Unless you value and respect someone’s opinion, throw that crap out the door.
DO NOT let ANYONE get you down or get in your way while in pursuit of your dreams! You deserve the best and TOXIC people do not deserve you, your time, or your energy. the tough stuff to the only Judge. 😉 Misery loves company, so refuse to join the ones who are miserable. The best thing to do is pray for their healing. It’s actually very simple. “Anger is simply a result of deep rooted pain.” -Lail Ann Haynes
People who try to hurt you are in serious pain over something and that pain very well may not even be related to YOU. They just think you are an easy target. Show them you aren’t and OWN that you are better than to be brought down to their level!
An article found at http://www.committedtofreedom.org/abuse.html to help readers understand survivors. It is very difficult for most to look beyond their own experiences and understand everyone is so very different and has their own very special, personal journey through life. Enjoy the resources I am sharing below.
Recognizing and identifying patterns caused by abuse.
Abuse has a way of controlling your life. It does a lot of damage, even if you don’t think it was “that big of a deal.” All abuse (physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual) is worthy of being addressed.
There are many excellent resources to help you take the first steps toward freedom. You may feel anxious, as if you need to find something to help you right now. The best place to begin is at the beginning.
First, it is important for you to know that you are normal! Abuse is what is NOT normal. You have been intimately wounded. Everyone responds differently, but there seem to be certain feelings and experiences that are common among survivors:
Isolation or loneliness. That terrible sensation that no one understands you… no one “gets it.” You may feel like an alien visitor from another planet, as if you’ve been dropped to earth with no preparation to live here. Many of us (abuse survivors) feel very alone, even in a crowded room or around people we live with and love. That sense of isolation exists because abuse taught you to be silent, to carry your secrets and experiences by yourself. The shame, fear, and guilt attached to the abuse energize the isolation. Because of the twisted nature of sexual abuse and the dysfunctional relationships that many of us grew up with, we have no sense of what “normal” is. You may socialize well and know what to do, but there is often a huge lonely ache inside that no one else can see. Intimacy is terrifying for an abuse survivor. It is one of the many broken places that remains long after the abuse ends.
Sexual confusion or dysfunction. Sexual abuse is not only abuse, it is also sexual. Your abusers became your sexual mentors. They taught you to perform, to lie, to devalue or degrade yourself, and to connect abnormal sexual experiences with normal longings for intimacy and touch. Many of us have a strong sense that our bodies betrayed us because we experienced pleasure or gained something because of the abuse. As a result, we, as sexual beings, approach our sexuality and sexual experiences with confusion. It feels as if everything in life is about sex. This is true on both ends of the sexual spectrum. If you are a sex addict and constantly crave risk-taking, degrading sexual experiences, it’s all about sex. On the other end, if you are repulsed by sex, avoid sexual experiences and despise your own sexuality, it is still all about sex.
Sexual abuse survivors struggle to accept touch without associating it with sex. Sex is frequently used as a way to either avoid intimacy or express rage or power (either by withholding or giving). Sexual abuse survivors frequently have problems experiencing orgasm, even when they willingly participate in sex. Often, we do not know what to do with the “sexual ache” that drives us into sexual relationships or experiences. Once sex begins, it becomes very confusing as your mind, spirit and body cease to work together. Then pleasure, gratification, or fulfillment seem lost in the chaos. You and your partner frequently end up using, wounding, or abandoning each other because the lessons of abuse are so deeply rooted in you.
Anger management problems. Rage is a frequent problem for abuse survivors. It is generally expressed in one of three ways. Some people lash out at other people, using their anger to control circumstances. Others keep it inside and beat themselves up, instead. And some people do both – lash out at others and rage at themselves. This anger stems from deep hurt, extreme frustration, or fear. To control the anger (either internally or externally) can be exhausting. Frequently, survivors feel so overwhelmed that they give up even trying to manage it.
Body image and treatment. Most of us have concluded that our bodies are the enemy – something to be treated harshly or without respect. We don’t necessarily do this at a conscious level, but we express it with our lifestyles. We either eat too much, too quickly, or we starve ourselves. Some of us abuse drugs or alcohol. Perhaps you hurt yourself with self-inflicted wounds or work so much that you are beyond exhaustion. Many of us feel completely disconnected from our bodies and never pay attention to our body language. We don’t know if we’re hungry or tired; in pain or pleasure; we are well-practiced at ignoring or silencing our physical needs. You may push and push and push yourself, or numb yourself with food, drugs or sex. As you journey toward freedom, you must understand that your body did not betray you; your abuser(s) betrayed you.
