Lists of symptoms will never give us the depth of information we need to recognize the people around us who have hidden wounds from childhood sexual abuse. I think about this when I hear survivors describe themselves when they were in school
There are four common perceptions that make it hard for us to recognize the extent of abuse.
1. We would like to think abuse, especially sexual abuse, happens outside the circle of people we know.
Because our personal spirit urges us to celebrate the best of ourselves, it often feels uncomfortably close to be “selfish”. Spirit invites us to invest money in our creativity. It persuades us to take care of our needs. It asks us to explore our possibilities. This empowering inner wisdom encourages us to separate the “me” from the “we” and “us”.
In our everyday world, we tend to like our memories neat and tidy.
Friends and family often get into conversations about past events with each person laying claim to what really happened. Although each person experienced the moment from their very personal collection of feelings and through the lens of previous experiences, they assume everyone will remember the same thing.
There is beauty in the mystery of our life. It calls to our curiosity. It invites us to explore. But it also asks us to be patient when we’re anxious for answers. In the landscape of our experience, we crave to know what is coming around the corner. At the very least, we want confirmation that we’re on the right track.
It’s easy to find ourselves in conversations about the way past experiences are helping us accomplish our goals now. Maybe it’s our first job, learning from our aunt’s passion, or a movie that gave us potent experiences that continue to resonate.
Survivors of child abuse didn’t explore the landscape of childhood; they hunted for paths that might avoid landmines of harm. Whether they tip-toed with caution or brought their guns of anger, their primary focus was getting through another day. Secrets and survival were the guiding forces. Personal growth was the friend you didn’t bring home.
Linear time has no meaning to our personal spirit. It’s part of a dimension that curls in on its self even as it soars along the far edges of infinite potential. Somewhere in there, each of us has our unique pace. The clocks might call to us in tick, tick, ticking attention, but our spirit knows its own time.
We were talking about Venus passing in front of the sun. My husband was enthusiastic about the breadth and depth of science that made it possible to predict such far-reaching celestial movements. I listened to his wonder and realized I look out a completely different window to ‘see’ what is happening in the sky above.
I know the science is there, but I feel more connected to the random beauty of something much bigger than me. It’s the same kind of mysterious magic I saw when I was a child watching the shimmering, rainbow-colored bubbles blown out of plastic sticks dipped in a bottle. For me, Venus was a messenger passing by to remind me beliefs are energy.
Though passing time ferried us out of our childhood sexual abuse, many of us continue to feel stuck in the same current. In the river of life, we feel unable to paddle to new possibilities for happiness.