Hello from a long-ago member

This is a place for old members to come and share how their healing journeys have progressed.
Its also a place for those members to reconnect and share their experiences.

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learning
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:29 pm

Hello from a long-ago member

Post by learning » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:05 pm

Hi everyone,

I am a member from a long, long time ago. I haven't been here in a while, and I just wanted to come by and say "hello" to any old timers that may see this, and to offer encouragement to everyone who is here now.

I am a child abuse survivor. I showed up here at isurvive confused, angry, and broken, and more than anything frightened that I would in turn become the same kind of monster with my own kids. I had never faced my abuse before, and I had no idea how to move forward.

This place saved me. From the members who were further along the healing path, I learned how to face the truth, overcome the internal voices that were fighting with my truth, to believe in myself, and to rescue myself. From the members who were traveling alongside me just starting the journey, I found camaraderie, companionship, support, care, understanding, and hands extended toward me to lift me up when I was low as my own hands extended toward them when they were low.

I am still in touch with some of those amazing friends outside of isurvive, but I will forever be grateful to isurvive for having gifted me the opportunity to form those bonds and friendships to begin with.

I have very little contact with my family of origin, and I have created a healthy, happy, full life with my husband and children. The more time that passes, the more clear it is that I made the right choices. Life is never perfect, and like everyone else, I still have to face the occasional demon rearing its ugly head from the past, but as time goes on, the demons are fewer and father between and far less powerful than they were years ago.

I think of this place often, and when I do, I send up heartfelt wishes that those who are here and those who have come and moved on are all finding peace, healing, and joy.

Never think for a moment that where you are now, no matter how difficult it seems, is where you will be for long. Every step, every tiny inch that you move forward on the journey, is important. Even if you go forward and then back again, you have still gone forward. If you had asked me when I began if I would ever get to where I am now, I would have laughed. Those times when you feel like you're crawling through a desert at night, clawing your way forward one agonizing moment at a time, they will fade. You will reach the other side, and you will find the oasis of peace and healing that you seek.

Also never underestimate the power of the care, energy, and support you find here. Even when you reach a point that you don't need to come for support, the words that others so generously offered you while you were here will continue to speak to you through time and space, encouraging you forward and providing the strength and comfort you need to keep going on the journey.

If I could reach out through cyberspace and have all of us grasp hands in a giant circle, peer into your eyes, and tell you that I know, beyond a doubt, that it will all be okay, I would do it right now.

It will all be okay. You are stronger than you know. Trust yourself.

Hugs to you all, old friends and new,
learning
~ learning

The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue. ~Antisthenes
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. ~Willa Cather
(learning to thrive since March 2007, 2248 previous posts)

Jitterbug
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Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by Jitterbug » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:25 pm

A beautiful and caring post. Thank you

Continued peace, joy and well being.

Jitterbug

Harmony
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Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by Harmony » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:44 pm

Dear learning,

This post does my heart good. Thank you so much for thinking of us here and sharing.

with care,
Harmony

enough
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:09 pm

Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by enough » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:14 pm

Hello Learning

I'm very new here, but not new to trying to find my way.

Reading your post has given me a little extra surge of much depleted energy - selfishly - very timely for me, so just wants to say big thanks so much.

Hope, short word...hugely meaningful - just got some.

Enough

learning
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Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:29 pm

Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by learning » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:49 pm

Jitterbug and Harmony, thanks so much for your kind words. :)

Enough, welcome to the site. Hope is such a vital thing in the healing journey, and please never feel selfish for absorbing as much hope or strength or support or anything else you need from here. I learned log ago that what you take from here and put in your bag of strength can carry you through some really difficult times.

Take all you can and never feel selfish!

Hugs to you all,
learning
~ learning

The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue. ~Antisthenes
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. ~Willa Cather
(learning to thrive since March 2007, 2248 previous posts)

Jonesy
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Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by Jonesy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:14 am

Hi learning

What a beautiful post and what a surprise to see your name again ;)
You are important

Email: jonesy@isurvive.org

learning
Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:29 pm

Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by learning » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:36 pm

Hi Jonesy!

I think about my isurvive family from time to time and am still so grateful for the role my time here played in my healing journey. I would never be where I am today without all of you, especially you and the other leaders who make it all possible and keep everyone safe.

Thanks for all you do here. :)

I hope you're doing well,
learning
~ learning

The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue. ~Antisthenes
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. ~Willa Cather
(learning to thrive since March 2007, 2248 previous posts)

wolfspirit
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Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:56 pm

Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by wolfspirit » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:25 pm

learning,
I needed to read your post so badly.
I am in a place of defeat and despair.
I come on here to keep tabs on the friends I have made and it helps me feel a part of something since I've been alone in my struggle most of my life.
I agree; my isurvive siblings are hugely important.

