What Not to Say to A Childhood Abuse Survivor [entry-title permalink="0"]

never leave your truth behind 002


What Not to Say to A Childhood Abuse Survivor


Move on

Stop living in the past.

You need to forgive

Your not over that already?

It wasn’t that bad.

It only happened once.

You can’t let that affect you.

Are you sure you were abused? Maybe you can’t handle sexual intimacy because you are with the wrong person.

Maybe you should get on medication (like just get on meds and you’ll be okay, or you need meds because you feel too much or you need to get your emotions under control) Meds can be very helpful but not when the suggestion is used to make someone else less uncomfortable with your emotions.

You are too sensitive.

You sure that happened? Maybe you are confused.

I doubt that’s what happened.

You should really keep that to yourself.

You should be grateful for your abuse, it helped you move beyond your ego self and connect with your infinite self.

You need to have a relationship with him/her (he’s your brother, your father, your grandfather, she’s your mom)

I’m sure he’s sorry.

You can’t be angry all your life.

You should be grateful it wasn’t worse.

At least he didn’t rape you or was it just fondling? Or she didn’t break any bones did she?

I am sure they didn’t mean it.

Everybody makes mistakes.


I won’t even go into the explanation of why any of the above, is ludicrous and insensitive. Time and  again, I hear stories of survivors who have been told the above, by either well meaning or not so compassionate people who simply don’t get it or are not facing their own demons and are uncomfortable with you facing yours. 

Awareness and sensitivity come a long way in helping others heal…it is the ignorancethat re-wounds the trauma survivor all over again.  As I watch the deflection going on with Mia Farrow and her lack of response about her brother, I am reminded of how much we just don’t want to look at this, how fearful we are of facing it. That fear is where these comments stem from, they come from not wanting to face the truth, they come from a deep rooted denial against that which we cannot comprehend, that which is too ugly to face, that which forces us to see people we admire in a dark and unseemly light.

How can they be both?

The truth is we are all complex beings holding light and dark. And sometimes this dichotomy reaches extremes.

How can someone be so funny, kind, talented and touch little girls? Men or women who abuse children are not always the creepy guy stalking children at the playground or the mother who openly beats her child in the supermarket. They are often the very together looking mom at the PTA meeting or the funny, social, salt of the earth kind of guy living next door to you.

Thinking that people who abuse look a certain way, is a big part of the problem.

If anything like this is said to you, don’t close yourself down because of the errors of a few. There are people who will listen and hold space for your truth. In fact I’ve created just one of these spaces and get to witness the power of women being seen and heard and the healing that brings, on a daily basis.

Find your safe space, find your safe people..people who get how devastating sexual abuse is and how the effects stay with you long after it is over.

Find people who understand that healing takes time, that abuse alters the way we see ourselves and how we engage with others and that you and your body never forget.

Find people who believe in the power of community and healing. People who will hold you up in your highest light even when the threads of the past leave you feeling broken and damaged.

Find those people.