Healing from Abuse is a Lifelong Journey - Relationships

I uncovered repressed memories of sexual abuse nearly 20 years ago. Then I did 10 years of intense work in therapy, and 5 years of writing a memoir about it all (The River of Forgetting). The last 5 years I've been pretty darned happy, and pursuing art and other adventures.

But life keeps unfolding, and I need to grow again, against the boundaries of some of my relationships. There are ways in which I've been too accommodating and nice, and ways I've repressed my own needs even (or especially) in my closest relationships.

Finally my bigger spirit is coming through and demanding to take up space. The little girl, who was so obedient and good, now has her hands on her hips and is saying No. No more getting pushed around by a dearest friend, who is always in crisis, expects to be able to take up all the air space, and expects me to be the perfect listener. No more letting another friend jerk me around as she changes her mind every five minutes.

I've encountered surprisingly great fear in addressing these simple differences and my need to be my own person. Just being in dialogue and disagreement with these friends has me feeling the old, old fears in my gut: fears that I'm wrong, that "they" will force me to do things I don't want to do,  that they will distort my reality and make me feel like a bad girl, fear that I'm trapped in relationships that are not working well.

At the same time, I see the bravery of my inner child. That little girl has guts! She survived a hell of a lot and grew up successfully, even though she also got her mind twisted and was forced to live the lie that everything was OK in my family when it wasn't. Now she is willing and able to name problems and rock the boat.

All these years after uncovering the abuse and doing healing work, I find myself growing again. My inner child is no longer willing to compromise her core self in order to be connected. Friendships will shift and I will come through stronger.