When I wrote about these issues last year, I realised that some triggers were making me feel the same way that I did as a child. As I started to feel more confident, I realised that I didn’t deserve to feel that way. The last statement before each rose includes the word ‘deserve’, these are the statements I wrote:
- I’m not to blame and I deserve respect
- I will succeed and deserve success
- I deserve to feel comfortable and welcome
As a result of counselling, I have higher self-esteem and I have seen a change in myself, however, I have learnt that I cannot change other people. I find it terribly sad when I meet people who lack empathy and are unable to imagine how someone else might be feeling. I would like you to consider this hypothetical situation:
Imagine you are having a dinner party at your house and you are planning to invite some friends and family. Among the invited guests are your brother and your nephew. Your nephew was abused by your brother and you are fully aware of this. Your nephew is informed that his uncle will be at the dinner party and decides to not attend.
Questions you could have asked yourself prior to the event:
- Do you believe it is right to invite your brother and nephew to the same event?
- How do you think your nephew feels about not being able to attend the event?
If the survivor attends the event, he may feel anxious, angry, triggered and uncomfortable. If the survivor declines the invitation, he may feel excluded and as though he’s being blamed for what happened to him.
Some readers might find it astonishing that I am writing about this subject but, the truth is, these type of situations are a common occurrence for many CSA survivors. I have also been subjected to similar scenarios and have often felt excluded as a result. I think that the only way we can understand each other better in this world is to educate ourselves and listen to others. Therefore I will finish this post with some statements that secondary survivors might wish to consider:
- CSA survivors often battle with a feeling of self-blame so it is wrong for anyone else to make them feel that way.
- CSA survivors deserve love, support and understanding.
- CSA survivors shouldn’t have to encounter their abuser unless they want to.
- CSA survivors shouldn’t feel excluded as a result of their past.
- CSA survivors deserve to be listened to and respected.