It is my hope that you will enjoy the article by Susan Jacobi. She shares her passion and mission to help survivors of abuse.
Thank you Susan for sharing with And He Restoreth My Soul Project.
Remembering Compassion For The Adult Survivor Of Child Abuse
by Susan Jacobi
Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion and mission. I know, intimately, the journey and struggle to reclaim your life after child abuse. The isolation can make the adult survivor of child abuse feel like they are completely alone in their fear and pain. My blog talk radio show, Conversations That Heal, is focused on uniting healing experts with survivors of all childhood trauma with the intention of breaking that isolation. With knowledge comes power to change the way we feel, think and act.
The adult survivor of child abuse is far from alone. One in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by the time they turn 18. I am one of those girls. My story, like many other survivors, fits the common symptoms. While my abuse history put me in the top 5 to 10% of child abuse severity, the reactions and consequences are universal to all survivors. My first memory was at 4, my last when I was 18. My abusers were my father and his mother, my paternal grandmother. They were involved with a sadistic ritual cult. Statistically, the odds my father was not a victim of the same rituals that I was used for would be so low it would be hard to believe that he wasn’t. Maybe my paternal grandmother was used for a victim in her early childhood as well, I will never know. The fact remains whether they were or were not survivors of the same horrors that I was subjected to, does not excuse them for their choices in continuing the cycle.
According to childhelp.org, 30% of victims will become perpetrators. Men and women are equally equipped to continue this staggering cycle, although men tend to dominate it.
Historically, survivor’s lives will reflect their past trauma in their actions whether they embrace their past or not. Resorting to alcohol, drugs, food (eating disorders), acting out with overspending, gambling, and self-injury are typical signs the survivor is not ready or able to look at their past. The memory is stored in the brain. Making the choice to voice it, feel it and heal it is where the decision to reclaim their life begins.
It is hard to remember that the abuser planned their crime while in the depths of the survivor’s pain. Absolutely nothing about the attacker’s action was an accident, nothing. Knowing the pattern of physical and sexual abuse helps to bring an element of compassion into the survivor’s adult life. As a survivor reclaiming their life, embracing that the abuse was not your fault is, for some, easier said than done. Sure it is easy to say, to hear, and to know on an intellectual level. But feeling it in your heart and releasing yourself from the pain is a whole other ball game. Unfortunately for some, (myself included) it is not as easy as it sounds. There is a tremendous amount of pain, betrayal, abandonment (and many more feelings) before accepting the simple phrase, ‘it wasn’t my fault’. Yet that is exactly where compassion towards yourself begins.
Compassion is a lesson that can be self-taught and replaced with the lies the abuser left on their victim’s soul. Like a baby learning to walk, it takes one small step at a time. Allow yourself to fall, see what you can learn from that fall like the baby falling after a few steps. You cannot and will not be able to instantly believe in your soul ‘It wasn’t my fault.’ Over time, you will embrace the truth, the compassion and gifts you have to offer your loved ones, friends and all who cross your path.
In my book, How to love yourself: The hope after child abuse, I write about common struggles survivors face. Knowing how similar we all are gives us permission to have compassion for our story. If you can’t have compassion for yourself, then have compassion for the child who is being abused as you read this, have compassion for the mid 20 year old young women struggling with her anger, right now. We are all, that child, that 20 year old. Along the way you will find your compassion for your child self, your 20 year old self and your adult self.
Susan Jacobi is an author, radio show host of Conversations That Heal, speaker and peer counselor. As a survivor of child abuse, Susan has dedicated her life to talking about the effects all childhood trauma has on the adult survivor. She hopes by sharing her own struggles and victories she will inspire more survivors to do the same. Her radio show, available at blogtalkradio.com/conversationsthatheal.rss, unites healing specialists and trauma survivors. Ms. Jacobi will be announcing upcoming workshops on her website. Her website is: ConversationsThatHeal.com.
She can be reached at susan firstname.lastname@example.org.
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