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!