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Finding Peace

Was abused as a child and am now getting counselling. During the last session the counsellor asked me how could I find peace.

This has thrown me completely - I just can’t envisage reaching a stage where I can say I have found peace. I can’t forgive the perpetrators nor can I tackle them as they are both now dead.

Has anyone found peace following their being deliberately wronged by other person(s)

Thanks Michael

Hello Michael,

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 :frowning:

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.

Anon

Hi Michael

I hope this comes across as intended as the written word isnt always the best way to say what I mean!

But I will try…

The peace you seek comes from within-no external thing (whether that be a person or an action) can 'make ’ you happy. As humans we think that winning the lottery/having the perfect partner or job will make us happy-it doesnt-real happiness/peace comes from within.

You say that you cant forgive the folk as they are borth dead. I questioned recently what ‘forgiveness’ means. Generally it means that you forgive A.N Other for something they did to hurt you. I chose to look at it slightly differently. Forgive myself. In the sense that the bad action is done-it cant be undone-so its me thats keeping all those feelings/anger ‘alive’. So I gave myself ‘permission’ (if you like) to let go of what has happened in the past because its already happened and I cant change it BUT I can chose how I react to it.

I was sexually abused at 14 and it affected my life for many years. But I decided that I wanted to be in control of my life-not let another (*insert expletive of your choice!) ruin it for me.

I hope some of this makes sense! To my friends on here who did not know this bit of info re my past-dont fret, I really am ok, I just wanted to share it with Michael in the hope that he can get some support from my commentsand that it is possible to put difficulties where they belong-behind you.

Take care, life IS good, you make it so.

Ellie x

PS

That should say ‘both’ and not ‘borth’!!!

Having perfect health is another way that folk think will make them happy. I question that too as my health is far from perfect but I am happy.

E x

Hi, at the moment am going through counselling for this issue, and have been for several years… I feel like I get so far and feel like I’m moving on but then things go downhill again, I just can’t put it in the past/let it go. I have extreme feelings of guilt and anger - although a lot of this is directed at myself. I thought it was interesting to read that you ‘chose’ to look at forgiveness differently and how you ‘chose’ to change how you react to your ‘memory’ - I’m just wondering if you could give me some advice on how you did this, because at the moment my traumatic memory is in more control of my life than I am. (feel free to PM me if you want…)

I hope this makes sense - you’re right it hard to express some things in the written word… Carriex

Hi Michael,

Yes I have found peace after betrayal by the two people who are supposed to be your most trusted providers i.e. parents. It took fifteen years and three bereavements, the last my brother who passed in a car accident on his 26th birthday, I was 25 and mother of two children and a loneparent.

The route I took was to get a book on how to psychoanalyse yourself, I read and then used the process. It took many months of I guess soul searching to resolve the many conflicts that I was holding onto. In order to be able to forgive others we need to first learn to forgive ourselves truthfully. Although both parents are strill living neither has any part in my life, but I no longer hold any feelings for them and have no emotional response to thinking about what occurred.

What I did realise was that they themselves were also abused in their lives and they had not resolved their own issues and so the cycle continued. We live in a very sick world where people only pursue the goal of self interest and acquisition in order to be seen to be respectable, the pursuit of this goal renders them oblivious to the realisation that they make no effort to actually be respectable.

Wholeheartedly agree with Ellie whatever path you choose to take only you can resolve the conflict. Like Ellie I am happy with me now and the past is the past and even when it is thought of it is no longer painful.

Take care

Deb x

Hi Michael, Im really sorry to hear of your childhhod problems. I dont have experience of this personally, but maybe I can tell you about someone else`s story, to see if it can help at all.

My aunt was sexually abused by her father (my grandad), from the ages of 4 to 13.

She told her mum about it and she took my aunt and uncle to stay with another member of the family. This was back in the 50s. In those days, this kind of thing was hidden, people were afraid to talk about abuse, as it often attracted a stigma. Plus women couldn`t stand on their own 2 feet then, so more often than not, the abuse carried on.

No-one wanted my aunt, uncle and gran, so they had to return home, to the abuser. but gran did turn on him and the abuse stopped.

Then, my aunt, in her 60s, suddenly became ill with the memories of what happend and sought counselling. She told me how it had helped her. This is what she was advised to do;

to write a letter to her father, telling him how the abuse made her feel…warts and all, as they say.

Then she bunred the letter (of course grandad had died many years earlier). Somehow the guilt, the stress, the shame, all evaporated and aunty was, at last,free of the nightmare.

Why not give it a try yourself, eh?

luv Pollx

Hi Michael

Once you accept that you can not change the past - acceptance - you can then allow yourself to move on.

No need to forgive but you can decide not to let it drive your life. Letting go leads to many more positives.

Best wishes.

Moira

Hi

Have sent u a PM Carrie

E x

Thanks for your replies to what is a very complex issue.

Thanks for the replies especially from ‘anon’

I have a good counsellor and I’m sure I will resolve some of the more difficult issues.