It’s important to recognize that you cannot go through life as easily on your own

My name is Elizabeth and I’m a survivor of CSA and horrific trauma. As a survivor, I have come a long way in my healing journey. Healing from trauma is not a quick fix and recognizing that is part of the struggle sometimes. I want to feel better! We say to ourselves, but some days just don’t go our way and no matter what life throws at us, we hit the red lights at every intersection. Other days we flow through life, like a river rushing towards a giant waterfall as we plunge right to where we want to be. No matter what kind of day/week/month you are having, it’s important to recognize that you cannot go through life as easily on your own.

Human beings are social creatures and as people, we sometimes feel better when receiving support from a strong network around us. For most people, it’s our families that hold us together like “glue”. How many times have you heard your friends talking about their families? It’s constant and so nice to hear but it also makes me jealous. Having suffered trauma and abuse, I’ve never had a strong family behind me that I could turn to when I hit all the red lights. I never had a strong role model in my life to help me when I needed it. Life is at times harder when the going gets tough for me. I’ve heard the old saying that “It takes a village to raise a child”. I agree with that statement, but I think it doesn’t stop when you grow up. An adult still needs a strong social network of support through all of life’s “peaks and troughs” or successes and downfalls – whatever you choose to call them. It is much harder to succeed at achieving a goal all alone but if you get help and support along the way, it is much more manageable.

Part of healing from abuse is being willing to accept help from others

Part of healing from abuse is being willing to accept help from others. This is something most survivors struggle with because part of the damage is that we do not “trust anyone to be there for us”, without it coming with a price tag or ramification of some sort. It is even more difficult to recognize that we need help and to ask for it. I know I am not very good at asking for help, but I also know that I am one of those people who will bend over backward for anyone who needs my help. Isn’t that weird? Well, accepting help and offering to help others are two very different things. As a survivor of abuse, I recognize hurt so much quicker than someone who has not because I am hyper-aware of people around me. It can be overwhelming at times.

Reaching out

When life isn’t going so well, it is important to reach out to people you trust, like friends and of course family, if you have them. It doesn’t work to go at it all alone for extended periods of time. I have been there, and it is not a good place to be. It only serves to drown an individual deeper into depression because there is no anchor to tether you to safety or compass to show you the way out of the jungle of self-annihilation. You have no soundboard to pour those horrible thoughts onto. It is a downward path to rock bottom.

Reaching out to friends and family not only feels good but it also helps you to regulate your emotions back to control. Sometimes all you need to do is surround yourself in a different environment and just relax. You don’t even need to talk, just being around someone can be enough. I don’t know how often I have crossed the street to my friend’s house and sat in her kitchen with a coffee, watching her do laundry whilst our kids ran around our feet. I mean, who does that? Well, my friends and I do it all the time. Just being in someone else’s house can help if you are having a bad day.

Make sure to choose the people you turn to as someone who’s got your back. You will find out very quickly if someone is not trustworthy and it’s not a nice feeling to be ridiculed or betrayed in your hour of need. As a survivor of abuse, it’s difficult to trust anyone and if you choose the wrong person to help and that person betrays your confidence, it can take a while to get back up on your feet again. Sometimes you think you know the person and it turns out they never had your best interest at heart. I had that situation with my own family in that I gave them plenty of chances to be there for me and it only made my life miserable. I came away from the contact feeling drained and uneasy rather than relieved and uplifted.

There are those times when you need more help than just sitting in someone’s kitchen or having a catch-up cup of coffee with a friend in the city. That is when you need to clarify in advance what you need your chosen friend to do. For example, tell that person you need their undivided attention to listen to, or for them to understand you have a problem or situation you need their advice. For these conversations, only privacy can help. A frank discussion between two people alleviates what is on your mind without interruptions from the outside world. Let someone else take care of the kids for an hour and go somewhere private. Sometimes, these conversations are so difficult you might just need a shoulder to cry on. Boy have I been there plenty of times! Whatever you need at that moment is the right thing to do.

I have come a long way in my healing journey by opening up to trust people about my past. I feel much better after sharing my hurt and pain with trusted people. I also wrote the memoir of my childhood The Sex-Offender’s Daughter: A True Story of Survival Against All Odds eBook: Woods, Elizabeth: Kindle Store and published it for the world to see. I did this to help other survivors know that it is okay to be allowed to have a life after abuse and to fully live it. You are not alone in the world. Use the people around you who make you feel better and let them know what your struggles are. The people who love you will want to know and help you thrive.


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