The road to healing from trauma stemming from sexual abuse is a long, winding, pothole-ridden dirt path perched on the side of a rocky cliff hanging precariously over crashing waves. It’s tough to navigate and it’s scary as hell.
Processing trauma through therapy isn’t for the faint at heart. Reliving and working through painful memories is incredibly difficult. But there’s hope for healing and that’s encouragement enough for me to continue pushing through the pain.
Therapy is tough, but it’s making me a better person. Reminding me of my strength and so much more.
Things I’ve Learned In Therapy
I am brave
It takes a great deal of courage to work through trauma. Sorting through my painful past is no easy feat. Sometimes I walk into my therapist’s office afraid to put in the work because it’s emotionally overwhelming. But, it’s necessary to the healing process so I do my best to push through. Because my ultimate hope is to heal from those painful memories.
Medication can’t heal the devastating effects of trauma
I made a grave mistake, in the beginning, thinking medication would heal my wounds. While it takes the edge off my depression and helps me to function, it does nothing to ease the pain caused by sexual abuse.
As traumatic as surviving childhood sexual abuse was, in the end it didn’t kill me. I survived that shit.
It’s okay that I wasn’t able to fight back
I’ll never forget the eye opening moment my therapist told me that fight or flight was, in essence, complete bullshit. No one ever gives credence to freezing in place, my body’s instinctual reaction to the abuse. I learned that fight, flight or freezing are all normal reactions and our bodies respond as best as they know how. I truly believe that freezing in place kept me safe at the time and prevented the abuse from further escalating.
I’m worth protecting
I wish someone had told me, when I came forward about the abuse, that what had had happened was not okay. Instead I was met with the words, you need to forgive him. The lack of outrage and horror sent a horrible message that the abuse didn’t matter as much as my father’s belief that forgiveness was to be had.
I have a right to be angry
Nothing came of my coming forward. Justice wasn’t served. My abuser lived into his 90’s without repercussions. I was angry about that. I’m still angry to this day. And I have every right to feel this way.