You are eight, can you see yourself then? Go ahead picture yourself, your small hands and body, your height in relation to the adults around you. Got it? Good. Now imagine you are alone with a relative who is watching over you for a few hours. Picture your favorite relative. You sit next to him to watch T.V. You are both enjoying the show together. He tries to make you laugh and you do. You feel comfortable and safe until something turns horribly wrong . Without warning, without even an indication of some kind of switch in the atmosphere, your favorite relative, starts touching in a way he has never done before. He’s looking at you in a totally new way too with an unfamiliar glazed intensity. Pretty soon his hand is down there fondling you and you don’t understand what’s happening or what you are feeling. His big body is closer to you than it’s ever been. You feel sensations and then you feel numb. Everything is a bit hazy after that for you learn quickly how to make an exit, how to go far away as he commits unspeakable crimes to your small body.
This happens again and again, every time he comes over or you go over to his house. You even come to expect it. Years later you look back and remember how it felt good and you feel immense guilt. You start to believe you’re damaged goods, twisted, and corrupted. How could sexual abuse feel good to you? There must be something seriously wrong. Even now as an adult you may be slightly turned on by words or images related to the molestation. It is automatic, like an electric impulse that shoots through your body, before you have time to think that this is wrong, this is disgusting. And then there is shame afterward. You remember the sensations that coursed through your body and you begin to think that somehow you brought this on yourself.
You think maybe you flirted, maybe you gave him a sign that you wanted it. You realize you shouldn’t have sat on his lap tempting him, provoking him to become sexually aroused. You start to believe in the lie that you asked for it. Why else would it happen over and over? Why else would it happen with others as well.
Throughout the years these beliefs form and solidify to become your beliefs about yourself. Everything sexual becomes tainted and dirty. Your relationship with others, becomes this sick back and forth battle for dominance because you find yourself always trying to reclaim what was lost. As you speak on these things as an adult, your voice is void of emotion. You say it so matter of fact, “I was molested” as if saying, “I took ballet lessons”.
The lie is what we believe about ourselves now. It is the underlying feeling we have about ourselves despite being able to intellectualize, that of course, this heinous act could not have been our fault. We were innocent, we were children, for God’s sakes. Unfortunately, sexual abuse does something to us on a deep level. It’s effects are insidious and many times we don’t even realize what we feel about ourselves until in one moment we are challenged in some way and the discord against ourselves jumps out at us. It is this lie of our unworthiness, our brokenness, of being irreparably tainted, which keeps us from the happiness we deserve.
The good news is we have the power to change that. We can change how we think, how we perceive ourselves and what we believe. It takes self examination and the courage to really look inside and challenge who we think we are.
Start today, by just creating your own mantra. Say it over and over until it becomes a part of you.
I am worthy.
I am lovable.
I am innocent.
I am whole.
I am pure.
I am beautiful.
I am free.
I deserve to be loved.
Keep healing and growing….