Posted 11/26/2005 9:37 AM (GMT -7)
I was a sexually abused as a child--about 3 years of it--then other things happen that were actually worse, and more devastating to the quality of my life (for 20 years-to my full lifetime) and to my emotional welbeing (3 breakdowns).
When I finally made it to a group for the sexual abuse and began reading more about it, one of the things I learned was that as long as we wanted outside help, we were still victims and we would stay victims, until--taking a line from a movie or something-- we said, "no more."
In another thread I mentioned the sexual abuse group and said that being in the all victims group was worse than being in a mixed group of vics and perps.
While in the mixed group, the vics "explained" or semi-argued with the perps, but when the perp shouted they kept quiet. In the all vics group, they talked and talked and talked about all that was wrong, all the reasons they couldn't ...., all the people who weren't ....., all the ways they were stuck ...., all the failed attempts at......,
I had shouted at the perps, I had accused, humiliated, demeaned, and harrassed the perps, but in the group of women victim, I was silent and appalled, because I heard them say all the things I had said and do the same quirky things I had done--like 25 years of having a messy bedroom floor (which in group I came to equate with making traps so a perp couldn't get to me). I saw most of them wearing the same inexpensive, worn shoes I wore--as if to keep themselves trapped--unable to run if need be. The perps had had good solid, well shined shoes. I noticed a lot of weird things--too many to name.
I bought new shoes as soon as I had the money. I forced myself to clean the bed room floor and under the bed. I moved the piles of junk away from windows and doorways. I learned to keep quiet when that was best and to demand in ways that got attention. I wasn't going to send signals that I was now or had been a victim. I wasn't going to be a victim ever again.
It took time to change a lifetime of habits (my fear reactions), but it can be done--and it is worth it. I had bad things happen after that, I had bad bosses, I had personal losses, I had sad times. I still do. That is life. I tend to panic when things go wrong, but in a few minutes or days, now I'm able to take control myself and the situation to the best of my ability--and give up vague hopes that things will change.
Example: when my last boss was a terrible man, instead of thinking about the crappy way he treated me and that he would be my boss for 3 years, I virtually ignored him and focused on helping the other people he hurt. It turned into an interesting stand off, in which, I wanted out and he wanted me out. He saw no signs that I was leaving--so he offered me an early out, with a handsome severance pay. I ended up staying an extra year to get it--and then laughed all the way to bank. That would never have happened if I were still a victim.