As a survivor you will deal with a wide range of emotions and thoughts. They will most likely conflict. What adds to this is the “advice” you get from family, friends, and others. If the abuser was someone you knew then it can get even more confusing.
Have you ever heard any of these statements from others?
They just had a weak moment, and they aren’t like that anymore.
You just need to forgive them. You are a Christian, aren’t you?
You are tearing our family apart by speaking up. Don’t tell anyone.
It’s your fault because he didn’t know any better.
I could go on and on with these statements. One of the hard things is that you survived an assault (or many) and that brings a wide range of emotions. From anger, rage, grief, sadness, fear, and confusion. Confusion could be that you don’t hate the person that assaulted you.
So, your emotions are all over the place. You may be told that you need to forgive for the good of the family, if the abuser was a family member.
You may be told that you just need to put it behind you and move forward and treat the assailant with respect.
You may be told that since you don’t hate or want the person in jail then it wasn’t an assault.
That is ridiculous as unfortunately sexual assault is one crime where the victim gets blamed. Just because you don’t understand your emotions, or they are contradictory, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
What this comes down too is that you will need to work through your emotions and feelings as well as the trauma and do what’s best for your own healing.
You will need to put aside family issues and relationships that hinder your progress. It’s possible that they may be toxic and adding to the lack of progress you make.
Sometimes to make ultimate progress we must let go of “dead” weight. Once I did that my recovery took off. I felt the chains begin to loosen and I worried less about pleasing people and more about my own healing and where God is taking me.
No matter what you feel, none of your feelings or emotions are wrong. Just be careful not to act on them and also allow them to play out in safe places. Write them out, share them with a trained professional, or a friend that you know understands.
As you work through the process of healing there will be many emotions and other people would love to tell you what you “should” be doing.
Just remember that you will heal on your timeline and that just because you don’t hate the person that hurt you doesn’t mean what they did wasn’t wrong or that it didn’t inflict significant trauma on you.
Give yourself some grace and time for the many emotions to work their way through as you process the trauma. Ignore the negative and people who are out for how they look to others and do what you need. You are loved and cared for and worth getting better.
© 2021 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.