For Those Who Were Sexually Abused – And Not Helped

07
Jan
BLAMED FOR SEXUAL ABUSE 12

Please Note: This following is sensitive material with strong language… 

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Is it possible that one’s own family can be so cruel?

If you are a victim of sexual abuse, you may be expected to heal in complete isolation.

This is not going to help your attempts to recover from trauma, nor heal.

The following statements are often used to ‘motivate’ you:

Get over it.

The past is the past.

Move forward. 

It happened a long time ago.

 

Why These Statements Are Toxic

In certain cases, it is Bat Shit Crazy to expect a sexual abuse victim to get over it, move forward, and stop thinking about it.

It’s like asking a person on a roller coaster to stop screaming as the ride goes into its terror of descent.

It’s like asking a person with stomach flu to stop vomiting.

It’s like asking a war veteran to stop flash-backing.

It is a heartless expectation, actually.

 

Here Are The Facts

Those who haven’t been sexually abused don’t understand sexual abuse. We can’t expect others to understand. But we would never expect them to be cold as ice.

As mentioned in my post about incest, here, there are countless reasons why a sexual abuse victim’s life is often irreparably damaged.

“Our brains are sculpted by our early experiences,” says Martin H. Teicher, M.D. Ph.D. “Maltreatment is a chisel that shapes a brain to contend with strife, but at the cost of deep, enduring wounds.”

Add to this a potential lifelong battle (as I surely can vouch for) with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, PTSD, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and possible substance abuse.

If you are a highly sensitive person, or a people pleaser, expect to hurt and scar more.

There are also neurobiological consequences for victims of child abuse.

“Get over it.”

Yeah, sure.

Just try.

The Second Wound

In worst case scenarios, the trauma of sexual abuse lives on, into infinity. It’s a fire still ablaze, no matter how long ago the abuse happened.

Randi Gunther, Ph.D., calls this phenomenon of secondary abuse “The Second Wound.”

It happens when family members won’t support your healing, intentionally distort facts, blame and shame you, rage at you, run away from you, as fast as they can.

Why would anyone be so hard-hearted?

Because you were abused. You are damaged goods. You bring bad vibes into their lives. They want no part of you. Call it human nature?

My experience with terror and violence, in the supposed safety of my childhood home, typically taboo, was a subject to be dropped, a hot potato, nasty dirty laundry. Never to be discussed.

Keeping the damage alive.

Who Cares About Innocence?

I was 8 years old. Playing with toys in my room. Purposefully avoiding the much older male perpetrator in the other room entrusted to babysit me (there was not doubt; he loathed me.)

Playing. Daydreaming, as eight year olds do, of sunshine, adventure, giggles, jokes.

Then suddenly: innocence interrupted, coercion, the unthinkable, darkness.

Forever maimed by a family member who will never make amends, who fled, whose integrity is not questioned to this day.

The burden of rage simmers in my soul.

Tell someone. Tell anyone.

Not in my case.

It was a bad idea to reveal this event to my family, which I did, characteristically, decades later.

Rage was their result, empty promises about support thrown away, scapegoating and family estrangement my destiny.

This is the secondary horror that lives on indefinitely.

 

You Are To Blame

It was my fault that the family subsequently fell apart. My fault that I was terrified. My fault I was always on chronic high alert.

“You Should Be Over This!” “You’re a broken record!” “Why are you so anxious?”

A few years ago, chilling words delivered from my perpetrator: “Don’t Ever Bring This Up Again. Do you understand?” (Disappointing, isn’t it: some people never change.)

It took me 30 years to say anything.

To this day, some family members say that I failed; failed to feel empathy for the perpetrator’s suffering.

Are you fucking kidding me.

If I am an innocent victim of violence or abuse at anyone’s hands, and others spit on me further with condemnation, don’t ask me to give a shit.

 

But Wait! This is not a Pity Party!

I contend, as I always have, that you have to learn as much as you can about the reality of hardship and pain in this life, and then try to heal yourself.

But for so many reasons, most too complex to describe, sexual abuse is so much tougher.

It’s downright impossible when the safe haven you once knew – family – coalesces away from you, in droves, for a reason that is too inhumane to contemplate.

But let’s get real.

Those who continue to harm you, exacerbate your trauma, invalidate your experiences, race away from you without explanation, condemn your lost innocence, scoff at lost purity, demand that you empathize with the person who abused you?

One word: Goodbye.

These people kill your spirit. They kill your chances at recovery.

They willfully add to your depths of despair, your anxiety, your depression, your feelings of loss, loneliness, grief, abandonment.

The deleterious effects this dysfunction has on future generations is also devastating. This shit is passed down. No one gets a pass.

 

Solutions?

It may be therapy. It may be friends. It may be religion, exercise, hobbies, nature.

I have found solace in the simple joys of life. Shelter with those who genuinely love me and protect me. Immense gratitude for fun and laughter. I’m trying hard to do right by the family I have left.

The daily pain endured as a sexual abuse victim is sinister, it lurks in the background. In headaches that can’t be explained. In depression that comes on, at will.

You may feel like you’ll never be free.

