Validating Your Abuse

I’ve spoken with quite a few survivors over the last few weeks and a lot of the time they talk about comparing their own abuse to others. This makes them feel like they can’t complain or seek support because their abuse isn’t validated when it’s compared to others. Remember, bigger scars or smaller scars.. none of it is a competition. Survivors are here for survivors.

It’s really important to understand that no two types of abuse can be compared to one another.

Physical Abuse vs Sexual Abuse?

Verbal Abuse vs Emotional Abuse?

1 Year of abuse vs 2 Years of abuse?

As survivors of abuse we, as individuals, have our own boundaries and limits and expectations of what our body and mind accepts. Yes, of course, at any age we may not have the ability to say “no!” or physically leave the environment we are in.. also known as the ‘Freeze’ from F3 – Freeze, Flight or Fight.

It’s important to accept that the abuse your abuser put you through is totally independent of anyone else’s abuse and should not be determined by peoples opinions or ‘expectations’ on what abuse is. The child in you (for those that were abused as children) set the boundaries a long, long time ago and they are your boundaries today.

If you are struggling to report or speak out about your abuse because you read other peoples experiences and think that yours isn’t enough then you need to really dig deep to feel and understand your emotions and why you are feeling that way. You are feeling that way because it was abuse to you and that is all that matters. In order for some people to validate their abuse they need to speak out so other survivors can validate their abuse for them.. and that’s okay as well.

It’s like when I went to my psychologist regarding my abuse (that I hadn’t yet defined it as) and she said that I was a victim of sexual abuse. She validated it for me. I was confused; normal sibling activities? No.. sexual abuse.

Once you accept that your abuse is yours to own and for no one else to speak negatively about, you will soon be able to communicate with other survivors and gain help and insight into the way they have managed their life so you can better yours. You’ll eventually, if you want, be able to go to support groups to hear other stories as well as telling yours. This is instrumental in being able to move forward and develop as a person.

Allow yourself to develop in areas that your abuser prevented you from. Smile and go do fun things. Do things for yourself, own your happiness and own your life.. because guess what? It’s yours!

3 thoughts on “Validating Your Abuse

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  1. Hey! Thanks so much for sharing that. When she told you that it was sexual abuse did she say this information right away or was it after you said that you thought it may have been normal?

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    1. There was certainly a few more details and pauses in between her saying that. We were very close to ending the session so she could have left it at that and I definitely wouldn’t have had felt so anxious until the next session that’s for sure. Thanks for reading!

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  2. Recently trying to figure things out. The following is from a recent journal entry.

       I remember the horrific feeling of disgust when I realized what had happened to me and the moment when it became clear to me that it wasn’t the first time. I knew that my body had been violated and nothing would ever cleanse me.

      The ugliness and filth were inside me, both body and soul. Looking back, I realize I used alcohol to wash away the sorrow, although I truly liked the taste. 

      I had no memory of what took place. I would just blackout. A short time later though, there were moments when I came to, long enough to confirm what I had a suspected. Those brief glimpses would shadow me for the rest of my life. The physical act repulsed me. I still have a heavy knot inside my stomach each time I think of it.

      I no longer cry, though I jerk myself awake when it haunts my dreams. I will tear myself from sleep screaming. I don’t know if I actually make a sound but, I am covered in sweat. The weight in my stomach returns.

       

       These memories have haunted me for more than 30 years. I still shudder when my wife nuzzles my neck. I jerk awake when she drapes her leg across mine as we sleep, the softness of her skin and her fur like stubble will cause me to tremble; to sweat and to scream. 

       I know the difference. I know what’s real. I know that my wife is my friend, and that she’s not going to hurt me. Though sometimes in an act intimacy, or from a harmless movement that happens in sleep, I remember being raped and I am jolted awake. 

       I have no idea how old I was when I was molested the first time. It was a completely different situation. My dad had bailed someone out of jail. He was an indian by the name of Dion from Showlow, Arizona that we had once met on a camping trip. 

       My dad and him drank all weekend and they had evidently exchanged contact information because when Dion needed help he had reached out to my father. Dad brought him home and they drank that night. 

       We didn’t have a big house, and there were no extra bedrooms, so my parents had Dion sleep in my room. I was very small. It is probably what saved me at the time. While Dion tried to force himself on me the next morning, I had no idea what was taking place. 

       I knew that it was wrong. I knew that he was whispering to me because he didn’t want anyone to hear. I knew that I shouldn’t be lying on my belly naked with my pajamas bottoms wrapped around my knees as he tried to force himself into me. 

       My mother walked in later after he had finally given up. Not long later I would come to hate my dad for bringing him into our house. And I found myself wishing that my mom would have walked in sooner. Eventually I found that couldn’t forgive them. I couldn’t forgive them for something they knew nothing about. That realization broke my heart. 

       I’ve since then let that go. In some small way releasing that burden has helped. Except for when it reminds me of how unfair I was to both of them. 

       Not long after this, there was the 17 year old who came to visit her brother who lived next door. Her name was Lynn. I guess next to the perversion that she just wanted to kiss and feel me up, I never felt uneasy about it. I was just as delighted I suppose by the idea that she had taken an interest in me.

       My take away from the experience was that while I found it all a bit startling and emotionally perplexing at first, it also gave me a sense of bravado. I could not quite get over the fact that her breath smelled of onions. 

       

       The man who would take my life — unraveling it thread by thread — his name is Trent, and he is by all definitions a monster.  

       I was perhaps 13 when I first met him. I lived on a ranch in the Arizona desert. It was a state run juvenile facility for trouble youths.

       Trent was a new counselor, I don’t recall much about him from living at the ranch until about the time I left. And then, over a short period of time we seemed to bond. 

       I was well aware that there were things happening at the ranch that were of a sexual nature. Boys would sneak off into the desert by themselves late at night; stories were told. The counselors would visit after lights out, invariably their hands would find their way beneath the sheets. I was once visited by a very large counselor whose name was Tiny, he fondled me as I layed there. 

       There is a paralysis that overcomes you when something like this happens. A modicum of fear that freezes you in time. Maybe the soul feels trapped and memory is held hostage to the moment? All I know is that it reaches down into your very core.

       I have felt it then, in my youth, and later in life. When time freezes and you have no control but just to watch; I often feel that I am not alone.

       There was an openly gay man who was from India named Bali Rama. He was a famous dancer at some point in his life. He openly told the children what he wanted to do to them. The sickness surrounded us. While he never touched me, his words did. 

       This was the environment I was brought up in. I lived here for a couple of years. Everyone fended for themselves. Like a number of the boys who lived there, I once found myself in the desert, late at night. 

       

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