When recovering from abuse or rape, it's common to focus on the negative things -- the flashbacks, the fear, the guilt. But what about the success stories, the victories in overcoming those things? It's a long process, but there are points along the way when you realize that you've made progress, that things aren't as bad as they used to be, that you're starting to move on with your life.
I thought I'd start this topic so people who feel like they're making progress in recovering from their past can share their victories and give a little encouragement.
So, what successes have you had in recovering? What are your victories? How did you get there? What helped you the most?
Well, nobody's weighed in yet so I'll start, even though the sucess is my wife's as she's the incest survivor. she told me early on in our dating history that her dad had sexually abused her. I almost broke it off there, thinking she had to many problems for me. Love however doesn't make any sense and I married her. After I returned form reserve duty in the Persian gulf, she was having LOTS of problems and started therapy. At one point durring that therapy we were celibate for a year, THAT is tough as a married man to accept. After it was over, our sex together is SO much better, it's hard to believe I thought what we were doing before was even sex. Our relationship beyond the sexual is better also. I've learned to listen without trying to fix everything, I'm learning to express my needs (still need work on that). But Life is a work in progress.
------------------ We are starstuff, we are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out
I was raped two years ago, and was very depressed for a while. But now, I'm pretty much fine. I'm not a wreck anymore, I'm living my life and doing exciting wonderful things. Recently, I've even be able to do some sexual things with my boyfriend that have made me nervous, zone-out prone, and flashback-prone in the past. I trust him so much, and I feel stable enough on my own that should something go a bit wrong emotionally, I know that I won't fall apart.
On the night of the two year anniversary, my boyfriend slept over and held me all night. I said to him, "Look, he won. Two years later, he's out living and being happy, and I haven't done anything. I'm still a mess. Look, two years later, and all I can do is cuddle with you and cry." He said, "No sweetie, he didn't win. You're still alive. And you haven't done nothing. You became an anti-violence educator." That was a really special moment because he helped me see something that I hadn't thought about before. Two years later, the man who raped me is still probably really messed up, and still probably violent (I heard that he beat up his ex-girlfriend last year). Two years later, I'm living my life, loving, creating, and educating. So really, I won.
I didn't know that about you(probably too busy wallowing in my own self pity), PoetGirlNy, but now I do, I think you are so cool. You are an inspiration to me.
Posts: 896 | From: Europe | Registered: Nov 2001
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I thought I'd share a fairly recent victory of mine. For most of the time that I've been involved with my partner, I've been able to enjoy sex -- aside from the fact that I invariably burst into tears afterwards, for no particular reason other than that I still associate sex with being forced and hurt. (Not that my partner ever forces me, or hurts me -- nothing could be farther from the truth; it's all old crap from my previous relationship.)
Recently, though, I noticed that for the most part, I'm not crying after sex anymore, and I'm also breaking my old sex = violence association. It's a really good feeling.
My girlfriend was rape recently by her cousin. She was a victim of the "date-rape drug". She had always wanted me to be her first sex experience but now she blamed herself for not taking my advice about being too trusting that relative of hers.
She is in hiding now and she will only call me once a week. She didn't want her parents to know or anyone for that matter. That really kills me as being her boyfriend, I can't do anything about it. She treaten to kill herself if any of her family finds out about this. You see, she is from a very conservative family and it's considered a shame to be a non-virgin before marriage. She also didn't want her aunt to lose her only (bastard) son. Hence, she intend to swallow this guilt herself alone.
Now, what must I do and how should I comfort her? She won't even let me know where she is and not even the number to contact her.
I'm terribly worried!
[This message has been edited by blurr (edited 06-18-2002).]
Sweetie, this topic is for people to discuss the victories they've had in overcoming the trauma of rape or abuse, which likely is why no one's responded to you yet.
I'd suggest posting your question in this topic: http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/Forum9/HTML/000006.html Normally we frown upon double-posting the same question, but if you want to post your question in that topic, I'll go ahead and delete it from this one. Okay? You should get more responses in that topic, and it'll help us keep the boards organized better.
I was a victim of rape and abuse too with an ex-boyfriend, and that relationship lasted 2 years. (I was so afraid to leave the relationship, thinking I'd get hurt even more) But it's been 3 years since I've had to deal with any of that, and each day I find myself forgetting, forgiving, and learning to see the future instead of the past.
I'm currently in a relationship which has lasted 8 months now. The first 3 months of being with him I was hesitant of even being touched at all, and now I hate being without the feeling of his arms around me.
