Sometimes, it shows up in what some would call "quirky" behavior. They are just a little "eccentric". A tad "off base". I know one adult woman survivor who panicked - literally broke out into a sweat - when she realized that her infant had outgrown her "onesies".
She had unconsciously thought of them as an "extra protection" for her child and hadn't considered what would happen when her infant could no longer wear them - until she could no longer wear them. "And here I thought I had completely healed," she lamented to me.
"......so, maybe I'm just venting ... but there's a thing most people don't know, a thing that traps us in a self-defeating spiral into an abyss of our own making, and their making, somehow inescapable even when we speak, tell the secrets ... pray and try and fail ... use it if you wish ..."
Do yourself a favor: try not to make it "okay". Try not to "fix it" for her. And, please, don't offer her any well-intended advice.One last truthMarthe WalshOn the day Penn State paid a partial pricefor protecting a predator, hidingin silence a vile pedophile to keepmoney flowing, protect a legacy,institutional “honor” and a game,a truth only a survivor can tell:the “closure,” the “healing” you all so cravewill not come for those abused, no “relief”no neat final chapter while this culturedeifies “winners,” dismisses victimsgrubby, imperfect, trapped in the lessonthat liars forfeit pity, compassion,all while teaching us to lie just to live,lie, to keep loved ones from walking away,lie, to therapists expecting “progress,”lie, to stop seeming damaged, a problemto those weary of the burden of ourtragedy, our failure to overcome,make lemonade, become ever “stronger”because it did not kill our flesh –not yet-lie, to satisfy your need to believewe’ve “outgrown” the nightmares, “processed” the shameinto an appropriate attitudeof fierce resilient positivity.No, it was not our fault, but the assaultcontinues with every set of eyesturned away, uneasy with our uglytruth, reinforcing our unworthinesswith queasy silence or pale platitudes.No one wants to “get over it” more thanwe do, so we pretend to be okay,lie, to you, to ourselves, hide our failureto bootstrap, rise above, ever trust love.We try to be like you, but that’s a lie,mostly we hide … and pay and pay and pay …
She's been living with this, she tells me, for over 50 years. I suspect, no matter how solid and good and noble, she's heard it all before.
At any rate, this time, this isn't about me or you.
It's about her.
Just let her truth sit with you for awhile and then share it with anyone who feels self-satisfied about the punishment of Jerry Sandusky and Penn State or says something about "justice being done".I'm not saying that Sandusky - or any perp - shouldn't be prosecuted to the full extent of the law or that Penn State - or any institution, including the Church - should not be held accountable.I'm not saying that the "justice system" didn't work in this case. I'm just saying that, sometimes, justice isn't enough.
Sometimes, nothing is enough - especially if our expectation is that someone will be "completely healed' after this kind of abuse.
I'm just saying that the next time you or I even get a whiff of child or young adult sexual abuse ........well.......remember this poem. Remember this scar. Remember this truth.Maybe, just maybe, if more adult "survivors" told their truth - felt that it was okay to tell their truth, even though it will make us squirm - there would be fewer victimized children.That's my hope, anyway. It's all I've really got, so please don't try to take it from me, okay?Truth be told, hope that this will never happen again is the only truth any of us have. It's a fragile truth and an even more fragile hope, but what else have we got, really, except that that fragile truth combined with that fragile hope will lead us to strong, preventative action.Because Mark Emmert is right: The truth is that nothing can change the damage done to those who have been sexually abused.