If there’s one thing you hang on to when you’re being abused as a child (or indeed, as an adult), it’s hope. Every survivor I’ve met has said the same: hope almost becomes as natural as breathing. You don’t cling on to it, because if something awful happens, then the hope has been ripped from you and you collapse. You barely even realise it’s there, like you don’t consciously notice you’re breathing. But it’s there, in a very natural and calm sense, and it’s that hope that means so many find the courage and fight to find safety…and recover.
So why must so many professionals, and textbooks, insist that full recovery is not possible…that at best a survivor can function and lead a generally fulfilling life, but big dreams will be too much…too “stressful” and that we simply will not cope? That we will simply always be traumatised? WHY?!
It annoys me a lot. By implying this time and time again, the sense of empowerment we deserve after getting free, is taken away from us. Suddenly I find myself feeling like a little girl incapable of looking after myself, incapable of achieving what I want to…and having to settle for a life filled with flashbacks and general misery.
What if I refuse? Why now should I become a soft little girl, when actually when I was a little girl I managed fairly well at protecting myself and looking after myself – there was nobody else to! Why is there this general belief that abuse victims are so broken…broken beyond repair. Actually every single victim and survivor is a fighter, using incredible techniques to protect themselves – both consciously and unconsciously – and regardless of how in the pit of despair they may feel, the “fighter” is a part of their identity. To be a fighter doesn’t mean you had to punch the hell out of your abuser, or stand up to them in any way. If your survived, then you fought. If you can still breathe, eat, read this blog, cry like a human and laugh too…then you won.
So don’t let them convince you that you’re broken beyond repair. The textbooks drive me crazy. Everyone has illnesses. I’m not broken. I have lived through extreme trauma and abuse, but that doesn’t make me broken. A little damaged and worse for wear, but not broken. It makes me a survivor…someone in need of a few tissues until the psychological “flu” has lifted and my nose has stopped running, and I’m better.
And I will be. Shove off textbooks…
Don’t lose the hope. Don’t fight through hell to be defeated by people speaking for you…telling you how you will recover and that it’ll never stop.Watch this space, silly textbooks.