Ineffective expression of needs or longings. Abuse teaches you that your needs, longings and opinions do not matter (at least not to your abusers). Abuse changes the way you express yourself. Many of us struggle to express our true needs or longings. We cloak our desires because of the pain experienced when those longings were mishandled by others. At the same time, those needs and longings still exist and beg to be heard. Perhaps your need to be held as a child was frequently met at the expense of abuse, so you learned to hate what you needed. But the dilemma remains: You still have needs and longings. Because of this inner conflict, desires are often expressed in ineffective or destructive ways. We alienate people through unreasonable demands, silence, or abusive manipulation. Learning to balance the pressure of unmet needs with effective expression and respect are challenges that survivors must confront.
“Escape” mentality. When you were abused, you had to find a way to cope. Many of us learned to escape, mentally, by “checking out” of reality and entering a self-created fantasy world in order to avoid truth. This coping mechanism established patterns of living that are no longer serving you well. Rather than embracing life and doing the hard work of taking ownership of who you are, you use trusted escape routes that have alienated you from relationships, career, school, or God. You may wrap a cocoon of sleep, TV, work, drugs, books, video games, etc., around you to avoid life and people. This may feel safe to you, but you may place yourself in situations that are harmful or self-defeating because you are so unaware of what’s going on. It is a challenge to remain focused on reality in order to make good decisions or take healthy actions.
Damaged spirit. Abuse rips apart the spiritual life of a survivor. The very thing that God placed in us to connect, spiritually, is detached or re-wired to create a sense of meaningless existence or hopelessness. Even if you have pursued a relationship with God, there may be an underlying struggle to feel spiritually alive. Repairing the spiritual damage caused by abuse is an integral part of the journey toward wholeness. It is full of difficult questions and an intimate sense of betrayal. At the same time, in the core of your heart, is a hunger for something better, for something bigger than the cruelty, perversion and evil you experienced through abuse. It is this hunger that propels many of us to re-establish the broken connection with God. In the face of all that is wrong, there is a tiny flicker of God’s love that begs to be fanned into a flame of spiritual vitality. Ultimately, evil can motivate us to pursue something better – to pursue faith, hope and love.
Questions. Abuse burns tough questions into the souls of its victims. Why is there evil? Why do bad things happen to innocent children? Where was God, and why wasn’t I protected? Where were my protectors – mother, father, family and friends? Do I really want out of my angst, or do I want to remain a victim where I know the rules of engagement? Why can’t I remember big parts of my childhood? How do I move beyond what was done to me? When will the pain and chaos end?
These are only a few of the questions you will probably ask at some point in your journey toward wholeness. They are questions that are worthy of thoughtful exploration. Some questions will receive a satisfactory answer. Others will never be adequately answered: It is both the glory and the frustration of breaking free from the past. The ultimate question you must ask yourself is this: Am I a cynic or a seeker? Do I really want to find solutions or do I want to cross my arms in stubborn determination to remain unchanged?
The process of moving beyond your abuse involves an exchange.
You will need to exchange the lies that abuse taught you about yourself, the world and God, for truth.
Truth about your worth.
Truth that yes, there is evil, but there is also good in the world.
Truth that spiritual wholeness is not a fantasy, it is the reality of relationship with God.
This is a long, difficult process, but it is not an impossible one.
Committed to Freedom Ministries, © 2004 – 2006 Sallie Culbreth, Founder and Executive Director
Information below found at: http://themightyphoenix.webs.com/survivorsofincestinfo.htm
Adult Survivors of Incest Information Sheet
Incest is a betrayal of trust through sexual activity between biological or marital relatives. It manifests either in the form of a “consensual” relationship, as with a brother and sister, or in the more common form of non-consensual abuse. Further, incest offenders project their sexual expression both overtly and covertly by means of inappropriate touching, verbal seduction, abuse, objectification, intercourse, sodomy, direct threats and implied threats.
Perpetrators of incest are both men and women, although the majority is men. Both girls and boys are victimized, with the majority of victims being girls. Perpetrators may include: grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters. Incest cuts across lines of race and class. Incestuous abuse may start as early in a child’s life as a few months old and may last throughout the teen years and into adulthood.
* 4.5% of women report an incestuous experience with fathers or stepfathers before the age of 18. 4.9% of women report an incestuous experience with an uncle before the age of 18 (The Secret Trauma, Diana Russell, Basic Books, 1986).
* A random survey of 2,627 women and men conducted by the Los Angeles Times found that 27% of the women and 16% of the men had been incestuously abused as children (By Silence Betrayed, John Crewsdon, Little Brown, 1988).
