Recovery is never complete.It is an on-going process which never ends. Yes, one does get to the point where one’s past does not rule one’s present. The flashbacks and night terrors lessen in both ferocity and frequency. The need for obsessive compulsive behaviour all but disappears. The need for alcohol or recreational drugs or sugar or sex or in whatever form it takes, goes when one is no longer running from the pain. This only happens when one has finally felt all that there is to feel.
When one is a child there is no way one is able to deal with the very powerful emotions that abuse gives rise to and if the abuse goes on over a long period of time it becomes impossible to do anything other than disassociate. This gives rise to obsessive compulsive behaviours that serve to keep the pain and fear suppressed.
For me it took the form of anorexia/bulimia and self harming. Although I would not wish either of these on my worst enemy, if I had turned to alcohol and all drugs then my pain and shame would have been compounded and I may not have survived. I say this because society finds it easier to feel compassion for people who self harm or who have an eating disorder but they seem to only have hatred and disgust for alcoholics and drug addicts.
(It puzzles me that people have this attitude alcoholics and drug addicts. Obese people and people who smoke cause harm to others and also use our resources and also steal-they steal time and resources through days off work etc. All addictions cost all of us. Addiction is rooted in pain and suffering. It is not the result of wanton lust or lack of self-control. The hypocrisy of people who are obese and who smoke sneering at alcoholics and drug addicts would make me laugh if it were not so sad.)
Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that even though I have come an awful long way from those dark and fearful days and even though today I am happy and content and accepting and loving of myself, it does not mean that I do not feel sad sometimes that my family missed out on knowing me as I am. I often keenly feel the lack of family. In reality I have no idea what it feels like to be loved and accepted and nurtured by loving parents but I still feel the lack of it.
I am not one of these people that believe it was meant to be. That makes no sense to me whatsoever. If it were God’s will, then people who abuse children are fulfilling some divine plan. I do not know about you but that thought makes me want to puke. Then there are those who feel they are more enlightened who say that it is all a result of karma which is just another way of saying that people who abuse children are fulfilling some divine plan. It is also a way of blaming the victim and thus avoiding having to feel or think too much.
It is possible to live and live well with the most appalling grief but only if one acknowledges it and feels it. One can never put it down, always carried, but it stops being a burden that weighs one down. Recovery does not make anything go away it just gives one the strength to live with what was and is.
It has not escaped my notice that I am the man I am today because of everything that I have been through or rather, because of what I have done with what I have been through. We are not the result of what we have been through but rather the result of what we think about what we have been through.
The real abuse was the thinking pattern and belief system that I was given. The belief in an exacting and judgemental God that viewed me as a sinful disgusting being and who not only saw my every action but knew my every thought. The belief that I was a bad boy being justly punished by my good parents. The belief that I was a very precocious child who seduced adults into having sex with me. The belief that I was unworthy and unacceptable as I was. The belief that I should for ever try and make up for the fact that I was not what my parents wanted.
It was changing my thinking pattern and my belief system that saved my life and gave me the good, productive, and satisfying life that I have today. Of course this change did not come about quickly nor easily nor without tremendous pain that seemed to almost kill me.
I am aware that there are other survivors who read this blog. I do not write my blog for anybody but myself but I feel the need to address you directly right now.
(What you really need to know is that people treat you or treated you the way they do or did because of who they are not because of who you are.)
You are not who you are because of what was done to you. You are who you are because of what you think about what was done to you and that is the worst damage. It is possible to change these thought patterns even for those of us that were spiritually/religiously abused as well. For those of us that were taught that to question was wicked. Most importantly you will not be struck down dead for telling, nor will you be punished. When you find the courage to accept that you truly can choose what to think and believe you will have started upon the road to freedom. This is really all that it takes to recover. It is of course not an easy road at all but it is one that you must take or waste your life in needless suffering. Worse, if you have children of your own you cannot help but pass your damage on to them in ways that are subtle but insidious. No! I am not saying that you will sexually or physically abuse them. I am saying that you cannot give to your children what you have not got yourself and if you are unaware of how you are damaged there is no way that you can prevent that damage from damaging your own children.
If anybody had told me that I could have the life I have today even 15 years ago I would not have believed them. If anyone had told me that not only could I be free from my past and grow to accept and love myself but that I could also live well with 24/7 pain I would have thought they were completely nuts!
All of my dreams have come true. I am free, I have my dogs, and I have a man who loves me and respects me and treats me very well. I did not ever dream of what I wanted to be other than I always wanted to be somebody else. Instead I became myself and there is nobody else that I would rather be.