Saturday, March 23, 2013

Helping Survivors Of Abuse Want To Change

I am approached occasionally by survivors who say they want help in changing their lives. For those survivors, I offer words of encouragement and hope. I listen. Listening is often all that is needed. I have also learned not to give advice. Most people don't want advice. They want someone to listen to their story and to validate their feelings. That is good. You all have your own answers anyway.

I belong to several support groups online. I love these groups because they offer me love and encouragement. Occasionally, not often, I will get discouraged with someone who says they want help, who says they want to change and the reality is that they just want to wallow in self-pity and they want an audience to do it. Self-pity is good, in that it helps you get in touch with your feelings, but it is not good when you stay there and do nothing to move forward. The "oh poor me's" don't help you heal. They keep you stuck in the hurting. Some people enjoy that hurting because it brings them attention from others. Some people equate any attention at all with love, even negative attention. That is not love.

If you are in a bad relationship, look at why you are staying. Is it fear of being alone, fear of the unknown? Is the pain you are feeling worth you staying? If the answer is no, then it is time for change. If you aren't tired of hurting, continue as you are. I can't change anything for you. You must be willing to make the necessary changes yourself, or not, as you choose. I can't change anything for you and I won't waste your time or mine trying. Change can only come from you. I will love you enough to let you make your own decisions. If you stay, I won't be there to watch your pain but I will be here if you ever change your mind and decide that you have value and deserve better.

You have to want and work toward having a better life. It is okay to wallow in self-pity for a little while but if you want to be happy, you have to change your attitude and learn to love yourself. I know that is easier said than done. I also know you can do it. I have.

For me, for years, I was stubborn and was so afraid of the unknown and change of any kind. The more afraid I was, the more controlling I became. I wasn't willing to change until I hurt enough that I would do anything to change. I didn't have a bad relationship with my husband. I had a bad relationship with me. I hated myself because of the shame and self-blame of the incest. When I hurt enough, I was then ready for change. The point in sharing this with you is to show you that I am not telling you anything that I haven't done myself.

I worked really hard first with self-improvement books and then finally when the world opened up and more people started talking and writing about child sexual abuse, my real healing from incest started. The work to change wasn't easy. Years of hard work were involved. I went from hating and blaming myself for the incest to knowing it wasn't my fault and I could let go of the shame. I found myself paying attention to the people that said they liked me and loved me. I wondered why? I tried to see me as others saw me. I decided if they liked me maybe I could too. I found books to read about learning to love myself. Once I started to love myself by using affirmations and getting to know my inner children, I grew rapidly.

Today I know and love myself and I know that you can too. I want the best for you but what I want isn't important. You have to want it for yourself. You are worth love just as I am. If you are unhappy with your current situation or relationship, you are the only one that can do something about changing your life. I hope you will take a chance on you. I am here if you need me.

If you are wondering what books I read that made such a difference in my life, here is the link to those books:

Resources For An Incest Survivor And Adult Children Of Dysfunctional Families:


Vigabo said...

Love this post Patricia. You and I are so totally on the same page when it comes to really wanting to change your situation and simply wanting sympathy and feeling sorry for yourself. Well done my friend. Must share this post to our group at SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER INCEST I hope those who really need to read your wise words do!

Patricia Singleton said...

Cruiseroo, Thank you, I appreciate your comment here & for you sharing with others. We want to help others to grow & stop hurting but not everybody is ready.

El Phoenix said...

I agree in a big way. The victim mentality feels shitty. It's important to face your past of course! But you must be learning tools that will help you find happiness as well.

Patricia Singleton said...

El, thank you & welcome to my blog. Yes, as we heal & move forward the ultimate goal should be happiness.

Unknown said...

Patricia, this is so so true, thank you for this. Moving forward is the key here, and for those that don't want to move forward, then there is nothing we can do to help. <3 love you

Patricia Singleton said...

Mary, you are so welcome, my dear friend. Love you too.

James said...

Excellent post Patricia. If you ever wanted to submit a guest post on our blog, your writing is amazing and we would love to publish it. Thanks.

Patricia Singleton said...

James, thank you. I will think about the writing.