So where do I begin to talk about support? I'm sure it seems like an
easy enough issue as we all (humans) gain our strength, self-esteem, and
confidence from each other. However for a survivor of severe childhood
abuse the ability to build healthy, strong relationships (friendships)
with others usually becomes a life long challenge.
When a young child has been physically, mentally and emotionally kicked
around by adults, the perspective of our own self is typically of shame,
disgust and worthlessness because that is what we were told that we were and we
usually have no concept of what a healthy relationship is like.
If by chance we are faced with a potentially healthy relationship, we
may tend to feel threatened by the goodness, or wholesomeness of the
significant other and we begin to feel even more worthless, (like a
dark shadow in the presents of goodness), so we tend to shy away from
that person or situation in order to preserve the little bit of dignity
that we cling onto.
I cannot tell you how to build your support system because as I've said
before we are all different. But I can tell you how we built ours!
I had known for many years that I needed professional help but I never
had the money that I knew I needed to seek out help so I stumbled through life in a daze
and so very confused, not knowing what to do next.
I had had it with being treated like a doormat! I was tired of being put
down for my small size and inability to spell correctly and humiliated
for the awkward ways that I did things. I was at the end of
my rope so I started dropping my old "toxic" friendships one by one (and
quite honestly I'm much happier and healthier without them now). I don't
even miss them anymore like I thought I would at first.
I already had a dear friend at church who listened as my alters filled
her in on a lifetime of sorrow and pain but what I was going thru was
too much for one person to take on by herself, there is only so much
that one person can do and even mentally handle. I needed professional
help and we both knew it and for several weeks I hung in there until I
completely lost it! I found myself in the bedroom with the gun and only
by the grace of God I managed to make that phone call to get the
professional help that I needed.
I began to share the memories with my dear friend but I didn't realize
the effect that it would have on her! I had too much baggage, sorrow and
despair for just one person to cope with. Plus I had to learn
that not everyone is capable of dealing with the issues that I had to
face. I also had to learn that my friends were there to be just that, my
friend! My therapist was there for the heavy stuff! But my
biggest support came from Jesus!
And from then on I slowly added more new healthy people to my support
system. I found web sites that I could interact in and my younger alters
jumped at the chance when anyone wanted to know more. My husband has
supported me as much as he could but he has his limitations just like
everyone else and I needed every ounce of support that I could get in
order for no one person not to get burn out.
But I've learned that nothing is too big for Jesus and he's always here.
In the middle of the night when everyone is asleep, Jesus is awake and
listening and ready to help and heal the broken heart that the lonely
nights have to offer. If you are a survivor of severe childhood abuse, I
know that you have a lot of pain and you have to have an outlet but you
should know that if you have supporters who are also willing to let you
talk and will listen to your alters as well, that the listener has the
potential to dissociate just by hearing the trauma that you are
In others words take care of the people who support you! Try to limit
your alters from talking too much about the abuse and trauma to any one
person; with one exception "Your Therapist"! Just as you want your
friend to listen to what you have to say and want and need; you should
listen to your friend as well and try to understand that they have not
faced the kind of past that you have, they still have their own wants
and needs that must be met in order for them to stay healthy and be able
to continue supporting you as a healthy friend.
Actually did you know that this is part of the healing process? Learning
how to be a friend to someone! It's not an easy thing to learn but once
you get the hang of it, it will be worth all of your time and efforts.
You'll have a healthy devoted friend who can laugh with you, just as
easy as they can cry with you, and that is what friendship is, a two way
street. But above all remember to "Stay Safe"!
By: Candy Little