This letter was written by John, an adult survivor of sexual abuse. I thank him for sharing his thoughts and feelings. Through sharing, we can truly learn what’s in the hearts of other survivors and hopefully learn through their experiences and learn the freedom to fly!
Freedom to Fly
My name is John and I find it isn’t easy to find someone to talk to about my childhood abuse. I do believe that I am no longer angry at my abuser. He has been deceased for a few years now, so in a sense, I am free. I’m not aware of bitterness within me – the anger that used to eat me up seems to be gone. I have no desire to hold on to what happened. I do want to be free from the way it can still affect my life. I am in my sixty-forth year now, yet young in spirit. I have an abundance of interests in life, the days are far to short for me. Yet, the child in me needs to be held, to be listened too. I am no longer that child. I need to learn how not to allow the child within to control my adult life.
I thank you for listening,
My Response Letter
I’m Cheryl, a Havoca friend for Jamie’s site. He forwarded your letter to me, with hopes that I could help you in some way. I’m not sure if I can, but I will try my best.
First off, I have several writings on HAVOCA’s site if you’d like to read them. Some may be of interest to you, some, may not. On the left hand margin of the main page, you will see a list of various links you can click on. My writings are under Abuse Information, Letters, (letters to other survivors) and Quiet Corner. I also have a brand new write-up called Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse on a page of its own. You can find it directly beneath Abuse Information as well. Hope some of this helps you.
I enjoy writing, and being comfortable expressing myself, I feel I might be able to help survivors like me. At least I hope so. I’ve contributed and shared my own life’s story with others as well as listening to their own. It’s good to share, we learn so much through sharing. We learn we are not alone.
There are many survivors who have the same feelings regarding abuse during their adult life. Whether we know it or not, our abuse effects us for the long term. We may not think it does, but it does. What happens to us as children truly molds us into the adults we become. It’s part of our past, our history, and a part of who we are. We have to learn as individuals how to handle our pasts in the healthiest way, so we can feel peace within ourselves.
You mentioned that it isn’t easy to find someone to talk to about your abuse. You’d be amazed how many are willing to listen. Please, do share your life’s story with me when you are ready. I will listen and give you my most honest thoughts. I’m not a counselor by any means; but I’m a good listener and between us perhaps I can help provide the freedom to fly.
As well as writing to me, you can journal. Journaling is very therapeutic and I highly recommend it. It’s never too late to write and it’s an amazing release. I’ve done a lot of journaling in the past and believe it’s been helpful. Write your thoughts and feelings down, fill empty pages you can call your own.
It sounds like you’ve been dealing with your abuse, but it’s important to ask yourself if you’re truly at peace within. At sixty-four years, is your inner child at rest, are you, the adult, content. Have you faced your feelings head on? You said you want to be free from the way your abuse still affects your life. In order to be free, you have to face it. You can’t deny your past; it’s a part of who you are.
You mentioned that you have no desire to hold on to what happened, yet your inner child still needs to be addressed. John, the little person inside you, still needs to be held and listened too. You, the adult can help. Face your child’s inner pain; let yourself see him, comfort him. You are the one that has to nurture and love him, and most importantly, forgive. Perhaps once your child is at peace, he will no longer want to control your adult life.
Sometimes when we write our inner-most thoughts and feelings, we find there are other issues to be resolved. You said “I do believe I am no longer angry, I’m not aware of bitterness within.” Writing will make you aware. Writing will help you face the reality of your abuse. Writing will bring you contentment, inner-peace and the freedom to fly.
I’ve written about my inner child, I’ve written to my abuser, I’ve written my life’s story, poetry, letters to other survivors and more. It feels good to write, and in helping others, I learn so much about myself. You can do that too. Try writing to your inner child and your abuser. Let your thoughts and feelings be expressed through the written word. It lightens the heart, cleanses the soul.
Anger is such a strong word. Do we truly stay angry at our abusers for a life time? Some of us do. Some of us come to terms with our feelings better then others. My abuser just died last October, two thousand and two. He lived to be one-hundred and one years, quite the milestone.
He was my step-grandfather.
A few years before his passing, I faced this man with courage I never knew I had. It was time to defend the little girl within me. She deserved that much. Facing him wasn’t easy, but it needed to be done. I couldn’t feel peace until I read him my letter, until I expressed how he affected my life. It felt good to share what was written from my heart. It gave me a sense of peace.
Are we ever truly free from our abusers? In death, we are, but in our thoughts, they are always there. I have no idea why, but I really cried at his funeral. My abuser had been a part of my life for over forty years. His death was a lot to process. No longer was his physical form there to remind me, but his spiritual entity will always be. What happened will always be a part of me.
As a child, I was angry. I behaved badly and was always in trouble. I think my being molested contributed to that. I had no one to talk too; sexual abuse wasn’t discussed back then. We didn’t have the knowledge children have today. I’m so glad our society is more open now regarding this issue. Kids have a chance to survive the unspeakable it happens. They know they aren’t alone.
Life’s behaviors are hard to change. I can still be a very angry person. I react much too quickly in situations I should be able to handle. I’m not proud of my anger, but it seems to be a part of who I am. It’s one of my weaknesses I have to work on. I don’t know if my anger stems from my abuse, or just learned behavior on my part. Being truthful, I think it’s both.
Like you, I don’t dwell on my abuse anymore. I’ve passed that now. I’ve faced my abuser, made peace with him before he died. I’m glad I had the chance. Not all of us do. I don’t think any survivors want to dwell on their past during their adult lives. Some of us can’t get past it, but some of us do. With counseling, help from family, loved ones, and friends, we can begin to heal. Survivors, too, are a valuable part of the healing process. Sharing with each other is a gift, a gift we can truly understand. There is strength in our words, words express so much more then we are sometimes willing to give in person. Words come from within; they truly express who we are. It’s important to keep sharing.
We will not always be free from how our abuse affects our lives, John. Young and old, alike, we will have relapses, we will shed our tears. But with help and guidance and most of all, love from families and friends, we can succeed and truly believe in ourselves. We are worth believing in.
Life is a gift, and we need to live each day to the fullest and cherish new memories. To do this, we have to happy with who we are, who we’ve become. We have to accept our pasts as being a part of us. We have to accept the child within as well, and learn to nurture, love and forgive.
We as adults can nurture our inner child. We can find forgiveness and acceptance in the little person who is so much a part of us. In forgiving and accepting, we learn to love and respect who we are now, as adults. We learn to deal with life’s situations in a healthier way. It’s not always easy to control our inner children, but all we can do is try to do the best in our circumstances. Each of us carries our own inner strength, and it’s up to us to let our strength guide us in the right direction. The sky is the limit. We have the freedom to fly, spread our wings like a butterfly, and soar to new beginnings.
John, don’t be hard on yourself if your inner child comes out now and again. After all, this little person is a part of who you are. Let yourself see him, hold him close to your heart. Let him be heard. He deserves his feelings acknowledged, not denied. Suppressing them only hurts, and in order to heal, he has to let them go.
You are right, you are no longer that child, but you still have to accept your inner child will prevail once in awhile. And when he does, you will love him unconditionally, regardless. We can’t always control, but in parenting your inner child, and most importantly, in loving and forgiving, you will find acceptance in who you are. A Survivor who has the freedom to fly.
Take care, John,