It’s far too common for victims and survivors of abuse to doubt their memories and experiences. It’s as if the horror of abuse is too much for us to fully grasp and own. This is especially true for children who are abused. An abused child often has holes in their memory, for a child who has had their abuse denied and ignored when it happened this is even more true. The memories don’t stay away though. They sneak up during our sleep in the form of dreams, they are triggered by movies, books, conversations and relationships.
We learn to live around these memory holes. We adjust our live to accommodate the sneak attacks. We view the world through different lenses and we find it hard to trust. We doubt our reality because we doubt our memories. We distrust our instincts and sometimes find ourselves caught in other abusive or unhealthy relationships because of it.
It is essentially important for abuse survivors to educate themselves on their own abuse, to allow themselves to remember. It is also essential to educate ourselves on the red flags, and stages of abuse in order to be able to avoid it in future relationships.
In order to have healthy relationships, we have to first find healing for ourselves. Ask for help! We need to allow the restoration of the years the locusts have stolen (as described in Joel 2:25). Only once we are well and truly on the way to finding healing can we explore new relationships. There is no equation that fits everyone. What takes months for one person, takes weeks or years for another. Be honest and realistic with yourself, know yourself.
As tempting as it is, rushing into a new relationship is not a wise choice. When we move prematurely, we often find ourselves in an unhealthy place. We usually don’t choose well if we are still adjusting to life outside of abuse.
Be patient. There will come a time when your heart will be at peace, a time when you will be ready to begin anew, in a healthy and safe place.
Make your own path.
Find your own way.
Know yourself first.
Believe that you deserve more.