The Journey to Healing
          Healing is possible... 
                      one step at a time.
 
For those who have survived significant trauma, the impact and effects can be intense, complex, far reaching, and long-lasting. There are different things that will produce such significant trauma, but none so powerful as sexual abuse, as it creates levels of pain, degrees of trauma, and compounded issues unlike anything else. As such, it is one of the most difficult of all things from which to heal, as the healing takes time, and the journey is intense.
 
One of the most difficult things about sexual abuse is that the impact can manifest itself in so many ways. Some Survivors are debilitated, while others apparently are able to adjust. Though there are reasons why that is the case, suffice it to say, no one comes out of such a life-changing experience without being significantly impacted. 
 
Regardless of how the symptoms present themselves, the reality is that the person has been significantly impacted... whether anyone on the outside can tell or not.   
Patience is Needed
For survivors, the process of healing is not a short one, but can best be likened to a journey, from darkness into light, from hurt into healing, from brokenness into wholeness. Though it would be nice, there is simply no shortcut in terms of the stages of healing that must be traversed if true healing is to be accomplished, and peace and rest are to ever be experienced.
There are many competing belief systems that would try to assert that there is a quick way to move beyond the pain. In church, so many people hear that God offers a "poof" type of experience, where the past can be mystically resolved. In pop psychology, "experts" will offer quick fixes. Even in the field of professional therapy, many different "answers" are offered, yet few are able to produce the lasting results they espouse. That is because there really is no simple answer or shortcut around the necessary process of healing.
 
So many survivors, who reach out to us, have become discouraged from so much effort and so many years of trying to find "the answer" to their healing, yet with no lasting results. And, many who want to help survivors, end up feeling confused by so many different suggestions being offered by so many who call themselves experts in trauma and trauma-recovery.
 
It is to both the survivor, who is discouraged, and the person who wants to be of support to a survivor, that Survivor Support offers its help. We understand the struggle of the survivor, and want to help better equip people to meaningfully support survivors. And, that is why we suggest you start with the following information offered in this section of the website to gain an overview of the issues involved in the life of a survivor. From here, you will find information geared toward survivors, and those wanting to better understand how to help survivors.
 
Growth and healing from abuse and trauma is possible. But, it will not happen overnight. With dedication to the process, a survivor can begin to experience healing, but, it will also require trust that there are answers. And, you will find those answers starting here. 
Questions are Normal
For the Survivor, there are important questions that need to be wrestled with and worked through for healing to truly take place. Questions are not only normal, but they are in fact a crucial part of the healing process. For, the deepest parts of the Survivor are wrestling with profound issues, stemming from the injustice and pain they have suffered. Unless and until these questions can be identified and asked, truth cannot bring the necessary sunlight to help heal the wounds which have so often simply been bandaged up, covered over, and tucked away. 
 
It is in this inner "emotional compartmentalization" that the emotional infection festers, eventually manifesting itself in the form of an inner sense of stress and distress, detachment from one's self and others, an inner sense of dissatisfaction with life and relationships, an inability to become still, emotional difficulties, relationship issues, boundary problems, life-adjustment issues, mental health problems, physical ailments and illnesses, compulsivity, addictions, difficulty with being fully emotionally present in the moment, and a general inability to experience much needed peace and rest. 
So, what are some of the necessary issues that need to be understood by survivors for them to heal effectively while on the journey to wholeness? What are some of the more important questions needing to be addressed for a Survivor to begin to truly heal?
  • Understanding the profound and lingering impact of trauma on the body, mind, emotions, and personality
  • Understanding the significant impact abuse has on a child's belief in God's nature and attributes, His love, His involvement, His concern, His care, His protection, His equity, and His justice 
  • Understanding the relationship between stress, burnout, and emotions
  • Understanding the roots of compulsive behavior(s)
  • Understanding the importance of conscience and intuition, and how they are impacted by sexual abuse
  • What are emotions? Are the legitimate? What are their role and function? How does one make sense of them?
  • How does past abuse impact current relationships?
  • How does past abuse impact a Survivor's intimacy during the dating process, then once in marriage?
  • What is the difference between shame and guilt?
  • Do you have to forgive your abuser, even if they have never acknowledged the abuse?
  • How does a Survivor recognize if they have properly transitioned through the various stages of the grief and loss process?
  • What impact does past abuse have on the Survivor's ability to establish healthy boundaries, and to establish relationships with emotionally healthy and responsible people?
  • What are the difficulties Survivors can anticipate as adults when/if they attend church?
  • What is the reality behind "repressed memories."
  • What are triggers, and why do they happen? Can they ever decrease without medication?
  • What are some of the inaccurate mental health diagnosis that are given to Survivors?
  • If a Survivor hears voices, does that mean he/she is crazy or has Schizophrenia?
  • What are the 5 reasons why someone may "hear voices" in their head?
  • What can a Survivor expect to experience if his/her world "starts to fall apart"?
 
  • What are the various reasons why someone would "self-injure"? Is there any help for that?  
  • Why will most Survivors inevitably experience panic attacks? What can be done about them (instead of having to manage the issue via medication)?
  • If a Survivor has been to numerous therapists without lasting relief, what does that mean for their chances of "getting better"?
  • Are there certain predictable life changes or transitions that might "trigger" a Survivor, and cause progress to slip away, leaving the Survivor with a sense that they are regressing in terms of all the progress they thought had happened for them through years of therapy?
  • Is it possible to have convinced yourself that some type of abuse happened, when it actually did not?
  • If a Survivor were to simply "mature" or exercise more self-control, would they be able to "move beyond" their emotional difficulties?
  • Is it normal to be in therapy for years, yet only make incremental progress?
  • What does it mean that "Things will usually get worse before they get better."?
  • Are there predictable stages through which healing will occur?
  • Are there indicators that things are actually getting better, and that the need for therapy is getting less? How do you know when you are healed enough to end therapy?
 
  • What is the difference between confronting someone out of your pain vs. out of your healing?
  • How do you know if you are ready to confront an abuser?
  • What does it mean if a Survivor becomes emotionally reactive over the mere mention of God and mentally shuts down, even if they sense that someone is going to suggest that spirituality and spiritual healing is an important and necessary part of the healing process?
  • What difference does it make if you involve God in the therapy process or not? 
  • Can I find true and lasting healing without God, by following a god as I believe him/her to be, or embracing God as I understand him to be?
  • Is there a difference between man-made religion vs. a genuine relationship with God? 
  • Is there a reliable and objective source of information about God?
 
  • Can I find true healing by following any number of paths to God, or is there just one? How can you know, and what does that mean?
 
Acknowledgement is Necessary
For a Survivor to begin their journey to healing, he/she must recognize that something happened, and begin to acknowledge that their life was significantly impacted by the abuse, no matter how long ago it happened.
 
But, doesn't "time heal every wound"? Doesn't simply "pulling yourself up by your boot straps," just "putting on a happy face," and not "dwelling on it" help the impact of abuse to eventually heal with time? Does abuse really impact a person's life, even if it happened in the past?
 
Listen to the following survivors to see how they were impacted:
 

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Survivor Support, Inc.

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