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Guest post by Amy Graver
I am pushing ever forwards, towards healing and hope drives me ever onwards in this journey. Gone now is my victim mentality, that once dictated to us who we were. I discovered that I was held back and dominated by it; Victim was more than just a word, it had defined who I was all of my childhood, and throughout my teens, stretching out way into my adulthood. I was held back from recovery by the very fact that I saw myself as a victim: Somebody who was to be pitied, someone to be crushed; walked on, used, and abused. I wore an invisible sign above my head that said “come and use me, hurt me, etc, you will anyway.” But not anymore that old patterned way of being and thinking has gone. An inner strength has replaced all of that.
I am another step closer to healing now, I am not yet there, but now I know that one day I will be at the top of the mountain. The journey hasn`t always been easy, far from it in fact, but it has certainly been worth it so far. I have met some lovely people along the way, both survivors and therapists. The survivors that I have met at various training events that I have attended have been some of the loveliest, most genuine, and courageous people that I have met, yes we have DID, but that makes us all the more interesting, and I am so very grateful for their insight, and just for having met them.
I can finally look back now and see how far we have come and each victory (however small) that I have attained. I have learned so much along the way, for example that life is not all black and white, and that people are not all good or all bad, they are a mixture of both. As for my life now I am making a life worth living. Learning that it is fine to enjoy life, life is not all doom and gloom as we once thought it was, it is not dark and dreary and without hope, there is so much hope for healing, and recovery. I know that now. So I am a survivor and no longer a victim! I refuse to let our abusers win. I am stronger now than way back then, I am changing old patterned ways of being and thinking.
Now I can finally say “Wow! I have come so far, I have learned so much, well-done me for doing that.” A friend once told me that we needed to be less harsh on ourselves and start learning to praise ourselves for how well we are doing, and I hope that she will be pleased that I am now able to do that. I am grateful to her for her insight on my life; it has impacted upon it in a hugely positive way, and has enabled us to move forwards in our healing with a newfound positivity. That same friend also enabled me to look at and challenge my black and white thinking, and the way in which we were relating to the world, and in how we related to others, I have now changed all of that, and it feels like a huge weight has lifted. I am so glad that she was totally honest with me, because honesty is in my view always the best policy. I may not have known it at the time, but now I do.
It feels so good to no longer be a victim, and I am learning to draw off the strength inside of me, a strength that enabled us to survive all of these years. That strength is within all survivors, born out of an innate need for survival. It may not feel like it is there, but I have seen it within many survivors. My wish and hope for others who have been sexually abused is that they too will use that strength to drive them forwards on their own healing journeys. Now in saying that I am not saying it is always easy, far from it. I do know how hard it can be, I too have a way to go before I am on the last leg of the journey up the steep mountain that leads to total healing or recovery, and I know only too well that it can be two steps forward and two steps back at times, but that is the nature of DID. But one day it will be two steps forward and one back, and so on and so forth until the top of that rhetorical mountain is reached.
I now keep the pinnacle of it always in my sight, I know now with a deep conviction that it is attainable. And now instead of thinking “Look how far I still have to go!” I now say to myself “You have come so far, conquered so much, keep on climbing” I refuse now to let our abusers have the victory and hold over me that they once did, we owe it to ourselves to relinquish that hold over us they once usurped, we need to take back the strength that the abusers stole from us so many years ago. And that is exactly what I am doing now, taking the power they once usurped over me and not allowing it to dictate to me any longer. I am not weak; I am not powerless now I can fight back. I can say “no” to my old patterned behaviour and thinking, because with them I impeded my own recovery; I was stuck, not moving forwards. I refuse now to be held back from moving forwards. Only I could change all of that, no one else could change the way in which I related to others, or the world around me. No one else could change my skewed ideology. I no longer look to other people to be the solution to my problems, they cannot be and I realise now that it was so unfair of me to want, need or expect them to be. I am more upbeat than I ever was before. The abusers have not won.
I will move ever forwards now, I owe it to not just myself, but also to the child I once was. And I couldn`t do it for her then, but I can now, finally I can have compassion for her and love her as she should have been loved. I am no longer angry with her, she does not deserve my anger, she was not to blame, so at long last I do not blame her, and I now can hold her in my arms and say to her “I am sorry I love you now.” With that alone there has been so much healing, and a huge release of locked up anger… misdirected anger at a little one who was not strong.
I am sharing this in the hope that it will help other survivors to see that there is hope, and maybe to help them to have more compassion towards themselves, and their selves. You were not to blame. You too posses an inner strength, you are survivors. You are not alone for others share this journey with you, towards recovery and healing and hope.
Amy is a survivor who believes that there is hope for survivors of CSA. She has DID but is moving ever closer towards healing and hope. You can follow her on Twitter @amygraver1.
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