Sunday, October 7, 2012

Healing From Incest Takes Time

Healing from childhood sexual abuse takes time and much effort on your part and you are worth both. The most important step is learning to love yourself. Most incest victims hate and blame themselves for their abuse. Know that the blame and shame belong to your abusers, not to the child you were then or to the adult you are now. Love both your inner child and the adult that you have become. You are both survivors. Many children don't survive. If you survived, you can heal.

Learn to trust yourself and a few close friends with your story of incest. Telling is more than okay. Your healing depends upon telling someone else the many secrets that you were forced to keep by your abusers. Don't tell just anyone. Tell someone that you trust. You may not trust anyone because of your abuse. In your childhood, you couldn't trust those who were closest to you, if like with me, they were your abusers. Trust is a very big issue and one that you need to do very carefully. Sadly, the world is full of people that you shouldn't trust with your story and your vulnerability. As an adult, there are abusers who will instintively pick up that you are vulnerable and will take advantage if you give them the chance. Believe your heart and your gut when you get signals to run away from these people. This is one reason why learning to trust yourself and your intuition are so important. Really listen to your body. I know how hard that is if you disconnected from your body as a child in order to survive the pain of incest. I also know from my own experience that you can learn to reconnect. Be patient and kind with yourself as you learn to do this. You are blessed to live in a time when many resources are available for your use.

Trust a few close friends with your story or, if it is easier, trust a roomful of strangers, like I did, in 12-Step programs. Those people weren't strangers for long. They totally accepted me and my story of incest.  Today I thank God that my dad was an alcoholic. I was able to find out how I was affected by the family disease of alcoholism and had taken on the characteristics of both of my parents but I also found a safe place to talk about the incest. I talked and talked and talked until I started to feel and the hurt started to leave. Talk as much as you can until the abuse is talked out of your body and mind. Some people will think you are stuck in the memories and will possibly wish you would just shut up. Don't shut up and don't trust those people.  Most people don't realize that you were silenced for so long that you can't let the hurt and anger go with just a few words and wishes. You have to work at and talk your way through the healing process. Writing helps too if you are a writer like me. You are worth whatever it takes to heal. Find a counselor or therapist that will listen and help you work through your pain. Don't settle for just any therapist. Not all are trained to help incest survivors. A therapist that doesn't know what they are doing can do more harm rather than helping you. Sometimes you just don't click with that person. Find a therapist that you can trust and feel safe sharing your story with.

Find others who can love you until you can love yourself. Surround yourself with people who will support you through the long journey to healing. Some won't stay for very long. Those who do will be your true friends. If you trust the wrong person with your story and get hurt by them. Let go of them and move on. Don't stay in an abusive relationship. You do not deserve to be revictimized by anyone. You couldn't do anything about the abuse you suffered as a child. As an adult, you can choose to say no to abuse of any kind and leave if the other person doesn't. Don't trust everyone with yourself or with your story. You deserve to be believed. If others can't treat you with respect and kindness, leave them behind. Move forward into your healing.

As I said before, trust your intuition which will tell you who is trustworthy and who isn't. Start with trusting yourself. Be kind and compassionate with yourself first. Start to listen to your inner voice that has your best interest at heart. Don't listen to any critical inner voices that you got from your parents or abusers. Learn to tune them out. Critical inner voices don't have your best interest at heart. Being critical of yourself is just carrying on the shame that your abusers passed on to you. Don't shame and blame yourself. Being responsible for your own actions is not the same as blaming and shaming. Feeling guilty for making a mistake is not the same as feeling shame because you were taught that you are the mistake. You are not a mistake, now or ever. That is the abuser speaking. Don't listen to that crap any more. You are worthy and lovable. Love yourself and heal. You are worth it.


Unknown said...

A family of four in which all four ppl are involved in incest ie husband,wife, son and daughter. The daughter marries a person and cheats her and bears son of his brother ... Is there any way can they come out of this heinous incest and how?

Patricia Singleton said...

Rajesh Nair, thank you for your question. There are no simple answers to this problem. The past can't be changed. Don't punish the child for the sins of the mother. The child did nothing wrong and had no choice in who parented him/her. You can stop the incest by not forwarding it on through this child.

For healing to take place the people with the incest issues each have to do their own work of healing. The older ones may not want to change because it is all they have ever known. Do not let any of the people involved sexually abuse this young child. That is the first step in stopping incest. Don't pass it on.

If counseling from a trained professional can be gotten by the incest survivors, do that. Educate yourself about incest and its after effects. Plenty of resources are available now in book form and online.

Healing can happen but it can also take a long time. As my last two posts have stated, there are no instant fixes for incest, especially if it is a generational relationship like this family.

If you have any other questions, please reach out again to me or someone else. You have had the courage to speak out, please continue to speak out so that other children are not incested too.

Julie Corrine said...

Thank you for your bold honesty. Your words refresh my souls as I have also been abused as a child and had an alcoholic for a dad. I am healing as we speak and everyday is a new experience for me to grow as a woman. You have a great way of expressing yourself. Thanks for sharing your gift.

Also my favorite book is also the sacred self by Wayne Dyer. He actually live ten minutes from my house:) universe is funny:)

Patricia Singleton said...

Julie, you are very welcome. After so many years of living the lies of incest, honest is the only way I want to live my life. Lies don't help anybody but the abusers of the world.

I do love Sacred Self by Wayne Dyer. I have read it twice. I grew each time that I read the book. Have a glorious life. I know that healing can make that possible. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. Something I needed to read and be reminded of. The healing road is such a long one or at least it is for me and I feel stuck at the moment. I am trying to not give up and just hang in until something gives and things start to improve. Thank you for the encouragement.

Patricia Singleton said...

Behind the Smile, you are very welcome. Glad my words could give you some comfort. Once the healing started I had so much grieving and so much anger to work my way through. I am glad that I don't carry either of those around on my shoulders any more. Have a great weekend.

Dana said...

You are so right about being careful who you share your story with. Some people are just not compassionate or understanding whatsoever and it can set you back if they condemn you for your feelings. I even had a counselor who just did not understand. She did do more harm than good for me. I am having to undo what she taught me. Geez!

Thank God the people who truly mattered (my mom and brother) were extremely understanding, but some others have not.

Thank you so much for your blog. It's really amazing.

Patricia Singleton said...

Dana, welcome to Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker. You are very welcome.

It is important to me to provide resources for other survivors so that we all know we are not alone in this journey of healing. That is one of the reasons that I share my story of incest.

Not all counselors are trained to know how to work with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Also if you can't trust that counselor then you won't share deep enough to do any real healing. Not all counselors are healthy either.

Many people become counselors because of a subsconscious desire to heal their own issues. That was why I became a foster parent. In working with the children, I hoped to heal myself. It was only after I quit being a foster parent that I realized that I had to heal myself first.