What is healing from sexual abuse?

Have I found it? Perhaps it is the absence of negative symptoms—the flashbacks gone, the triggers much less active, the sense of wrongness about myself replaced by a general sense of rightness. I know that I like where I am and who I am. The closed and fearful parts of me take less space.

I know where my weak spots are. I’ll always be susceptible to the fear that people won’t believe me, or that they won’t hear me. I notice when that feeling comes up and I can talk to my inner child to let her know I hear the feeling and it’s just a feeling. We’ll have to see if it’s really true that the particular person won’t hear me. These core issues are so familiar, they are almost like wild animals that have been tamed. Sometimes I can chuckle at them.

But healing is a lot more than the absence of bad feelings and patterns. It is the positive presence in my life of the joy and solidity that was my birthright. I think I am fortunate to be a person of natural enthusiasm and liveliness. Now this is manifest in my writing, dancing, my garden and walks in nature, and recently, painting abstract canvases full of movement and emerging light.

Healing is a sense of connection and wholeness. It’s not every moment that I feel connected to the world of people, trees, and clouds. Even the best mystics seem to get there only part of the time. But I do find that place of light and love pretty frequently.

Healing is carrying my own love inside me. Loving my inner child is key to loving all else. I learned to find and love my inner child through the mediation of my therapist’s love. It is paradoxical and perfectly right that going through the deepest pain while holding the little girl leads to opening, love, and joy.

Healing is choosing friends who can support my being rather than ones who sap my strength or make me feel crazy.

Healing is watching my son grow into a man so like my father and so different. It is being open with him and letting him know how his actions affect me. There’s something inexpressibly healing about having a male in my family line know the truth and support me in my journey, as he has done.

Healing is writing my memoir and feeling it as beautiful despite all the pain and struggle.

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