I wish I was not the one to have to write this blog today. But here I am, wondering about how I know that I am healing from abuse. I think everyone heals differently, and that is beautiful. The types of healing takes on different formations too. For me, I began to heal when I wrote my first book.
But that healing was very temporary. Because even though I had exposed myself and named my issues, I had also named the things that helped to create my issues. For example, my Adoptive parents, my Adoptive siblings. The teenager who sexually abused me. My Adoptive mother’s narcissistic personality, my adoptive father’s passivity, my adoptive sisters’ inability to see the light and the truth of what was around them.
And sometimes naming what hurts us can actually open the door to more hurt, more pain, more confusion, more othering.
But I feel I had to do it. I had to take that first step because my physical voice was not loud enough. The screams at night during night terrors didn’t convince them. The bed wetting until age 15 didn’t cause them to repent. The cutting between age eleven and 15 were not deep enough. The bulimia and anorexia didn’t kill me, so in their minds, I was still “ok”.
None. Of. It. Worked.
I couldn’t scream loud enough. But the minute I wrote my first book, the minute I clicked “publish,” a new kind of energy flowed out of me like a gentle stream. The publishing of the book was for me. It was not enough to write it out in journal format. I needed it to be published, on a platform, so that my “journals” could not be thrown away….my life…my essence…my spirit….be forgotten. I knew that if I did not publish who I am, it could one day just be …
After about two years of it being published, I again re-approached my adoptive family. I told them the day it was published. I had no intention of hurting anyone, and once again, like a five year old wanting to be affirmed and valued, I just wanted them to be proud of me. All the years of being told “you can’t“, I wanted them to know that I really could.
But they didn’t care that I had published an entire book. They didn’t care because they didn’t see it as being important. So after I published my first children’s book (after Haiti’s earthquake), I decided it was time to share the children’s book, not really knowing that it would lead them to reading my first book-my journal in the form of a published document.
How did my writing affect them?
All my APs could really think about was themselves. Everything and anything I did had to reflect them in some way. This is why I thought that letting them know of my published material would actually make them love me more….make them look good.
Everything. I. Did. Had. To. Make. Them. Look. Good.
But my first book did not. 6% of it talked about the way my a-mother treated me. It talked about the way my a-father turned a blind eye while she was treating me like shit. It talked about how my a-mother’s boyfriend had treated me, and how she had hid the sexual component of their lives so that my a-father would be oblivious. But the other 94% was about the relationship I had with my now 20-year-old daughter. But they glossed over 94% and focused on the 6 % because that percent made them look bad.
I was disowned.
I received hate male and death threats in the form of:
- snail mail
- phone calls
Once, I was told that if I was ever found on their property, they wouldn’t hesitate to use their gun.
But the book had to be written. It made them angry. But it had to be written because I could not let this part of my life be forgotten. I could not let this part of my life disappear. And I could not let other people who had gone through the same thing, feel that they were alone. I wrote not just for my freedom, but to connect with others.
It has been several years (probably around seven now) since I had communication with my a-mom. Ever so often I speak with my a-father who now lives alone at his workplace. But I have not spoken with my a-mom in years. I rarely speak with my adoptive siblings because they have taken my a-mom’s side. I just can’t deal with that.
But I am healing and I know this. I have come up with six signs that proves that I am healing from abuse and maybe you can relate.
- Pictures: When I see pictures of my a-family, I no longer cringe. (This does not mean I have photos of them hanging up around the house).
- Pity: When I think about them, I actually feel bad for them. I want to find a way to forgive them because I can’t imagine how they can even live with themselves. I can’t imagine how they go to sleep at night, knowing they treated their adopted child in this manner.
- Independent: I no longer feel the need to hear from them. I have no need for them. They are no longer the air I breathe.
- Night-terrors: My night terrors are no longer as intense, and don’t last as long. I can actually remember them a bit when I wake up in the morning.
- Abuse: I’m able to NOT abuse even though I was abused. Many times those who are abused turn out to be abusers as well. I could have easily become that abuser. I know I am healing because I catch myself when i’m slipping into that roll.
- Apologies: Those who abuse are usually not able to apologize. Often abusers feel they have done nothing wrong. They follow suit. But I have learned to apologize without expecting an “I forgive you” back.
There are many more….can you continue the list in the comments? Let’s all continue to heal!