Guest Author - Kelli Deister
This may seem like a strange topic to some; however, I feel it is a necessary topic to explore. Many times, survivors of child abuse still feel emotional pain, as adults. Yet, they might also feel as though they should not allow themselves to feel that pain or to confront it. Itís as though some feel that they should just move on and forget about it, since it happened when they were children. Of course, there are some people that tell survivors to let it go and move on. Those of us that have experienced child abuse know that it is not possible to simply let it go. Moving on in our lives cannot happen until we realize that it is OK to feel the hurt and confront it, giving ourselves permission to heal.
When a child is being abused they are obviously not allowed to express themselves or how they feel about it. They cannot simply tell their abuser to stop. The person that is in control of the childís life, is their abuser. Oftentimes, the abuser tells the child that they cannot cry. The child is also told to keep silent. This means that the child bottles up what they are feeling for many years. It is not uncommon for survivors of child abuse to keep it bottled up well into their adult years. The question then becomes a matter of when it is okay for the survivor to confront the painful emotions; thus, my title.
It is OK to feel the hurt. It is OK to feel that pain that you were never before allowed to feel. The pain simply does not go away on its own. Each survivor of childhood abuse will have to deal with it at some point in their lives. Otherwise, the painful emotions just continue to build up within the survivor. The effects of the abuse do not simply dissipate or go away. They must be dealt with.
When you, as a survivor, begin to confront the painful emotions, the healing process can begin. It is important that you not go through this process alone, but talk with a trusted individual. That person can be a therapist, family member, or good friend. My only suggestion is that the person you talk to be one that you trust entirely with your painful emotions. They must be a person that will listen and help you to find healing in your life. Once you have found that trusted individual, you can then begin to explore what you are feeling. Itís normal to feel intense hurt at what you have endured. Itís OK to cry and to release the pain.
I want to encourage those of you that have endured child abuse. I understand how it feels. I know that it is very painful to explore and confront. Sometimes it feels as though when you start to cry, as you remember things you endured, the tears will not stop. It seems that the tears will just gush and not stop. I promise you that when you begin to release the pain and cry, the tears do indeed stop. I also understand how difficult it is to talk about the memories. Sometimes it feels as though it is entirely too painful to actually speak about what happened. However, it is OK to not only speak about it, but to allow your emotions to surface.
Once those emotions surface, there are some things that you can try to do to help yourself get through it. If you like to color, try drawing a picture of how you are feeling at that moment. If you like to write, try writing about what you are feeling right at that moment. Donít worry about grammar or perfect English. Instead, just write. Write about the memory. Write about how it feels for you to remember those memories. Talk about it. Talk with someone that listens.
Once you start to process the painful memories, it will get better. You will be one step closer to healing from your painful past.