Saturday, 15 September 2012
Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow #childabuse #survivors
As a male survivor and someone who has suffered with depression most of my adult life I know how easy it is to give up hope for a better future. That better future can be ours, but it's not handed to us on a plate. We have to firstly put the past where it belongs.. The past cannot be changed, undone or forgotten but it's affects on our present and future can be controlled.
I used to block out big chunks of my own past, I even changed scenarios to make them less threatening. It's only when I took the past by the horns and shook it really hard that the truth came out and I was able to handle it. I kept the control, I decided where to place the various memories. The past no longer frightens me or controls me.
Though I am still in therapy I see clearly that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is my future. This article by Steve Bevan of AMSOSA is also very enlightening. It's easy to think that we will never have a "normal" life and that we will never become unbroken. but we can and we will.
Take back control of your life, want to have a better tomorrow, have faith in your own ability to survive and thrive. Never lose hope!
All too often, we tend to spend too much time looking back on the abuse we have already survived, and instead of living our lives, we give the past too much importance over who we are now, as opposed to what and who we were when abused.
Why listen to someone who has not experienced what you have and believe what they tell you? If they are fully experienced in working with male survivors, by all means listen and talk to them, but don't allow anyone else to try and convince you that you were bad, complicit, wrong, dirty, or whatever negatives that tend to throw your way, because they have no idea how you think and feel.
This confusion often occurs because we are told or ill informed that the abuse defines us, but in reality it does not, as we were victims of sexual abuse or rape, but from day one, we became survivors and thrivors of sexual abuse and rape.
So how to get beyond that and start to feel better about who you are?
Understand the grief process that is involved in recovery and know that it is possible to get through the trauma's that you currently feel and experience.
Denial, shock, horror, pain, guilt, fears etc, are all common parts of the recovery process, but will diminish as time goes past.
Don't be afraid to say whatever is clouding your mind.
There is not an original act of abuse that has been done to you, just your version, so it has been heard before, and there should be no guilt or shame attached to what you need to say, in order to recover.
If you hold back, and keep the secrets that are not yours to keep, it will prevent your healing and keep you locked in shock and denial.
Break that barrier and you will see that hope is possible and that life is waiting. Don't buy into the bullshit version that life is just an existence, just live your life!
Get some help and support!
Although one to one counselling is of great benefit and allows you to build up trust and often say things you would never usually say, group therapy, listening and speaking to others, greatly enhances your recovery and allows you to see that you are really not alone, and never were.
If therapy or counselling sounds 'new age' and not for you, remember that it is just another form of talking, and if still thinking that sounds strange, why do untold hundreds of millions of people daily go to places of worship, asking their god for help?
Go gentle on yourself and be aware that times and places could trigger you, so avoid those times and places by putting coping skills to work, and getting some support to help you through the bad times, until they become manageable by yourself.
Avoid judging yourself badly. We all make mistakes, and if you continue to blame yourself for what happened to you, and what you may have done when sexually abused, that will prevent your healing, so ease up on the hard act and be gentle with yourself too.
Maybe those times and places will always trigger you, and if so, avoid them at all costs, even if that means losing friends or family. What cost do you out on your happiness, when it is you that counts, not anyone else, because until you count, no one else will either.
Sit and wait for the new 'normal' to arrive, which it will do, but undoing all the damage that has been done, and some of which was created by yourself, as a coping skill at the time, needs to be worked on, and once that is done, you will start to feel normal again, but in a new way and safer way too, and eventually you will begin to accept what is instead of looking back.
Grieving the past can often be an a drawn out stage, but it is one that you can come back from, so keep looking forward, not backwards, because if you look back, the past could trip you up and may cause you to react in bad ways, so whilst being aware of the past, avoid the past in all ways, as it does not define who you are now.
Please do not copy or use this article without permission from Steve Bevan of AMSOSA, all AMSOSA articles on this blog are copyright.