I hear your words of encouragement, but I have a couple of questions for you.
(I began to have flashbacks and memories a year and a half ago. I've been in weekly therapy, since then.)

How did you deal with feeling different than the rest of the world? I know that I learned that from my FOO and mostly my father (main abuser), but there are so many things about me that ARE different. It's not that I want to conform or be "normal". I understand there is no such thing as normal. Its that I struggle on a day-to-day basis with what I know are regular challenges for others.
For instance, I hate being in a loud environment. I hate being in crowds. I hate seeing men and their daughters. There are others but these are the hardest.
I was at a class at the gym and the noise of the music caused my body to almost collapse. My eyes went blurry...Crowds cause panic attacks. Men and daughters make me feel nauseous and sometimes angry.

Also, when did you begin to feel like your inner child, your young self, was healed enough to stop being so present inside?
I feel her every single day. My body and mind feel things and think things that only children do. I can hear her calling out for help or crying or just feel myself wanting to crawl under a table or in a closet all the time.
I deal with this so much that I don't think I will ever heal.

So those are my two questions for you. I appreciate you coming back and sharing your words of support and wisdom.

Thank you,

ws
Wounds are where the light enters you.
Rumi

learning
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Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:29 pm

Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by learning » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:21 pm

Hi Wolfspirit,

I'm so glad to meet you. :) I'm glad you are able to come here to feel connected and find support as you need it. It's a powerful group!

I'll do my best to answer your questions, though I'm certainly no expert in any way. That said, some of the most helpful things I found on my healing journey were the wise words of people who were further along the healing path, so I'll give it my best shot and hope you can find something helpful in it.
wolfspirit wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:25 pm

How did you deal with feeling different than the rest of the world? I know that I learned that from my FOO and mostly my father (main abuser), but there are so many things about me that ARE different. It's not that I want to conform or be "normal". I understand there is no such thing as normal. Its that I struggle on a day-to-day basis with what I know are regular challenges for others.
One thing that helped me was to realize that every person, every single one, is different in some way from everyone else, and that everyone has personal struggles that we often have no idea they're facing. So, in that way, we're all actually the same because we're all working through something.

I think the key is to figure out who you really are and embrace it. Not who you have been told or taught that you are. Not who you think others think you are, but who you really are down in your core, perhaps the you that others have never even really met yet.

For example ...
For instance, I hate being in a loud environment. I hate being in crowds. I hate seeing men and their daughters. There are others but these are the hardest. I was at a class at the gym and the noise of the music caused my body to almost collapse. My eyes went blurry...Crowds cause panic attacks. Men and daughters make me feel nauseous and sometimes angry.
When I read that, I was nodding in understanding. I, too, get overwhelmed in crowds, noise, etc, and I used to think there was something wrong with me. :|

But the more I worked to learn about who I was, I realized that I am a very extreme introvert. I had never even realized it before. My FOO was full of extroverts, and my differentness in that regard was bullied and berated and a source of continual isolation from them. So, I always thought that everyone was like them, and I was "weird" or "strange." Turns out they were wrong ... turns out they were wrong about most things, if not everything.

Introverts are a smaller part of the population, but not a tiny group by any means.

By learning this about myself, and reading about how introverts cope, I have learned how to be in noise and groups and situations that used to overwhelm me by recognizing the challenges I face there and the signs that I've had enough. When I'm going to be in a crowd, I always make sure to build in some quiet downtime afterward to decompress and recover. Being in crowds and noise drains all of my energy stores. Only being alone and in quiet can restore them. So, now I can be in those situations and know that afterward, I will be able to rest and recover. It's not as overwhelming now because I know what to expect and how to cope with it.

One of the hardest things about what we all go through is that so much of who we are is hidden by our need to be safe. After so long of being someone else, someone who is safer from the abuse, we can lose track of who we really are. I always felt like trying to put on the mask of that other person was like having to perform every day on a stage.

Even worse, I didn't even know who I really was or how to be my real self at all. It was a long process of discovering who I was.

Have you ever seen the movie "The Runaway Bride"? It's not the best movie, but there is a scene in it that was like an a-ha moment for me. The main character, played by Julia Roberts, is always dating someone, getting engaged, and then leaving them a the altar. It's a small town with a little diner that everyone eats at. Whenever she's there with her fiance, he orders his eggs, and she says, "I'll have the same."

