One frustrating thing about trying to hold up an image of a “normal” person while healing from childhood sexual abuse is that it is very draining to live two lives, and it is so easy to slip into the life of the “successful” 9-5 worker instead of allocating enough time for the Little Girl inside of me who’s screaming for help.
So much has happened over the past couple of weeks, which I’m hoping to be able to write about in the coming days, but one thing that has helped me move forward is reading. When there is no one to talk to, when I have no time to write my thoughts down, I often do have time to read.
On my way to work on the bus, on the way to a client meeting, or simply at home just before I go to bed (I know, this does stir some strong feelings, and I often can’t sleep, but my need to comfort myself by reading is bigger than my need to sleep) – there are ways and there is time, I just have to make it.
The one book that I keep reading over and over again is The Courage To Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Courage-Heal-Guide-Survivors-Sexual/dp/0091884209/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290343237&sr=8-1 From Amazon.co.uk, it’s super cheap as well 🙂
Some of the pages of my copy have fallen off ….
I read it A LOT – the best things about this book are:
– It doesn’t have to be read in a chronological order; you can choose a chapter according to what you’re dealing with at that particular point in time
– It offers writing exercises for those who really want to dig deeper into their own souls.
– There are practical examples to back the stuff they talk about, for example, excerpts from what other Survivors have said.
– It is VERY comprehensive because it covers everything from recognizing and honoring the effects of the abuse, to how to change, and how to deal with specific issues such as sexual problems, anger, and confronting the abuser.
This book alone has helped me so so so much, and if I ever had the chance to meet the authors (I think they live in California so far far away) I would probably thank them from the bottom of my heart.
The second book that I bought after having dealt with the memories for a few years already (I ordered The Courage To Heal from Amazon about 6 months after my first flashback) was about how to work with the Inner Child
Again, from Amazon.co.uk at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rescuing-Inner-Child-Sexually-Children/dp/0285650890/ref=pd_sim_b_3
I haven’t actually read this book fully for two reasons:
1. At the time I thought I was ready to deal with the inner child, which is why I got the book in the first place, but after starting to read I felt I wasn’t able to touch that subject yet, and kind of left it lying on my desk. Then I had to move, and now that I’d like to read it, I can’t find it from anywhere! To be honest, I am homeless and the book is in a box in my boyfriend’s mom’s garage (I live with him temporarily) so it can be found, but I just have no energy.
2. The other reason for not continuing reading was that this book requires a lot of work; there are writing exercises and such, and again, at that/this point, I have no energy to do this.
I must say, I cannot wait for the day when I do find the book and have the energy to delve into it, as it sounds very promising (excerpt from Amazon)
“RESCUING THE ‘INNER CHILD’ – Therapy for Adults Sexually Abused as Children – by Penny Parks. – Amid the recent welcome campaign to help child victims of sexual abuse, one group of victims has remained largely untapped: the many thousands of adults who have grown up emotionally crippled by the huge burden of guilt and self-disgust that is the legacy of child abuse, and who are now ongoing victims, unable to form mature sexual relationships, unable to function as adults. Their manifold problems are so acute that few of them can regain their emotional health without professional intervention. Many of these people are now being helped by Parks Inner Child Therapy, and in this important book Penny Parks describes her techniques so that thousands more can be reached and guided to maturity. Her aim is to get through to the hurt child at the adult’s core. By showing her clients how to re-enact their childhood memories, face their experiences and receive the comfort and reassurance that they so badly needed at the time, she helps to desensitise the pain. she encourages them to vent their suppressed anger, guilt and bitterness, to understand what happened to them and gradually to grow and come to terms with themselves and their sexuality. Throughout the book her clients contribute their own experiences, not only of the past, but of the process of the therapy and restoration. Their memories and feelings make painful, often shocking reading but through them other victims and their partners will be able to work out their own necessarily hurtful path to recovery. The effects of sexual abuse have too often been belittled in the past. This book lays bare the full scale of the lasting trauma that is inflicted and provides practical and sympathetic techniques to heal the wounds.”
Last Week I was really anxious once again and went online wanting to get something that would help me to deal with life, with my surfacing memories, with the anxiety and practically everything that I’m dealing with at the moment.
I found this:
It is British-written book on Surviving childhood sexual abuse, aimed at adult survivors (both male and female, although there is an emphasis on women), and I do find it pretty useful.
As with The Courage, one can skip to the chapter that deals with whatever you’re dealing with at that point, so there is no need to read it from cover to cover. There are real-life examples, and the authors are VERY sympathetic to the cause and have this beautiful way of offering comfort and nurture through their writing, and I found that really soothing as I was sitting on the bus reading it while wrapped in my winter coat and drinking hot tea from my age-old Starbucks flask.
It does not, however compare completely with The Courage To Heal; reading it I often felt that they just scratched the surface, and so much was left unsaid.
I haven’t finished the book yet, but skimming it through gives you an indication of what to expect, and I feel that this book will be a great addition to my collection instead of becoming the book that I will turn to when I need comfort.
It does include stuff on how the NHS (National Health Service) is tackling the issue, so hopefully by reading this I’ll have more knowledge on how I might get help.
Having recently received a warning at work because of my poor performance I have decided to work on my self-confidence. I mean, on the surface people at work think I lack knowledge or confidence to do things the right way, but in my heart I know that my low self-esteem permeates everything in my life, and it is soooo frustrating to pretend to be confident while still failing, and then taking the slack for it, when the Little Girl inside of me screams “It’s not my fault!”
While I struggle with not wanting to give excuses and wanting to be “normal”, I cannot push aside that so much was taken from me, and that I SHOULD be allowed to be honest about it, and people SHOULD treat me with compassion. Yet in the real harsh world, it doesn’t work like this, and on top of having to deal with the pain, the anger, the sadness and the ravaging heartache, I have to work twice as hard in “the real world” to achieve what others achieve.
It is NOT fair, but it is what it is.
So, knowing I have low self esteem, and lack self confidence, I thought that on top of working on healing myself, I could at least think about how to gain confidence, and I bought this book:
I just literally picked it from the long list (sadly, there are tons of self-help books for self confidence yet only a few for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Not fair) and I haven’t even really started reading, but I promise to start tonight, and see how it goes. Maybe I can heal that part of me if I just put my mind into it.
On that note, I’m going to go back to bed with my huge mug of Twinings Mango Green Tea and continue my lazy Sunday.
Love & Light,
* Note: ALL my books on this topic are from Amazon. They must be making big bucks from self help books around this topic as it is easier to order anonymously than walk to a book store and buy them….Just a thought.