Sexual Abuse Survivor - Is There Hope?
If you are a sexual abuse survivor, you have survived a terrible ordeal and are perhaps looking for some understanding and some peace of mind. I do not have all the answers, but I am a sexual abuse survivor and I can identify with the feelings you are experiencing. I have finally found peace of mind and I would like to share with you some thoughts on how to overcome this unimaginable pain.
Do you know why you're a survivor? Some may call it fate, survival of the fittest, mental or emotional fortitude, or divine intervention. What is it for you?
Sexual Abuse Survivor - Accepting The Past
Sexual abuse survival involves accepting the past abuse - facing the fact that it happened. No matter what type of sexual abuse (whether incest or a by stranger) or how tragic its consequences, acceptance of the past is vital. Accepting the past is an essential step toward not only surviving, but to overcoming.
Examine your past, with a trained professional, if possible. Look at how you coped with the abuse while it was occurring.
Sexual Abuse Survivor - Living In The Present
If you're a sexual abuse survivor, how are things going now? As a survivor myself (incest/homosexual activities by my grandfather), I confess that I struggle with the effects of sexual abuse - feelings of anger, hatred, sadness, guilt, and shame toward my abuser and indirectly toward myself. Sometimes these feelings and thoughts can get in the way, interfering with other relationships. As a sexual abuse survivor, do you experience similar feelings? Do you ever wonder why me, what did I ever do to deserve the abuse? If so, you are not alone.
Unfortunately, these feelings and thoughts do not magically disappear. From personal experience and from talking with other adult survivors of sexual abuse, I've discovered we share and exhibit similar thoughts and feelings, yet struggle to find an outlet. As a survivor, I simply want to be heard and understood. I want someone I can identify with. I want to be told that I am okay. When a person has been abused sexually, thoughts like I'm not ok and I will never be okay seem to become ingrained in the psyche. In addition, there are often problems with self-acceptance, guilt, condemnation, feelings of never measuring up, and so on. Those feelings are incorrect. We are okay, and we can live a life of victory!
A proactive approach to dealing with past abuse involves getting help and taking an introspective look at what happened. Tragically, many sexual abuse survivors choose to avoid help. The confusion of unresolved sexual abuse can lead some people to go from victim to perpetrator. Or the survivor learns to cope through self-abuse, like drugs and alcohol or develops an addiction to sex or pornography. Many abuse survivors believe they cannot get past what happened to them.
If the abuse came from the same sex, this may unfortunately lead to later interaction with same sex. If the abuse was perpetrated by someone of the opposite sex, such as a father and daughter, the daughter often seeks to fill this void through promiscuity. She is really looking for love, and has learned that she will find it through sexual activity. Of course, she does not find love, but heartache and sometimes more abuse or even disease. These lies can only lead to shattered hearts and lives.
If the need or void is not dealt with proactively, the abuse often survives in the survivor. Shadows of the abuse live on in various forms, because the abuse victim looks for satisfaction in the wrong ways or places. Having never known genuine love, the abuse survivor can only imitate love in return.
Is there a way to overcome the past? I believe there is. Let's take a look at some possible solutions for healing sexual abuse.