Survivors can be the same inside


I am reading this woman’s blog about how hard it is for her to feel acceptance and support. In this entry, she believed she was getting away from all the hatred she felt directed towards her the day she moved away from her abusive  family. Well, how she said it is much better.

When I was 17, having just graduated from high school and packing up my few belongings in preparation for leaving my parent’s home, I thought I was finally being set free.  I had a sense of accomplishment, having survived their abuse; having made it successfully to graduation.  I had hope that my future, the one I was about to embark on, would be glorious and ever so much better / different than my nightmare past.

I am the same as the writer in that, I have felt the same way too.   I thought if I could just get away from them, I would be alright.  Distance would save me from the people who seemed intent on hurting me.  Surely, I would be better off with strangers than the people who were supposed to be raising me.   I was somewhat wrong, but I didn’t know that in 1976.   Honestly, escaping was my only goal.  I thought I could leave being abused behind, and later, when I was stronger, the damage would be overcome with time.  I left with only wanting to survive and get as far away as possible.

What I didn’t realize and didn’t count on is the fact that, regardless of where I went or what I did, I took myself with me.

I flung my wounded and abused self out into the world. I gained experiences of many different kinds. It was glorious, interesting and wildly frightening. But not in the way I grew up with.  There were times, when I realized I was still hurting inside even though my physical world was safer and nicer than I could have imagined.  After about 10 years, I entered a group of sexual abuse survivors I started a different kind of behavior.  I talked about my experiences with out worrying how others felt about details of what happened. In my  group there was acceptance from others who had experienced similar violations, some worse, some not as bad. Either way, I experienced offers of support, even if I couldn’t accept them always, it was there. And more importantly I felt its comforting presence.

Back then, I didn’t believe the sentence was that weighty. I truly believed I could heal and that I was, in fact, escaping. I left and never looked back. But in spite of years of hard labor, in spite of all of my effort, I am still broken and serving my sentence in solitary confinement. I’m ever so much older, but none the wiser. I left home, but didn’t escape. The damage done could never be undone, though I didn’t realize that for a long, long time. I am in prison, a prison that I carry with me wherever I go, whoever I am with, whatever the situation. I hadn’t a clue that I had lost the battle before I even had the opportunity to fight.

 No longer trapped in my childhood,  the prison he wanted me in, I fought my way to freedom. I no longer want to be left alone, I want to live a fuller life. For me, it started with what I told myself.  He had taken my childhood, but he wasn’t getting the rest of my life.

Back then, I thought since I had survived all the rapist could take from me, nothing else could take me down any further. And I have reminded myself of this very fact over and over as I have faced my life since. Military life, Divorces, moves across country, wild ramblings as I hitchhiked with no thought of the dangers involved. Infertility and even the death of my most loved husband.  Emotionally I am stronger, clearer and not so fogged with unexamined beliefs forced on me by my parents. There are still areas where I know I will not heal  parts of me. I have decided to accept my self and all my damaged areas too.  Small parts of the emotional casualties are; I am still self absorbed, when I am in pain or overwhelmed I withdraw, wary of people who violate boundaries through small actions such as disrespect, I can be friendly but not close.

In the wake of my husbands death, I have turned an eye to my original and remaining members of my family. Could it be different for me now? Could they, now that the perpetrator is gone and ones who did not harm me remain, bring opportunities for us to heal and connect in ways we were all cheated when I was younger.  I wonder how having full access to  my biological and geographical roots, the place where my ancestors settled would impact me.  Knowing the hardships they experienced to clear and make livable the open lands of Ohio are similar to how I endured hardship to make a life for me, in my own fashion.  Would that strenghten me to write more and connect with other survivors who are struggling to regain what remains of their lives.

I am stronger now, clearer, able to defend myself against the most intimate of violences. No longer the child who could not defend herself against enemies, I can fight but can defend myself when it appears my boundaries are being violated.

I wonder how you are different too?


7 thoughts on “Survivors can be the same inside

  1. It is a sad truth that most feel that physically getting away will heal the wounds and then they can move on. I spent almost 30 years healing. Thanks again for another great blog.


  2. Wonderful post Kimmy and I’m 100% in agreement with you. Thanks for sharing this writer’s words that sum up what so many victims face when they first get away from their abusers ie. “What I didn’t realize and didn’t count on is the fact that, regardless of where I went or what I did, I took myself with me.“. So true. You have expanded and added to those thoughts excellently. I must go over and check out that blog as well.


  3. That was written so well. I moved away from my family and then would move back two times but now with four children I want to stay away from them and not have my kids go through the abuse with my mom or dad even though I feel so bad that he has heart problems and loosing both eye sights. I wish it was different so I can spend time with them and have my kids know them. I have been sad lately because my mom hasn’t written to me. I am still struggling with the chains are are holding me to the abuse. I have to cope with the feelings of not loved and the abuse also from my sister. This blog helps so much. Thank you for sharing.


    • kimmysurviving

      Sorry that we both need this blog. It sounds like your struggling with the war between saving yourself and your children from being re abused in your case and abused in your children’s case. Its normal to feel compassion for elderly adults no matter what there history is, and it’s also normal to have conflicting feelings about parents even when they don’t abuse. Its compounded when they do. I hope you are able to make some sense out of the lives we lived. Now that my son is 33, it’s a different story for him around my mother, (my biological father is dead and so is the other step father who raped me for years). He has a understanding of what happened. And he is capable of taking care of himself. What kind of situation are you having to deal with in regards to your childrens ages?


      • My children’s ages are 6 and 7 for the boys and 13 and 8 for my daughters. The three are younger and I had gone through so much physical and mental abuse from him. I know with him sick and not as strong I think he wouldn’t do the same or say they are ruined or ugly and my mom is a control freak with controlling who your friends are how you feel about something. She is a strict Catholic and her options are what me and my kids should feel. I can go on and on. My mom wants me to leave my husband of 14 years. I don’t want to. She wants me to leave him all the kids belongings, the kids won’t see their dad, because he moved me and the kids away. I was a part of that. My mom knows that. My brothers and sisters are struggling with divorce alcohol or drugs. They are not all bad but they think the same way as my mom about me leaving. My older brother said my kids are welcomed but not me. It feels so weird complaining about them because I feel guilty for thinking that way and how I should just keep it to myself. I know how to zone out and not feel because that is what I had to do to cope with my dad.


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