Being abused doesn’t mean you are damaged. In my last therapy session, I realised, as we delved into my past, that there were many good patterns alongside the dysfunctional and abusive in my family. It was not all bad, in fact nothing can be all bad. My ex-husband was physically abusive but we had some good times too. We travelled to many countries together and we have a beautiful child together.
I was sexually abused by my father and my mother failed to protect me but there were other family members who made me feel loved and special in the very best way possible. I had a wonderful grandmother; I remember that I would hide behind her long grey hair when I didn’t want to face the world.
I would spend my school holidays with her and they would be filled with laughter and excitement. She was a magician in the kitchen and she pampered and spoiled me because I needed it. There was also an aunt and uncle who looked after me like their own child, taking me places and giving me lots of positive attention. Amidst all the pain and suffering, I had three people who loved and cared for me unconditionally.
Every person needs at least one person to lift them out of the darkness and I had three!!! So now, as I try to process the layers of emotions wrapped around the abuse I suffered as a little girl, I can at least point to these people who had a great and positive impact on the woman I have become.
I think I have been focusing a lot on the bad; and of course there is so much of it. But, there were good things in my childhood that I am grateful and feel blessed for. I think as survivors, we need to look honestly and face both the good and the bad in our past or that would create an inaccurate picture of the story.
This is part of the healing, and by this I don’t mean that we should in any way excuse what happened or say that what happened was ok! I just mean that if we look we will be able to dig up some light!