* When incest occurs between siblings, 26% of the cases are same sex, with 16% between brothers and 10% between sisters (Healing the Incest Wound, Christine Courtois, Norton Professional Books, 1988).
* African Americans are victimized in childhood at the same rates as Caucasians. They report being more severely abused with greater use of force. African American girls are more often abused by relatives other than their fathers; often the offender is an uncle (“The Long-Term Effects of Incestuous Abuse: A Comparison of African American and White American Victims,” Diana Russell, et al. Lasting Effects of Child Sexual Abuse, ed. By Gail E. Wyatt, Sage Publications, 1988).
* 66% of all prostitutes were sexually abused as children. 66% of sexually abused prostitutes were abused by fathers, step-fathers or foster fathers. (“Treatment of Prostitution Victims of Sexual Abuse,” Mimi Silbert, Victims of Sexual Aggression, ed. By Irving Stuart and Joanne Greer, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984).
* 68% of incest incidents take place in the victims home (Russell, 1986).
* Men abuse children with greater frequency than women do. 95% of sexual abuse of girls and 80% of sexual abuse of boys is committed by men (Courtois, 1988).
Incest is an experience which affects a survivor’s life in many ways. The following is only a partial list of possible aftereffects survivors may experience for years into their adult life:
* Low self-esteem
* Self-blame, guilt
* Vulnerability toward revictimization
* Difficulty sustaining relationships and building trust
* Alcohol or drug problems
* Anxiety, the need for control in relationships
* Post-traumatic stress reactions
* Eating disorders
* Self – Injury
* Dissociative reactions
* Sexual dysfunctions
* Swallowing and gagging sensitivity; repugnance to water on one’s face when bathing or swimming (suffocation feelings)
* Flashbacks and bad memories
* Alienation from the body-not at home in own body; failure to heed body signals or take care of one’s body; poor body image; manipulating body size to avoid sexual attention
* Gastrointestinal problems; gynecological disorders (including spontaneous vaginal infections); headaches; arthritis or joint pain.
* Splitting (Depersonalization); going into shock, shutdown, in crisis; a stressful situation always is a crisis; psychic numbing; physical pain or numbness associated with a particular memory, emotion (eg: anger), or situation (eg: sex).
* Trust issues; inability to trust (trust is not safe)
* Boundary issues; control, power, territoriality issues; fear of losing control; obsessive/compulsive behaviors (attempts to control things that don’t matter, just to control something)
* Pattern of being a victim (victimizing oneself after being victimized by others); especially sexually; no sense of own power or right to set limits or say no; pattern of relationships with much older persons (onset in adolescence).
* Feeling demand to “produce and be loved”; instinctively knowing and doing what the other person needs or wants; relationships mean big tradeoffs (love was taken, not given)
* Abandonment issues
* Blocking out some period of early years (especially 1-12), or a specific person or place
* Feeling of carrying an awful secret; urge to tell, fear of its being revealed; certainty that no one will listen; being generally secretive; feeling “marked” (scarlet letter)
* Feeling crazy; feeling different; feelings oneself to be unreal and everyone else to be real; or vice versa.
Also, many victims of incest may not have memories of it ever happening. Some will not have these memories because the abuse occurred while they were very young. Many abuse victims will report that the actual physical sexual abuse was not the worst aspect of the experience; rather, it was carrying such a powerful secret that must be protected. Others may have literally pushed the memories from their conscious mind in order to survive the abuse. In either case, the victim/survivor may feel as if something occurred and may eventually regain the memories of the abuse. Whether they remember the abuse or not, victims/survivors may still experience the above aftereffects.
People who experience incest have experienced violation of trust and sexual exploitation, but they can and do survive. There is no one “right way” to heal. Many will heal with the help of a counselor/therapist and/or support group and others will heal on their own. Once a survivor has made a commitment to address incest issues, it may take an average of 3-8 years of therapy to heal.
Adult survivors of incest who are beyond their early twenties and wish to take legal action against their perpetrators must do so in a civil law suit. They must bring the suit forward within the time outlined in the statute of limitations. In most cases, this is within 2-3 years of remembering the incest and recognizing it as the cause of injury. Please refer to the Statute of Limitations for more information.
No one should live their life in fear from being a victim of sexual assault/incest. If you have been a victim of sexual assault get help immediately and know that you are NOT alone. There are people who want to help you. Call your local rape/sexual assault crisis center. They can assist you with the help you need.
Copyright ©2009, Marie Waldrep.
This is one of the tools that helped me through my recovery.
If you need information or help, please visit:
RAINN: The nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
One of “America’s 100 Best Charities” -Worth magazine