Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits
 


"Reaching Out Child Abuse Monument"
Sculptor: Michael C. Irving, Ph.D.

 

The process of recovery from abuse is long, demanding and very individual. It requires and deserves much support and safety from other people.

When one has been abused, remembering your past is discovering who you are.

Recovery involves accepting, understanding and releasing feelings. It entails connecting behaviour, thoughts and feelings both in the past and in the present.

Recovery is learning about choice, learning how to take care of yourself and learning that it is OK to take care of yourself. It is learning about choice.

If you move the "yuck" out, there is some room for joy.

The timing of recovery might not be when you want. It is important to honour your own process and realize that it is never ending.

     "The core experiences [of child abuse] are disempowerment and disconnection from others. Recovery, therefore, is based upon the empowerment of the survivor and the creation of new connections [with people].

Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In his/her renewed connections with other people, the survivor recreates the psychological faculties that were damaged or deformed by the [abuse] experience..."

     "Recovery unfolds in three stages. The central task of the first stage is the establishment of safety. The central task of the second stage is remembrance and mourning. The central task of the third stage is reconnection with ordinary life."
Judith Lewis Herman, M.D.

TUNNELS OF TEARS

Tunnels of tears
Tunnels of fears
I’ve been wandering through them
For innumerable years!

How did I enter?
And then access the centre
Of the place so filled with sadness and pain
I cannot be reached, not even by mentor

I’d like to turn and run out of this place
But am unable to decide which direction to face.
The further I go the more lost I feel
I panic running here and there, quickening my pace.

This does not alleviate any of my fears
It confuses me thoroughly and brings me to tears.
Frustration, loneliness, fear and sadness
Exponentially increase along with the madness.

Is there a way out?
I’m beginning to doubt!
I feel quite insane but must not remain
Subjected to the horrendous memories that brought this about.

So I beg of you, anyone,
Who has been touched by the sun
To show me the way to follow that light
So that I may perceive what it is like to be done.

Tana

 

 

 

A SHATTERED SOUL SURVIVES

Lightning struck her little heart
And Shattered it in two.
She was just a little girl
There was nothing she could do.
From that day on, she could not feel;
She could not trust or believe in you.

INNONCENCE LOST

The Little girl with the broken heart
Was told not to tell a soul.
It had to be a secret
So no one else would know.
She suffered in her silence.
Her spirit as black as coal.

ALONE

She could not smell the flowers.
For her, they didn't exist.
All things alive were dead to here;
She didn't know they weren't supposed to be.
This little girl made a plan
To protect herself by being strong.


DEATH OF THE HEART

The mother knew; she cried some tears.
But didn't attempt to stop HIM.
So the little girl with the broken heart
Became invisible over the years.
It didn't matter, the torture she'd endure.
She was determined to overcome her fears.

SILENT SUFFERING

Her body was not sacred; it didn't belong to her.
It was for his distorted pleasure; her siblings suffered too.
She's beaten, raped, threatened with death.
It was all part of HIS game.
She knew she'd never trust again.
She'd be okay: she'd see to it!


ENDURANCE


Guardian Angels rescued her.
She'll never forget that day.
Freedom at last: no more helpless suffering;
The truth, she shares with others.
She can't tell most people, though.
They won't believe or understand.


What Does the Future Hold?
Will This Ever Go Away?


The little girl, an adult she became.
No longer was she afraid.
He wouldn't dare touch her again.
So she used her voice and the mother was told.
But, the mother did not listen; she kept seeing HIM
The adult child felt horribly betrayed.


Disbelief and Betrayal = Denial


"That's okay." The adult child said.
I will do it on my own.
So the healing began.
Someone believed her!
She wept with joy.
"Hooray for me! I am Okay!"


JUBILATION!


The years spun by for the adult child.
She was able to find peace in talking about it
With others who had disclosed the same.
Recovery from Hell came bit by bit.
She loves herself now.
She's no longer in that big, black pit.


Healing and Understanding Survival


That adult child, she's here today
With a message to all survivors:
Don't wait, speak out, take a stand;
Do it now; open those doors!
Embrace your children, talk to them.
Don't let child abuse ruin You and Yours!"

