There is no positive twist you can put on abuse. And how to help us is counter intuitive to our human nature, I get that. For every well meaning positive twist or unkind comment made regarding our abuse, it sets us back in our recovery exponentially. It may sound crazy, but it is a fact. And even worse, it often causes us to have triggers, flashbacks, and panic attacks. The only thing you can do is validate our feelings.
For example: When we write an extremely painful poem or post, it is hard to hear someone say, “Things will get better” or “Can you write about something more positive” or “Everybody feels that way or has experienced this” …I don’t think so! Also, it is hard to hear comments that compare our trauma to someone else’s or to somewhere else in the world. REALLY? Do we really have to be someone else or live somewhere else in the world to experience trauma? I, along with many others have lost everything, how much more do we have to lose to be enough? The other comment that is unbearable is to say or imply that we just need to be positive or just get over it.
All of this messes with our minds and already broken spirits! I have almost shut down my blog more times than months I have been blogging. Trying to put a positive twist to something tragic or being unkind are equally harmful.
We don’t need much support, but we cannot handle an ounce of unkindness or someone being positive about what happened to us. This isn’t easy to say or admit. But we have been damaged physically, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually. The mind games and control, the manipulation of abusers is palpable. It leaves a sense of crazy inside of us that we have to deal with. Being made to feel any worse than we already do is quite frankly unbearable.
This is not to bash anyone, it is meant with the most kind and sincere form of education and awareness.
One of the reasons we go to therapy is to get help, obviously. But another major reason is because no one gets us, NO ONE, not really. We feel utterly alone and misunderstood. In therapy is often the ONLY place we have to speak our truth with an openness that is safe and healing. That is why we often write in poetry and riddles and just fragmented pieces of what happened to us. We are afraid!
With most of us, for everything we say, there are ten things we do not. This is one of the reasons you cannot compare trauma. Some people take drugs to help them, and that is understandable and acceptable. And some of us choose to not use drugs and suffer through the pain. Neither of us are weaker or stronger or hurt less or more. We are living in hell inside of ourselves. Hell is hell, you don’t compare hell. We already know it is torture. How tortured do you have to be until you have been tortured too much?
Once the human spirit is broken, it is broken. Some people experience one very traumatic abuse that may last a long time, some incredible unbelievable abuse, and some multiple ongoing abuse from multiple people and situations in their lives. For many of us it never ended. But abuse is abuse. We don’t have to have multiple labeled diagnoses, take drugs, have more horrific stories than the next to be suffering. We all have survived against incredible odds.
Our stories are all so very different, but our suffering and responses to them are so uncannily similar. And that is what we all need to focus on: readers, supporters, and victims alike. How much pain is too much pain? We have been sexually terrorized, for crying out loud, enough to lose our memories. This is called trauma. Everyone reacts to trauma differently, but one thing that is absolutely true, we all suffer unthinkable agony.
We have been abused in ways that are excruciating to talk about. And even when we do, it leaves us with fear and anxiety. Now after all that we have been through, I feel as though we must spend the rest of our lives being harmed further by either careless or well meaning individuals. This is heartbreaking for all of us. And it isn’t helping us to heal one bit. It is what plays a huge part in us isolating ourselves. How long will we write about it? Until! One thing is sure, as long as we keep being harmed further, it will NEVER end for us.
It seems as though people believe that by writing or speaking about our pain, we are trying to keep it alive. In reality, we are trying to get rid of it!
I know it is counter intuitive, but the best thing you can do is to just listen and empathize with our pain. There isn’t ANYTHING you can say to make this pain go away. There are no words to heal a wounded soul. We must grieve. How long? I don’t know. I am not even sure there is an end to this type of tragedy. I am not saying our lives can’t get better and that we can’t eventually find more joy in our lives. But what I am saying, is that there is a very good chance we may always have periods of being thrown off, caught off guard and spiraling from time to time. I don’t know if the pain will ever truly go away. Maybe the best we can do is learn to manage our pain and these painful times. It doesn’t make us any less of a person. And to a large degree we are all effected by the level of support and validation we have received in the past, and the support we receive in our present and future. But having to always be healing from remarks that wound our already broken and sensitive spirits is beyond sad.
There is lots you can say and do to make us feel safe and validated. One thing that might be helpful, is to see everything that we write or say, no matter how dark or painful, as a positive thing. We are getting it out and it gives us some relief from the pressure inside of us! For me, writing is what lets me grieve. And it also has a release in the fact that it has a hint of feeling like a small taste of justice has been served. It is bittersweet! For most of us, it is the ONLY justice we will ever experience.