Today I’m thinking about my fellow survivors…from those of you who are still being abused, to those who have left your abusers, but still find yourselves shell-shocked and confused, to those who are actively healing, and those for whom abuse is but a footnote in your lives.
Sometimes a survivor will say something that always shocks me, and that is that their abuse was a gift. It’s not my place to judge how any other survivors handle their experiences, but I myself have never thought this way, not even for a second (see? We don’t all handle things the same, and that’s okay). It isn’t the abuse itself but my response to it and the responses I see from so many others, that I view as a gift. The hand we’re dealt, is not our fault or responsibility, but how we play it, belongs to us.
The challenge I want to set out for survivors this holiday season is that if you are struggling with a narrative of being damaged or broken by your abuse experience, that you begin to find a way to re-author that story. I know that abuse has cost me many things that I can never get back, and I cannot pretend that it didn’t influence and shape my life. However, I view my own story as one of resilience rather than brokenness. God knows I have my difficult moments, but for the most part, I believe that I’ve come out on the other side of my abuse experience. On a bad day, while some part of me may fear that I’m broken or damaged, or that others judge me for being abused, that isn’t the loudest voice. I know that despite the fact that I was abused, I am whole, loving, hardworking, and resilient. My healing continues every day that I do.
Re-write your story, survivors. Whether it’s only for yourself in your journal, whether you tell it to your therapist, write a book, or tell your story in front of a supportive group of people, get that story out of your head. If you want to tell it anonymously online, feel free to send it to me, and I will post it, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending you all so much love and support during this holiday season.