During my 30-year journey to healing from childhood sexual abuse, I discovered certain things I used to believe was not the truth. Many of the thoughts and perceptions I had about my experience came from my distorted view and not having the right information. It has been liberating to break free from the lies my experience left me with.
As a survivor that has come through the other side of a hard and challenging journey, I want to share with you three common lies child sexual abuse leaves behind.
Things will never get better
When I was in the thick of depression, I was not hopeful about my future. It felt like I was on a never-ending rollercoaster of ups and downs. I did not think things would get better. Thankfully over time, it did. I never thought I would make it through the dark and uncertain times in my life yet, here I am today. It feels great to be on the other side.
If I ignore what happened it will go away
I believed using alcohol, drugs, and distractions would make the memories of my abuse go away. It did not. As a matter of fact, these avoidance tactics only made the situation worse. I spent nearly ten years avoiding dealing with my abuse. That was until I had a nervous breakdown. It was then I had no choice but to confront it. After my hospitalisation, I attended psychotherapy for two years. It was horrible at first: very painful. It was the first time since childhood that I felt so vulnerable. But it was essential to my healing. In facing the pain of my past and talking about it, the memories faded over time. No longer I suppressed it within.
I am defined by my past abuse
For ten years, I was defined by my past. I had to break down the lies, face my fears and work on the insecurities abuse left me with. I worked on my confidence and self-esteem. This allowed me to start to imagine and believe in a life different from what I had known. I had to make a choice NOT to be defined by my past. This was not a one-off decision: it was something I had to choose to do every time a memory, thought or feeling from my past reared its ugly head. In doing so, I gained power over my life.
Of course, there are many other lies birthed from this trauma. But the key is to face the lie head-on by searching for the truth. Never just accept what this experience leaves you with. You owe it to yourself.
CHOOSE LIFE BOOK – Practical Empowerment workbook for survivors