At one point in the movie, after she's left yet another guy at the altar, the waitress asks her how she wants her eggs. She doesn't know. She has always just said, "I'll have the same." So, the next scene is her in her kitchen cooking eggs in every conceivable way and trying them out. Finally, she knows how she really likes her eggs cooked.

That's how a lot of things went in my learning about myself. I realized just how many things I thought about myself were mostly programmed by my FOO and auto-pilot responses to things. From how I dressed to how I wore my hair to what I ate. Once I started really asking myself what I wanted or what I liked, I found that most of the things I thought about myself were just wrong.

There's a book, kind of a workbook, called "Soul Mapping" by Nina Frost. It guides you though a journey of self-discovery by asking you to make these "maps" of your responses to things, and then you discover patterns in them. I learned so much about myself from that book!

So, I guess the answer to your question is that you are unique, no doubt about it. But, unlike what your FOO may have taught you, that uniqueness is something to be cherished and appreciated, honored and nourished, not tamped down or smothered.

Learn who you are and BE who you are, and you will find a newfound sense of peace and calm in your spirit that you may have never felt before. :)
Also, when did you begin to feel like your inner child, your young self, was healed enough to stop being so present inside?
I feel her every single day. My body and mind feel things and think things that only children do. I can hear her calling out for help or crying or just feel myself wanting to crawl under a table or in a closet all the time.
I deal with this so much that I don't think I will ever heal.
My inner child work was difficult for me. I never even knew she was there for the longest time. But once I started looking for her, there she was. And I really couldn't stand her at first. When I looked at her, she was unhappy and angry, and she responded to nothing. Just a kind of angry, yet disinterested expression that I couldn't fully understand or respond to. I tried ignoring her, but then I just saw her more often. Ugh.

I think I also carried some disappointment toward her at first as well. I thought, "This is your chance to heal, to make progress! DO something!"

Then I tried to stop thinking of her through the perspective of the adult me. When I looked at her as if she were some other child (not myself), I realized how small and young she was. How could I have been blaming someone so young for not doing something?!? I started to be able to nurture her more, tell her how safe we are now, that no one would hurt her again. I would tell her the concrete things I had done to keep us safe ... cutting ties with my parents, getting rid of childhood photos, etc.

Once, when I went into myself to look for her, she was there, still sitting in the same place (was it my childhood bedroom? no sure), but she gave me a kind of softened expression. Not quite a smile, but maybe a look of relief or the beginnings of trust or a letting go of the fear?

Now, when I look for her, she smiles. I don't think of her often at all any more. I think we reached a place a while back where we were just the same person once again.

I'm sure everyone's process with their inner children is different, just as our journeys are all different. But my best advice would be to accept her pain and anguish and nurture that sweet child as best you can. Offer concrete details of what you're doing to heal and be safe. Talk to her like you would another child who is suffering, with comfort and confidence. Once she believes in you, that you are stronger than her and are taking care of her, you will hopefully feel her relax.

I am so sorry that your healing is so painful at times. I think that in spite of our journeys being the same, that is one aspect that we all share. There are mountains and then green, peaceful valleys. Over time, at least for me, the mountains have become smaller, the valleys wider and more sprawling.

It will get better. You will heal. You can do this!!!

I'm so glad you're here among people who understand and will walk alongside you while you do the difficult work of taking those steps forward.

Hang in there. You are definitely asking the right questions!

Keep going forward .. one step at a time.

Hugs, if okay, ((((((((((((((((((wolfspirit)))))))))))))))))

~learning
~ learning

The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue. ~Antisthenes
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. ~Willa Cather
(learning to thrive since March 2007, 2248 previous posts)

wolfspirit
Member
Posts: 1648
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:56 pm

Re: Hello from a long-ago member

Post by wolfspirit » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:53 am

learning,
thank you for a such a caring and detailed explanation of your journey.
I will reread it, like I do VAC's posts, to keep me going when I'm lost.
I am so fortunate to have my isurvive siblings and the mentors/administrators/facilitators here to help me.
I try and come on once a day to get a boost of confidence in forging ahead.

My inner child is so hurt, but I am trying so hard to earn her trust.
It will take more time, I know that.
I have taken steps as you did to protect her.
But I will tell her out loud why she can feel safe, now. I haven't yet done that.

Thank you for the hugs. I need them. I really couldn't accept hugs until my therapist taught me that they are more than just physical contact. They are an exchange of love. Now, when I hug her, I don't want to let go! And when I hug others, I feel more comfortable with the gesture of caring.

Sending a hug back and clapping with joy that you have reached a place of healing that is strong and consistent.

<3,

ws
Wounds are where the light enters you.
Rumi

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