MY LIFE AFTER ABUSE
I am a living proof that anyone can turn things around. From a nadir of emotions in which I struggled with abuse and resentment, I have willed myself to focus on the strength I possess and the fact that I alone can determine how my life turns out.
My sexual abuse started when I was about six years old, and on it went until I was about eleven, most of it coming from friends and family folks who were meant to protect me. Throughout my life, I have been abused by six people – five men and one woman.
My first abuser was the son of a close family friend, who molested me several times. He would invite me to his room, take off my clothes and underwear and start touching my genitals. If he wasn't getting the satisfaction he wanted, he would himself strip and attempt penetration. He did this every time he spotted me around for over four years of my life.
I never talked to anyone about it because right from childhood I was used to keeping things to myself. Though he never threatened me about telling anyone, I kept it to myself nonetheless. Worse still, I was too ashamed to share it with my mother or anyone else since it was exactly what she had been protecting me from and warning me against. It became a normal routine for me and I just never struggled with him or try to stop him.
I used to feel intense pain in the mornings, particularly during bathing: it hurt so badly. I often cried all by myself in the bathroom, and when I was done having my bath, I would wipe my face and pretend nothing was wrong.
At eleven years of age, I was already well exposed and experienced enough to stand up for myself whenever anyone tried to take advantage of me. My relative had a son who was around his mid-twenties at the time, who always came to try to touch me sexually. I initially gave in to him because of my history of sexual abuse but eventually got absolutely fed up over time. I was in fact always irritated by his advances because we were related.
That was the breaking point for me: I made up my mind to stop anyone from ever abusing me again. The obsession of my own relative had now laid the platform for me, and I built on it. I came to realize that every touch, every kiss I ever got or gave was wrong. I started to realize that everything that had been going on in my life was not right. I suddenly realized that in all my life so far, people had merely been taking undue advantage of me, and then I decided resolutely that no one would ever exact such satisfaction of me again.
For a very long time, I did not want to be alive because of my scars. I was suicidal and always angry at everything and anyone who couldn't relate to the fact that I was angry at life. I had to struggle with pain, rejection, depression, hate, anger, and unforgiveness.
Rejection, because I felt alone in the world, like the only one with insurmountable struggles. Depression, because I had so much bottled in – so much pain and agony. I was suffering so much that I couldn't even save myself if I had wanted to. Unforgiveness, because I couldn't bring myself to forgive myself for everything I had made myself go through. So many nights, I'd cry myself to sleep and wish all the memories would be erased by morning. Anger, because I felt vulnerable. I wanted more than anything to see the abusers suffer, and that wasn't happening. And worse still, I couldn't do anything about the situation, so it killed me inside.
After all my bad experiences and all the struggles I had going on in my life, I looked at my life and came to the conclusion that I was a total failure. I focused on my weaknesses. Even when I had the courage to do something, I often expected it to not turn out well, so I never tried. I had the mind of a failure, I had the attitude of a failure, so I failed at virtually everything.
The first 19 years until my healing were the most challenging. I chose to let my abuse mould me into someone I could never be proud of. It was a deep cut. It was easy to blame everything I was on my experience as a bitter person and give excuses for it. To an extent, my abuse was the reason to be the way I was; but I had a choice to either play by the rules and blame it on society, or restart my life and start thinking.
Amidst all the unrest going on in my life, somehow I found God. I found comfort in his love and peace and I was consoled by his promises for my life. He saw me in my darkest moment and loved me in spite of my story. He embraced my scars and called me his own. He filled that vacuum and gave me an expected end – hope. His salvation has given me hope, peace, life, a future, guidance, unconditional love, pride, and reassurance.
The healing started for me when I forgave myself for everything I had made myself go through. All my life since my healing, I had made myself pay for someone else's mistake. I realized that true forgiveness comes from within: the ability to forgive myself was enough for me to finally see the light. Yes, there are definitely scars, but the reality is, it isn't and was never my fault.
I got in total control of my life and how I wanted to feel and I deliberately chose not to be miserable; I chose to live a normal life, I trained myself to forget, managed the pain, fed my soul with healing things, stayed dedicated to them, and gradually the pain faded away. Day after day, I convinced myself that I was not a victim but a fighter.
I accepted myself and embraced my scars and flaws. I couldn't change a thing about what had happened so I stopped worrying about it. Hurting myself only left me feeling worse, and I had everything to lose so I decided choosing to live on purpose would change everything, which is the whole point of life. I had not the slightest idea of why those things had happened but knew it was part of God's plan for my life and I am thankful that he chose me to fight this fight.
I found myself. This was the most beautiful part of my healing process because when I fell in love with myself, I became indestructible. When you genuinely love yourself, you're happy, you're content, you're at peace. You'll breathe fine; you can be/ do anything you want and conquer the world. I strongly believed in myself and everything I stood for. I started focusing on my strength and gradually my life began to take a new turn. I discovered my purpose, set realistic goals for myself, and followed my most intense obsessions tenaciously.
Getting over my abuse was a huge step, but it was a stepping stone to getting over other issues in my life. My abuse had laid the foundation of strength and power. I am at a very good place in my life right now and there is no turning back.
I hope the days come easy, and each day you choose to become a better person for yourself. I hope that one day you reach that place where I am today and even surpass it. I hope you find your own place, peace, purpose, joy, and love in this world. But above all, I hope you find God and hold on to him forever.
Enjoy the journey.