Sorry for posting Anon but because I am writing about someone else too, I want to protect their privacy.
My daughter was sexually abused by her father (my then husband) at the age of 2 and he was emotionally abusive to me for years.
To say I was angry when I found out about what he did to my child is such an understatement. The way I got through it and helped my daughter manage it was by realising that if I fell apart or my daughter grew up damaged by what he did, he would be succeeding in continuing the abuse.
I made a very conscious decison to make our live happy and fulfilled. As Chocorange says, it is a choice. I didn’t want to be a vicitm. I didn’t want my daughter to be a victim. Being a “survivor” wasn’t good enough either. Surviving implies a mere existence and I wanted us both to LIVE, in the fullest sense of the word.
We both had a lot of counselling but the real corner stone of the whole process was recognising that NONE of it was my fault and definitely not my daughters. Even at 2 she was blaming herself
It was about putting the responsibility for his actions with HIM. And realising that while he chose to make appalling decisons, I have the power to make really positive choices. It was a matter of taking control of my life and emotions, no longer allowing his distorted view of the world to shape my reality.
Put like that it sounds really simple but it wasn’t. It took about 3 years for the pain and anger to settle and even now 11 years on there are moments of sheer fury at what he did. But for my daughter to grow up undamaged it was so important for me to as strong and warm and loving as he was weak and cold and hateful. The best way for me to help my daughter was for me to help myself and to not let his shadow lurk over our lives. It was a really tough time in my life but now I am not only happy but content which is actually more important than happiness and my daughter is a strong, cpapable, loving, kindly soul who is showing no signs of problems stemming from the abuse.
I think the worst thing about abuse is that it strips away your sense of control in life. Regaining that and reforming my sense of identity and allowing my daughter to be who she really is were such important parts of healing from it.
Also important is knowing when to let go of the “I was abused” identity that we form about ourselves and to leave it to rest in the past. The ‘moving on’ stage can be very difficult to recognise but again I think it comes back to having the lnowledge that YOU are in control of your life and YOU can make choices to benefit yourself.
And finally? Be very kind to yourself. Being kind to my daughter was easy, being kind to myself was much harder until I realised that I was as deserving of the same kindness I was showing her. And by being kind, I mean things like, don’t dwell on the past, don’t replay scenes of it in your head. When unpleasant memoreis and images come to mind replace them with more positive thoughts, DO something nice for yourself. Prove to yourself that you deserve love and kindness.
Good luck and trust me, the future can be and will be bright again.