By the time most of us grow up and realize we’ve been victims of child abuse, the damage is already done. A lot of therapists won’t tell you this, because it’s so hard to accept that we may not be able to fully heal. Ever. We may be damaged goods for the rest of our lives.
Once you accept that fact, though, you can move forward. Maybe still broken and in need of some serious reworking of yourself to adjust to life outside the abuse, but you can move forward nonetheless. You have to. Staying stuck in victimhood is the worst place to be so forward momentum keeps us from wallowing in the “why me”.
Dropping the notion that we will ever be “whole” or “healed” or whatever, also helps. Being unrealistic about the damage that child abuse causes only makes moving on harder.
For me, ruminating over why they are the way they are and replaying different events drained so much of my life once I broke free from them. I was still trapped and re-abusing myself and I highly encourage anyone in my position to get a handle on the rumination thing right away. It’s such a time thief!
Eventually I did find that staying busy helps, especially if I find things to listen to while I’m busy so that my mind is kept from wandering down those dark alleys in my memory bank.
When the memories do surface now, I feel very disconnected from them and can analyze what happened to me as a neutral third party now. It took a very long time to get there, but it shows that we can overcome.
No matter what damage they may have done to us.
Of course for me my immune system is the most obvious sign that I’m damaged goods. There are a lot of studies and more in the works connecting early childhood trauma and mast cell disease, so that’s interesting. I talk a lot about living with mast cell disease on my other blogs, but I’ll probably start linking to these studies here, too, to show that it’s not just our minds they destroy.
Our bodies can take the brunt of the punishment, too.