. What is good for one survivor might not be good for another and that's ok too. But if you are one that can handle telling your story over and over to help spread awareness, please do, please don't ever stop doing so! Our world needs your voice!

Patricia Singleton said...

Mary, Thank you. (((Hugs))) and love you too, my friend.

Patricia Singleton said...

Debbie, Thank you. Yes, the more of us that speak out about abuse and act to stop it, the more children we can protect. Our numbers are growing and so needed. I am encouraged by all of the new voices that I find each week.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Patricia, it raises my hackles when others try to put a timeline on someone's healing from trauma. Forgiveness is a concept that is appropriate for some things but when you've been violated in a way that scrapes the bottom of your soul, no one can say what your experience should be in moving forward. It is possible to move forward while still healing, as you so eloquently show in all your posts. The real moving forward has to include educating others and prevention efforts, and it doesn't happen without pain. Otherwise nothing will change. You teach others more about courage and moving forward by your actions and your commitment to ending abuse. I am thankful that you have chosen to move forward in the way that is honest and is completely your own. Keep on.

Patricia Singleton said...

Alene, Thank you, my friend. You have been here almost from the beginning of my blog. I always appreciate your words of support. Your words let me know that I am accomplishing my goal. (((Hugs))))

Colleen said...

Patricia, amen, amen. We cannot stop talking about it. Our talking about it is what keeps the light on it. Child sexual abuse operates in the dark and in secrecy. We cant shut up.
I don't shut up either. I may not be blogging about it much any more but, I still talk about it, give witness talks about it and write about it occasionally on my Catholic blog. And I am still selling my book, a little here and there.
Keep talking Patricia!!

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, What a great surprise to see you here. Thank you & I agree. We have to speak up if we want to stop child abuse. Our numbers are growing.

Susan Komisar Hausman said...

When I felt able to begin sharing my story with those I trusted most, one of those same people, immediately after expressing her empathy, stated "just don't make it all you're about." I was floored, and angry, and told her it would be as it needed to be. I also recognized, thanks to a healing road that even at that point had been filled with rich support, awareness and compassion, that her issues with my story, my life and how I embrace it, are hers alone. That awareness, in that circumstance and beyond, freed me.
You are so right on that without those who speak truth we will never change our culture to one that does not tolerate abuse. You are so right that the abusers count on the silence and discomfort.
Great post. Thank you for sharing.

Patricia Singleton said...

Susan, You are very welcome. Yes, people who have issues with us sharing our story do have their own issues. Those people don't have any idea how hard it was to start to share our stories after being silent for so long because of the fears that we lived with when we were being abused and even afterwards. Only another survivor truly understands the courage that sharing takes. I am so grateful for your support and the support of so many others. Thank you.