One of the things that helps us survive and heal from our past abuse, whatever it may be, is reaching out for help. Whether it’s talking with a therapist, online chats in social media, blogging, or telling a family member or friend what happened, it can be an amazing experience.
Of course it can also be a disaster if the person you talk with isn’t receptive, doesn’t give you the response you need, is apathetic, or worse, blames us! Talking with a therapist probably isn’t quite as risky in terms of the potential negative feedback, as opposed to opening up to people you are close too, but nonetheless reaching out for help is crucial and a risk in any situation. It’s a risk I’m willing to take at this point in my healing journey.
I’m proud of how much I’ve reached out so far to the survivor community on social media and the amazing support of this blog that so many give me each day. I’m humbled and grateful and I will in turn always do my best to be supportive and help all of you as well. Just wanted you all to know that if you didn’t already.
While I’m not yet ready to say that I actually feel “empowered”, I am more confident about speaking about the childhood sexual abuse that I experienced when I was a kid. That’s in part to you all!
So now I feel the time has come to go beyond the reaches of my keyboard and open up about my past to a family member! Something I am admittedly scared to death to do! My parents know very little of what happened, and nobody else in my family knows at all. (My abuser was a teenage neighbor and family friend). Oddly enough the person I’ve chosen to talk too is my sister in law. She’s been married to my brother for over 30 years and we’ve always been very cool with each other. I’m not real close with my sister or brother. I don’t hate them or even dislike them, I love them, but the generation gap between them and me is so huge we’re just from different worlds. It is what it is.
So I’ve written this much in anticipation of tonight being the night that I talk to her. She’s coming over and I wanted to get down my thoughts here before we talk and then I’ll finish this when we’re done.
Feelings right now: Anxiety is in overdrive, palms are sweaty, mind is racing. Grounding skills aren’t doing jack at the moment. I’m going to do my best to power through so stay tuned and wish me luck…
It’s now 10:47pm EST as I finish up this piece, a good 2 hour long talk has taken place. I talked to my sister in law and honestly it went as well as I could have expected. She was supportive, not overbearing. She was kind and compassionate but not completely over the top and smothering. I think, well I know, that I’ve always connected with her more because she married into the family so she doesn’t have the same outlook on life that my family does. It’s hard to explain but she sees things in a different way, similar to me, and is very open minded.
I didn’t get into all of the intimate details but I told her the basics of what happened, how I suppressed for so long, being in therapy now, what my life is like, the flashbacks, the survivor chats, etc.
Right now I can feel myself just completely overwhelmed and exhausted, but somehow there is a tad, just a tad bit of peace inside that I let it out to someone who is close to me. I’m not ready to say that I’m going to head and start telling everybody else in my family, in fact I may never tell any of them, but I am glad that I did talk to her.
I’ll be interested to see how I feel in the morning and in the coming days until my next therapy session where I will make it a point to bring this up.
Before I sign off from this post, I have to say a special shout out to some of the amazing people in the survivor community that happened to see my tweets earlier in the evening, about taking this step. They sent me DM’s and Tweets full of all types of encouragement! Thank you @ @ @ @ @ @ @ .