From cruel people, you can and must be.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2016 at 7:33 pm and is filed under Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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  1. July 15th, 2017 | Cheryle L Tebor says:

    I, myself, was not sexually abused as a child. But, I did grow up in a severely narcissistic dysfunctional family were my mother was and is THE most sadistic, evil, covert narcissist there wife was. Parading around as the quintessential victim martyr, ever present on the front pew of every Sunday mass, still to this day blames everyone and everything for all the chaos and hell she has caused not only in her life, but my entire birth family. Yet all 3 of my siblings surround her and protect her like she’s some fragile little Nightingale. For the life of me, I can’t see how she has got every single person in her life fooled and now I’m the scapegoat. I wasn’t abused sexually but every single other thing you have listed here has been done to me. And it all happened out of nowhere! Or it did to me. I had no idea what was going on behind my back. The betrayal of your whole birth family, the abandonment of every single person you have spent your life taking care of and loving unconditionally, without even so much as an explanation! It can do things to you and your mind that nothing else can. Then your also left with other people thinking and telling you what an awful person you are for not having anything to do with your parents in their old age or refusing to speak to any member of your family when they have decided you have been punished enough and its time for you to come back for more abuse. The ONLY thing left to do, for your mind, body and spirit is to cut ALL TIES with ALL OF THEM! A complete exorcism, if you will, of your former family from your whole world. Then, and only then, can you even think about beginning to heal.
    Having said all that, one of my parents best friends growing up was this couple from our church. The father ALWAY gave me the creeps. I never wanted to be any where near him, especially alone! They had 4 kids. I was very close to their daughter as she was my age. Only after we had both grown and married and had children of our own did she remember that her father had started molesting her at around 5 years old. The mother walked in on it one day when my friend was about 10. This mother NEVER LEFT THAT MAN! NEVER HAD HIM ARRESTED! NEVER DID A THING! Except tell him IF it ever happened again all of that would happen. THEN, she used this poor child’s NIGHTMARE as a way to garner pity and sympathy for the rest of her life! She told everyone how she would have to stay up all night to make sure her husband didn’t hurt her daughter then go to work all day. And oh so hard it was on HER! But, when she met another man, and it was convenient for her, that is when she decided to leave. WELL AFTER her daughter was old enough to take care of herself. To this DAY that woman STILL uses my friend’s horrific experience to call sympathetic attention to herself. Just recently this friend told me she tried once again to confront her mother about everything and the mother stood up and, through gritted teeth said to her daughter she allowed to be molested for years “you know, this is not about YOU!” Then I would like to know just who in the HELL it is about! I will never forget telling my own evil mother that I just could not believe that this woman stayed after she saw what was happening with her own eyes and my mother DEFENDING this monster of a woman!She said to me” You just don’t understand what ” Stacey” went through after she found out, it just devastated her!” WTF! IT WAS THIS WOMAN’S JOB TO PROTECT HER DAUGHTER AT ALL COSTS! I DON’T CARE IF SHE HAD TO LIVE IN A SHELTER FOR MONTHS! YOU DON’T STAY WITH A MAN WHO IS SEXUALLY MOLESTING HIS OWN DAUGHTER, YOUR CHILD, AFTER YOU HAVE WALKED IN AND SEEN IT HAPPEN JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP A CERTAIN LIFE STYLE! She should burn in hell just like the father. End of story. But, I guess since my mother NEVER protected any of her children from the vicious beatings from her husband, she could totally understand this woman’s reasoning. Some women just should NOT have been allowed to have children. Period. I’m so sorry for your hurt and your pain.

  2. August 1st, 2017 | abby says:

    I hear you Cheryle, all so incomprehensible. What more can I say. Except that it takes a huge amount of strength bravery and resilience to somehow move from all this chaos and hurt and start LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF. Because truly, when you are in the midst of this chaos, there are so many ugly dynamics at play, it is bottom line super unhealthy, toxic and wretched for self-esteem. I hope you are doing what you need to do to heal. And look after your own needs, and your own health – perhaps for the first time.

  3. July 27th, 2017 | Sarah says:

    Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel a little less alone. It’s as if you were telling my story word for word sadly. I’m really struggling right now after a deafeningly loud 38 year silence and subsequent 2 years of circling the drain. I’m trying to remember how I managed to get myself so far before those sick dysfunctional animals decided to strike out against me, making every attempt to drive me straight off the nearest cliff. Hell I never saw it coming then but 2 years later I marvel at how much I did and the toxic dumping ground I became and always a sense of unease. From my own flesh and blood. Yes pigs will fly next to snow covered gates to hell before I will let them take one more morsel of the scraps I have left. They might be few but the damn things are mine. Thanks again for your courage I appreciated this post a lot tonight!

  4. August 1st, 2017 | abby says:

    Hi Sarah:

    So very sorry you are dealing with this. So painful. It really is the unthinkable situation until you process it properly, finally realize what you’ve put up with, finally realize what MUST change for your own health. Some of us are so conditioned to be puppets until we finally wake up. You sound really angry, I get it. I hope you have someone to vent to and heal with. Because once you face the truth (sounds as though you have) you can finally move on and start loving and caring properly for yourself.

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