Elaine

Discussion - The Process of Recovery from Abuse

Remembering, feeling bad, feeling guilty, accepting, hoping, naming it, believing it and being believed, having someone listen without judgment and telling are all part of the initial process of recovery from abuse.

Recovery from abuse takes a long, long time. It requires stamina, support and safety, both internally and externally. Old habits must change.

A survivor must learn to trust, to grieve, to breathe (“if not, you can’t feel”). It involves confrontation, changing one’s beliefs of self and the world, feelings of confusion, rage, dealing with family and relationships, learning how to take care of one’s self, discovering the power to choose and overcoming unreal and terminal “niceness”.

Survivors will encounter periods of time where they feel guilty and have a fear of not being loved. They feel that love is conditional. They let go of what’s not real, such as taking care of everyone else, not taking care of themselves and defining boundaries. They let go of the fantasies, like “everyone will love me” and “I can get back what was lost”.

There is utter despair when survivors let go of dreams, and emotions like anger, fear and sadness are felt. It’s critical that a survivor have all of these feelings. “If you can have these feelings, if you move the ‘yuck’ out, there’s some room for joy.” They discover the power to choose.

Working through shame takes a long time. Often a survivor takes two steps forward, on step sideways. Recovery is intermittent. “You must do a lot of stuff you don’t want to do.” Such as learning to accept that the timing of recovery might not be when it’s wanted, honouring one’s own process and realizing that the process is never-ending.

There is a lot of secrecy in abuse. In recovering, survivors break the secret and the silence. They listen to their own voice, a voice they have been taught not to hear, and give themselves permission. They must unlearn their lives and what they’ve been taught. They must find out who they are through gender identification, their physical body, by retaking possession of their physical body and by finding their “person”inity.

Elements of recovery can be concurrent, intermittent, simultaneous, continual, not on linear time and run as parallel processes. Survivors revisit these elements with different intensities of emotion and cognition throughout their recovery, and experience a blending of feelings, thought and behaviour.

 

 

Key themes
Recovery is accepting and releasing feelings, connecting with behaviour and thought. It is also remembering your past, discovering who you are, and choosing how you will live.

 

 

REFERENCES ON THE PROCESS OF RECOVERY FROM ABUSE:

Bass, Ellen and Laura Davis. Beginning to Heal: A First Book for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993.

Eller, Ti. “How Can I forgive? A Woman Sexually Abused as a Child Seeks Peace.” Canadian Baptist, November 1994, vol. 140 no. 9, p. 8-10.

Green, Lilian. Ordinary Wonders: Living Recovery From Sexual Abuse. Toronto: Women’s Press, 1992.

Kaye, Marcia. “Nightmare of Childhood Sexual Abuse Can Last A Lifetime But, Increasingly, Adult Survivors Are Waking To Renewed Hopes and Dreams.” Canadian Living, March 1991, vol. 16 no. 3, p. 143, 145-8.

Maltz, Wendy. Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide For Survivors of Sexual Abuse. New York, N.Y.: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992.

Masson, Suzanne. “Breaking the Silence: Recovery From Incest”. Human Medicine, January 1995, vol. 11 no. 1, p. 29-33.

Oksana, Chrystine. Safe Passage to Healing: A Guide for Survivors of Ritual Abuse. New York, N.Y.: Harper Perennial, 1994.

Sinclair, Donna. “From Abuse to Rebirth: Clergy Can Help Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Start Fresh.” United Church Observer, October 1997, Vol. 61 no. 3, p.45-6.


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WHAT RESOURCES EXIST TO HELP IN RECOVERY



I am a Survivor

 

 

 

 

 


It's NOT your fault.

 

 

 

 

 


It's over.
It's done.
And I go on.
Walter

 

 

 

 

 


Tell someone.
Paul

 

 

 

 

 


If we do not speak out
no one knows that
something is wrong!
See me.
Believe me.
Hear me.
I need help from U!

 

 

 

 

 


Together we can
make a difference
and heal our hearts.
Heather

 

 

 

 

 


The place inside me
shines and remains
untouched.
I own my body and
it remains pure
as my spirit.

 

 

 

 

 


Darkness is what
happened...
Now it's my time to
SHINE!!!

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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)


*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)