i had my own conversation with a friend, not long ago, on the challenges of overcoming abuse. i have heard sermons on living the overcoming life, and often interjected into them have been statements about getting over the past and moving on. but those statements have been made with little understanding of what it is one who was abused is really having to get over.
my friend was sexually abused by her step father for most of her childhood. i was verbally and emotionally abused by my peers, my step family, and some of my cousins, for the duration of my childhood. the kind of abuse isnt the real issue. what happened isnt the real issue. and there is more to it than simply healing the hurt feelings over such betrayal and assault. its not about hurt feelings.
the harm that people did to us when we were children, whether physically or not, carries with it greater psychological harm. that is what traumatized us the most, and what followed us like a stalker long after those people had been left behind. what they did was terrible. but why they did it, and did it over and over, is what bewildered us, confused us, and convinced us to be victims. if that were not the truth, then once we left those people behind we would have been fine, and there would have been no more problem.
if you grew up in a good home with loving parents, or even a single parent who loves you, if they are supportive and involved in your development, and teach you how to handle situations with wisdom, and instill confidence in you not only for what you can do but for who you are, then living the overcoming life is not the impossible dream. but if you grow up in house where you are constantly told you are the problem, you are the reason these things happen to you, then overcoming is a foreign word. you will have to overcome yourself, and change yourself, with no tools or resources with which to accomplish this. and no blueprint with which to redesign yourself. and nothing with which to accurately gage your progress.
and you can be sure of one thing. there will be no shortage of significant people to tell you you are failing in that too.
im sorry. does this sound overly dramatic? it may be, to the person who did not grow up used and rejected. that person has no concept of how utterly fundamentally undermined a person can be in their very inner structure as a person. that is what i had to get over. to become a person, to stand on the earth and believe i am as significant as anyone else. even to believe that whether i have anything to offer or not, i am here and i will not be chased off. i will live and have my being as freely as anyone else. it just had more challenges for me than for most to pull this off.
but we can get over it. it takes more than just choosing to. it takes learning a whole new way of being. it takes the attitude that other people dont determine who you are, and dont have the right to do you harm. it takes practice. just acting like you believe in yourself is enough to cause strangers to react differently to you than before. walking with your head up suggests strength, and makes you a less desirable target. and less of a jerk magnet. and its a good beginning place.
getting over it wont happen overnight. but it doesnt have to be never either.