The affects of abuse linger far after the actual abuse ends. If you are still battling the aftermath, know that you are not alone and that other survivors stand with you!
This is a very important post and it is going to take a lot out of me to tell this story. I was sexually abused and emotionally abused, and I have witnessed physical abuse to family members too many times to count. This is my first time publicly announcing my #MeToo story. So I pray that this post touches someone else because of my bravery.
Being abused is definitely makes you a different person. Here are a few ways abuse changes you
1. Abuse changes the way we look at others
Survivors are mostly abused by people they know, trust, and maybe even love. So once that person violates their trust in that way, it is very hard for them to trust anyone or let anyone close to them again.
We begin to look at others as a possible abuser and guilty until proven innocent.
As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I am afraid to have children. I never want to bring children in this world with just anyone. I have to know that the man I have children with will protect my child at all costs. That there will never be any situations that put my child in harms way.
Knowing the lack of longevity of relationships, I am afraid of having a child, breaking up with the father and then trying to date again, potentially exposing my child to a predator. Even dating now, I very rarely had any of the guys I dated around my younger nieces or cousins.
As someone who experienced emotional abuse. Having someone constantly use your emotions against you (as a means to force you to do what they want you to do) makes you never want to allow anyone into your heart again. You become afraid that if you love someone again, if you make sacrifices for them again, they will manipulate you and hurt you the same way the last person did.
To point out the obvious, physical abuse makes people more jumpy and reactive,
2. Abuse changes how look at ourselves
Even people who have learned about trauma and maybe even work to educate others on trauma, are changed by trauma. With the emotionally abusive relationship, I sometimes recount every mistake I made and every sign that I missed. Maybe if I would not have done X, he could not have done Y.
Clearly, I was stupid for not noticing how he was taking advantage of me. How could I be so caught up in those moments that I actually believed that he loved me? I should have known he didn’t love me. I should have known that he was capable of being the slime that he turned out to be.
One of the things this person did is recorded a very intimate moment between us and threatened to use them against me. That was over 2 years ago and I still feel like a fool because I should have noticed the camera.
The amount of emotional abuse I have done to myself after that situation, is definitely more intense than he was ever able to do.
3. Abuse changes how we respond to what others may view as normal events
We respond to touch differently
Even though it has been years since I was molested, there are still times in my adult life when I am trying to be intimate with a significant other and my mind may think back and I may pull away from them. I have had to one of my partners to completely stop in an intimate moment because my he touched me in a way that triggered a memory of being touched as a child. I got emotional and needed a moment to just breathe. Luckily this was a great man who understood and just held me.
We respond to anger differently
If someone is mad at me for something I deem insignificant, I may not even talk to them about it. In fact, I may never talk to them again.
For example, someone was upset with me for not returning their text fast enough so I never spoke to them again. He was a relatively new acquaintance, and I thought that he was already showing signs of control and I no longer wanted to be friends with him. I know to some people, I may have overreacted, but I never want someone to have the power to make me feel bad for being normal or being myself ever again.
4. We do extensive research on people before we fall too hard
After my own experience, and founding out that someone I had gone out with a few times was a statutory rapist and a child sexual predator (of victims as young as 8 months old), I make sure I research EVERYONE who I am interested in dating.
I check Google, the local department of corrections websites for recent convictions, and The National Sex Offender Registry.
I have trained myself to be much more careful.
5. The memories never go away
No matter how much time passes, the memories never go away. They creep up on you when you least expect it and it definitely has an affect on your life. As we grow, however, we learn how to cope and hopefully get some form of therapy if we need it.
These are the lasting symptoms after abuse has taken place. If you are interested in learning the signs of abuse, CLICK HERE
If you are in need of assistance due to abuse here are some phone numbers for you to start with.
Crisis Text Line
Text CONNECT to 741741
Text the Police
If you are in danger and cannot speak out loud, you can text “911”