I've learned to accept myself, to be happy that I'm the girl who I am. Even with this horrific experience behind me, it's in a way helped me. I can now relate to others who have been abused and raped, and help THEM. Which is the greatest feeling in the world.
Posts: 78 | From: wisconsin | Registered: Aug 2007
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When I was around 5 I was molested. Even though the incident occured over 12 years ago, I still rememeber it vividly. I felt so helpless and lost. I have even struggled with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life.
Now I'm happy with my life, for the most part. I have friends and family who love me, and a boy who loves me, and I know now that the experience I had when I was 5 only made me a stronger person.
Posts: 30 | From: USA | Registered: Mar 2008
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I was molested when I was 10 but after 9 years I came out to a friend and it was relieving. I went to a counselor at my college and I had flash backs but because I told someone I wasn't in complete trust of it seemed like a pretty monumental step. I then told my uu minister and then one of my closest friends and found out she had been raped (which was surprising to me and actually quite lovely, knowing someone who could understand a bit better). And then I told a male friend of mine one night and within the same hour he wanted to know if I was interested in him on a romantic level. And then recently I told a gay guy friend of mine. I'm mentioning these because it took me 9 years to tell anyone and during that time it festered. I actually talk about what happened to me to my friends on occasion. I am able to use my experience to give sound advice about how to put life in perspective. I have a wonderful group of friends and a uu minister that love me dearly. I have since been trying to separate what happened to me with good, healthy relationships with others. I don't flinch as much when I am touched and I can give others hugs if I feel that they absolutely need to be given human contact(e.g. someone who is emotionally overwhelmed). I am in a group for survivors of abuse, excluding sexual abuse, and I will be able to council people by next year. I want to be trained to council those of sexual abuse through my local rape crisis center. I am learning how to use my voice more and gaining more self-confidence and self-esteem. Everyday I take another step and I try to find something to be grateful for.
-------------------- "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep balance you must keep moving." Albert Einstein
"The most intimate connections are that of today and tomorrow"-unknown Posts: 11 | From: College | Registered: Mar 2008
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I was in a very abusive relationship two years ago. Afterwards, I didn't call it abuse, I didn't call it rape... but when I started college, I saw a poster for a support group for survivors, and I went. I don't remember the first meeting, all I remember is crying for days afterwards. I kept going, and found a community of survivors on my campus. I learned that the pain was easier to handle with other people who knew what I was going through.
At the beginning of this year, I was asked to be a student facilitator of the group, and it's been one of the single most rewarding experiences of my life.
Also back in September, I publicly told my story in front of dozens of people at an event. I owned my story in a way that I never had before.
When I was home this past winter break, I spoke to my abuser. I needed to be able to not be afraid of going to this or that party with my friends because of him. I was looking for a truce. He gave me an apology, not asking for it to be accepted. He admitted abusing me to my face and in a written letter. He just wanted me to know that he realized what he had done, and knew he could never make it better. I generally do not encourage people to speak to their perpetrators, and I prepared myself to talk with him for many months beforehand. But that day, he gave me back my faith in humanity, that everyone can change for the better.
I've been dating someone for a while now, and it was incredibly hard at the start. The idea of being in a relationship terrified me, because I was so afraid of being controlled. But we worked through it, we worked through my flashbacks and my fears. It was *our* process, not just mine.
Here I am, two years later, and while the issue of being a survivor is still very central in my life because I facilitate a support group, it's not central to my identity. My name is on fliers all over campus, and my story isn't a secret. It's something I'm proud of.
I hope my story helps... I genuinely believe what happened to me has turned into something amazingly positive in my life. I'm stronger because of it. I'm more compassionate because of it it. I'm braver because of it. I have better communication with my boyfriend because of it.
I've gone through hell and watched so many others go through hell, but going through it together has made it so much easier. And, cliche as it is, there's always light on the other side. Sometimes you have to go through a worse hell and deal with the issues to come out on the other side, but the other side is there. And I was very lucky to have people telling me that all along the way.
Posts: 2262 | From: in transition | Registered: Apr 2008
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asurvivor, that's a really awesome story! Reading that seriously made my day. It's always really great to hear about people coping with their abuses and being able to help other people in such a tremendous way. If you or the people in your support group are interested, Scarleteen is actually working with Jennifer Baumgardner on a new project of hers called I Was Raped which we are hoping will draw attention to rape survivors in a positive way and help people break the silence of being a rape victim. You can check it out here.
-------------------- Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007
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