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So where do I begin to talk about support? I'm sure it seems like an easy enough issue as we all (humans) gain our strength, self-esteem, and confidence from each other. However for a survivor of severe childhood abuse the ability to build healthy, strong relationships (friendships) with others usually becomes a life long challenge.
When a young child has been physically, mentally and emotionally kicked around by adults, the perspective of our own self is typically of shame, disgust and worthlessness because that is what we were told that we were and we usually have no concept of what a healthy relationship is like.
If by chance we are faced with a potentially healthy relationship, we may tend to feel threatened by the goodness, or wholesomeness of the significant other and we begin to feel even more worthless, (like a dark shadow in the presents of goodness), so we tend to shy away from that person or situation in order to preserve the little bit of dignity that we cling onto.
I cannot tell you how to build your support system because as I've said before we are all different. But I can tell you how we built ours!
I had known for many years that I needed professional help but I never had the money that I knew I needed to seek out help so I stumbled through life in a daze and so very confused, not knowing what to do next.
I had had it with being treated like a doormat! I was tired of being put down for my small size and inability to spell correctly and humiliated for the awkward ways that I did things. I was at the end of my rope so I started dropping my old "toxic" friendships one by one (and quite honestly I'm much happier and healthier without them now). I don't even miss them anymore like I thought I would at first.
I already had a dear friend at church who listened as my alters filled her in on a lifetime of sorrow and pain but what I was going through was too much for one person to take on by herself, there is only so much that one person can do and even mentally handle. I needed professional help and we both knew it and for several weeks I hung in there until I completely lost it! I found myself in the bedroom with the gun and only by the grace of God I managed to make that phone call to get the professional help that I needed.
I began to share the memories with my dear friend but I didn't realize the effect that it would have on her! I had too much baggage, sorrow and despair for just one person to cope with. Plus I had to learn that not everyone is capable of dealing with the issues that I had to face. I also had to learn that my friends were there to be just that, my friend! My therapist was there for the heavy stuff! But my biggest support came from Jesus!
And from then on I slowly added more new healthy people to my support system. I found web sites that I could interact in and my younger alters jumped at the chance when anyone wanted to know more. My husband has supported me as much as he could but he has his limitations just like everyone else and I needed every ounce of support that I could get in order for no one person not to get burn out.
But I've discovered that nothing is too big for Jesus and he's always here. In the middle of the night when everyone is asleep, Jesus is awake and listening and ready to help and heal the broken heart that the lonely nights have to offer. If you are a survivor of severe childhood abuse, I know that you have a lot of pain and you have to have an outlet but you should know that if you have supporters who are also willing to let you talk and will listen to your alters as well, that the listener has the potential to dissociate just by hearing the trauma that you are sharing.
In others words take care of the people who support you! Try to limit your alters from talking too much about the abuse and trauma to any one person; with one exception "Your Therapist"! Just as you want your friend to listen to what you have to say and want and need; you should listen to your friend as well and try to understand that they have not faced the kind of past that you have, they still have their own wants and needs that must be met in order for them to stay healthy and be able to continue supporting you as a healthy friend.