Abuse can take on so many forms, from physical, to sexual, to emotional, and within those there are many different variations that make up the traumatic experience that a survivor has had to endure and find a way to overcome. While each person has their own particular story and struggles, the common thread between us all is that we find a way to survive it.
We refused to completely give up, even in the face of tremendous adversity, and seemingly hopeless circumstances. We find a way to keep going, to keep living from one day to the next, with the vision of hope that someday we will be that person we’ve always wanted to be, and not someone defined by a past full of abuse and invalidation.
Survivors are the most resilient people on the earth, at least in my opinion. I’m truly honored to be a part of the community of people who have endured so much and yet still press on. It’s not something that one would wish for, and we were dealt a tough hand to say the least, but the key is, what are we going to do now? How can we use what happened to not only help heal ourselves, but help others?
This is one of the main reasons that I love sharing the stories of survivors here on the blog and podcast. My guest on this episode of Surviving My Podcast surely embodies what it means to be a resilient survivor and someone who is using her experiences to encourage and help others.
I’m honored to have had the opportunity to chat with Julie Coons, who wrote the book, This does not leave this house. A story about growing up with an abusive mother, surviving sexual assault, and escaping an abusive relationship. Julie joins me to talk about her book and share some of her experiences as a survivor, in hopes of reaching as many as possible with her story, to help inspire hope and validate all who have endured similar struggles.
Julie tells us that the inspiration for the title of her book, “This does not leave this house”, comes from being raised in a family where she was told regularly by her father, that what goes on in this house, stays in this house, it was their family secret and nobody’s business but theirs.
You learn how Julie was raised in an emotionally abusive household, at the hands of her mother, who as she more recently found out was also likely a Narcissist. This recent revelation has answered so many questions and put pieces together, helping her come to terms with so much of what happened to her.
She recounts some of the mind games that her mother would play, such as taking advantage of her vulnerability and ruining important days of Julie’s life just to help keep her under control, being critical of her, minimizing thoughtful gestures, or flat-out throwing away gifts that she bought. As you’ll hear, this was extremely traumatic and confusing resulting in what she refers to as “a childhood of terror”.
In addition to the trials at home, Julie also tells us a bit about her experience of going to a Catholic school, and how she was mistreated simply for being left-handed. You’ll hear how she was tied to a chair and forced to try to write with only her right hand. In addition, the horrible treatment of being paddled for this and other things in school just added to the trauma that she endured both in and out of the home.
Her story is one of so much hurt and abuse, but it’s also a story of being a resilient survivor. It’s a story of a person who has been through so much and has decided to use her voice to help others.
Julie tells us how she was brutally raped in college, and nearly lost her life. Had it not been for mustering up an amazing amount of courage to fight back and run away, she might not be here today. Thankfully her inner strength and her faith saved her that day, and she was able to use that experience to help a girl who came into the hospital she was working in. You’ll hear how this student came into the hospital completely traumatized, but found safety and comfort with Julie as she was able to sit with this young girl and listen, and be a source of comfort and support.
Unfortunately the things that Julie has experienced are not uncommon, and it’s her desire that this upcoming book be a resource of encouragement and hope. She has chosen to use her voice and experiences as a way to let everyone who reads it, feel assured that no matter how bad things have been, you can make a positive difference in the world and you can live a life of freedom and healing.
We cover this and so much more during the podcast; thank you again Julie for being a beacon of light and refusing to be silent. I’m honored to know you and I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming release of your book.
Be sure and follow Julie on Twitter @JulieCoons1, to stay up to date on the release of her book and how you can get your copy!