Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Child Abuse Screen

Before I began dealing with the abuse, I lived life separated from others by a thick wall. Very few people got through. I didn't talk about the abuse. I didn't acknowledge the abuse. I didn't admit it had any affect on me.

Life put a few cracks in my wall. I let people in, let life in, and suffered a few injuries. But I still was plenty protected.

Through the therapy process I began tearing down sections of the wall. I thought that this was the solution and I would live life free!

In the past year I have stopped counseing, come of medication, stopped blogging and moved on to the Post-Abuse world. I have talked in terms of healED instead of healING. I patted myself on the back for surviving and waited for life to change now that I had finished the race. And I waited....and waited...and waited......
I still process things through the filter of being an abused child. It's like there is an internal filter that all life experiences go through.
The filter has changed with therapy, for sure. Whereas before very few things got through, now more and more comes in. I feel emotions now and can deal with them somewhat. The stuff that is let in doesn't instantly and always produce level 10 earthquake-type panic attacks. I expected that to change with time, healing and therapy and it has.
What I, perhaps naively, expected was a post-abuse, it doesn't bother or affect me anymore, change. I'm learning that this is not going to happen, and perhaps isn't possible.
Abuse changed me. It shaped who I was then and who I am now. I will never trust people like I would have if I hadn't been abused. I will never recover from a breach of trust like I might have otherwise. I will never handle someone coming up behind me the same way. Abuse is no longer a brick wall, but it remains a screen.
I can see things and be seen. But there will always be that screen through which everything is filtered.
What I am learning is that everyone has screens. They are different shapes, sizes and colors, but they are there. Everyone sees the world differently, shaped and guided by their life experiences. I just have to learn that a large part of mine is my childhood experiences. They can't go away. They can become less of a hinderance but they will always be there.
The next step -- figuring out what to do with this realization. How do I get others to acknowledge my screen, respect it, and see their own screens?


misssrobin said...

I remember this so well. Going through therapy and getting to a really good place. Thinking I was better.

Then something from out of the blue triggered me and I was lost and afraid again. I was devastated. I thought it meant that I hadn't done my job right. I felt like such a failure.

As I talked to my therapist he told me that it was perfectly normal. That it gets easier and I can learn ways to deal with it, but to think that it will ever be gone is a thinking error.

It helped. Although I was sad that it would always be a part of me, I was glad to know that I had not done anything wrong in therapy that kept me from getting better.

Somehow we think that getting better means all healed. It just means better than we were before. And I am better.

lawyerchik said...

That last question is one that I still struggle with as a TCK - and the answer I found that works for me is, find better people.

Not everyone will respect you or your experiences - some because they're incredibly selfish, others because they have no compassion, still others because they just don't have room in their lives for anyone or anything outside their own frame of reference.

But, there are people out there. You just have to find the ones you can, hold them lightly, and be thankful for each one you meet. That's all you can do.


onelongjourney said...

What a beautiful post. So many great analogies. Thanks for giving a lot of food for thought.

I am in my third year of therapy - I never thought I would last this long. Although I know I've accomplished a lot, I sometimes feel as if I've done nothing.

The recent death of my mother has resulted in a few triggers as I go through her things. But it's not as bad as I might have imagined.

Thanks again,

Mary Leeger said...

Enola, fellow sister in Christ-I am 18 and a sexual abuse survivor; I hesitate to say childhood sexual abuse, because even though I reacted to it with the mentality of a child, I was 14, and so had already hit puberty. Really, he (our African guard-I grew up in Africa) just brushed my chest, I am very fortunate that I was believed when I told, and that nothing else happened. Though the scariest thing was that he might have had a knife on him-he had shown me his earlier, and it was the first sign that something wasn't right-but he was quite cunning, and knew that when he actually tried to touch me, I would remember the knife and be afraid for my life...That said, I have had a almost a school year's worth plus a semester of counseling, with wonderful women of God guiding me and just listening to me. Yet I still long for understanding and companionship-and stumbling over your blog, and reading as many of your posts as I could in three hours has made me feel like I've finally found it. It's also made me realize how thankful I am that I am that I am getting counseling now, while I am young and without a husband or family. Your blog has provided me a template of how Mr. Right might respond to my past, of how to talk with my kids about it. Thank you, SO MUCH, for sharing your experiences, the immense DIFFICULTY that going through therapy can be. I feel so much less alone now. My journey is by no means over, but my counseling has started-through the absolute grace and intervention of God, who told me I needed to get help NOW, and that He would be the one to carry the sore afraid me out of the dark room. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!!!! I love you-for being you.