23 Feb Clarity
For survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) when confusion and despair are lurking, clarity is nowhere to be seen.
Over time and throughout our lives we develop patterns of behaviour and recreate situations that reflect our initial trauma. It is not due to our inability to summon in good people and situations, rather we are used to those feelings of fear and instability, they are normal to us. Once we have recovered and healed enough (which can take years), we can see things for what they are, stop replicating them, and finally become adept at noticing what that situation or person really is.
Maya Angelo put it well ‘Believe someone the first time they show you who they are’
That is clarity.
What is not widely discussed is that our trauma responses are ingrained, whether they are helpful to us or not is irrelevant. We can get transported back in time to when the abuse occurred and as children not having the cognitive ability to understand it, meant we became victim to it.
As adults, we don’t know till we do, and for each of us the timing is different.
There is no right time, age, or situation where clarity magically appears.
As adults when situations appear that traumatise or trigger us, we can be instantly pulled back into those same feelings of fear and powerlessness, and therefore react in the way we did as children.
This is not wrong or to be judged, it is simply what happens when trauma of this nature occurs. Having clarity means being able to look at the situations we are in now as adults and make the connection between them and our responses. Whether or not they are serving us or are a bigger reaction than they need to be, is worth noting. We don’t always know the best way ahead or how things really are until we take the time to check in with ourselves. It can also be useful to ask other people that know us well, their thoughts on how it played out.
It may be a surprise to learn that for CSA survivors, our reaction to a situation does not always equal the situation. Sometimes our response is way too big, which suggests it is history based rather than reality based.
The learning or rather the challenge then becomes identifying and understanding whatever trigger fuels our responses. It will be different for each of us, and we may need to dig deep to understand and get some clarity.
What can help is:
- Finding a quiet space to check if your response felt ok
- Noticing if it ‘matched’ the situation, if not:
- Writing out (without overthinking it) why that might have been
- Reaching out through meditation, or spiritual help to get clarity
- Planning out a response next time a similar situation occurs
- Being grateful for the courage to do this
I believe we are always heading towards healing. Always.
We are here to experience joy, and clarity helps that process
Don’t doubt who you are – rather choose to learn more about who you are.
Love to all, especially my fellow CSA Survivors