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#462217 - 03/08/14 01:55 PM Re: where do you find strength? [Re: TR101]
jas4159 Offline

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 483
Loc: New Hampshire
i have thought about this one a lot over the years. for me strength comes in many forms but it does come down to what each of us has inside. Finding what is in side is difficult. SO i first reconized the simple fact that it took great courage for all of us to survive the abuse. understanding this brought a lot of strength to me.



#462218 - 03/08/14 02:29 PM Re: where do you find strength? [Re: TR101]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3856
Great question--as I sit here with someone who helped me heal in so many ways I am reflecting on where had my strength gone and how did I got it back.

I thought where had my strength gone and who robbed me of it. First the abuser and those that inflicted the triggers, memories and images of the abuse in the church cellar robbed me of strength and self. Why was I always being robbed of my strength, why did I let others rob me of my strength? After years and years of feeling like an outcast in my home, my strength was zapped to live, persevere or function on day to day basis. A morsel of strength zapped repeatedly as each night of little sleep and the images permeated my mind passed, as each time I was locked in a room climbing out a window--being trapped like the little boy in the church cellar, each time entering my office to find the desk and files completely ransacked--violated over and over like the days in the cellar, to feel each drop of spit or grease running down my face--feeling worthless like each time the priest touched me, seeing our finances erode and asking for help and at first it was yes and then a vicious no--no help as I so needed and asked for--once again last in someone's life--help for others but not me, letters written asking for help used to ridicule me pushing me further into the depths of despair, responding to everyone's expectations--get me this, drive me here, pick me, and so much more, no one here for me--I was hopeless and weak. I had no strength. Where had it gone. Each day and maybe if I had not found supportive people it may have ended with the inevitable--but I do not like to think of what may have been because I was blessed it was not.

The part of me that I knew to be me began to disappear. There was a part of "me" I gather had strength,the child within me. So I had not lost all my strength except the strength was not mine but rather the child looking for love and sadly the abuser and his deeds I have been told. I was not there but the child was there. Where had the "me" gone, doctors and therapists say into a dissociative state sometimes with fugue episodes. I could no longer control me, like the child I needed to survive and I returned to how I coped each time in the cellar, leaving and feeling as though I was watching from above to not being there at all.

I hit rock bottom and found a therapist, support groups and people who cared. A woman who was a nurse extended herself at a McDonald's as I was in an unraveling state. Kind words, we became friends and she extended herself but sadly she battled cancer for so long. But she made me realize, someone who was suffering as she could extend her hand and heart to help an unraveling victim of CSA, I could become a survivor. Life moved forward, and from telling others of my past and their caring and supportive response gave me strength. I found people to laugh with and support me. When I was in the home I wore a T shirt with Survivors Challenge on it. It was from a work activity. I was subject to jeers and ridicule of being a survivor when I would wear this shirt. At first it brought me down but as I gathered strength from those that supported and cared for me, I was no longer bothered, I was surviving and becoming a survivor.

I have a special friend who has been there with me as I faced the Diocese and returning to church--always a kind word and no words of ridicule for being a survivor, just support, a smile, a laugh and her gentle touch.

I believe my strength may have been within me, but years and years of feeling pushed down, the triggers, nightmares, dissociation, fugues, flashbacks buried my strength as I tried so desperately to do with the abuse. But denial can be contained for so long before life makes it erupt. As I found people to help pick me up, I began to find that strength I buried. It took time, it took others validating me, it took me to accept the abuse, the child within and to change how I looked at myself. I was not responsible for what happened. I know I could not have done it alone, the old adage good prevails over evil seems to fit this situation.

I believe we all have internal strength, but the hard part is to find a way to harness it. For me, it was the support of kind and compassionate people. For others it will be something different that raises their strength.

Through support of each other, I hope we help each other find their internal strength because it is there. We just need to find it. I did not realize I had lost my strength until I began to heal. Strength to heal was not something I thought but others made me realize it is through strength that we heal.

#462260 - 03/09/14 01:21 PM Re: where do you find strength? [Re: TR101]
CafeMan Offline

Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 169
Loc: Chicago
1. God
2. Breathing when highly stressed out.
3. Looking at a mirror and studying the man in the reflection. Where did he come from, where is he now and where does he want to go . . .

#463363 - 03/29/14 01:49 PM Re: where do you find strength? [Re: TR101]
CafeMan Offline

Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 169
Loc: Chicago
Right now I am being tested (AGAIN)! So I looked at this post to remind me of where I can summon up my strength.

I know life has its ups and downs. It's not perfect, even for people who did not go through what we went through.

However, there are times when I just want to have ONE DAY of peace. Just ONE DAY. I am proud of my life, accomplishments, family and friends, etc. But just ONE DAY of not being dragged into multiple directions.

So I turn to God, I breathe more than a pregnant woman going through labor and that mirror is staring at ME instead. One day it will be better!

#463375 - 03/29/14 05:30 PM Re: where do you find strength? [Re: TR101]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2972
Originally Posted By: TR101
i think we can all agree that life is full of rotten things.
so, when you're the victim of horrible uncalled for things, like csa,
and when the people around you can't possibly understand you,
and when you loose faith in the supernatural (god, karma, whatever),
and when the people closest to you hurt you,
where do you find strength to persevere through those things?

Excellent question! My definition of strength has evolved through the years. When my abuse started at twelve, I began a long period of being very accident prone (especially high-speed bike accidents). I found strength in surviving those accidents, which reaffirmed my ability to bounce back from disaster, and reaffirmed my "manhood" - a role my victimization challenged. As a college graduate, I entered into a very hazardous profession - putting my hide on the line every time I went to work. I thought that would allow me to prove even more strength, but my strong survival instincts got in the way of putting myself right on the edge of that line and so I soon left. Then I entered into a gentler profession in which I had the power to help others - finding strength in giving others strength.

I think everything I have done in my life has been more about proving who I expected myself to be than truly churning out cash. My professions have not been tools to prosperity as much as identities that define me. I don't think my life would have traveled these roads if I didn't go through all the weird, intense and persistent dynamics of my molestation.

In all, however, I think my greatest strength is in being good. I was "lucky" (a strange way to put it, but really sort of true for ME) in that I was not the only victim of this guy. I had to be strong for the other victims. What I was going through was not just about me. And what I took from this guy meant that another kid wasn't getting the treatment I was getting for at least that afternoon. I didn't always succeed, but my heart was in the right place. When it was happening I knew right from wrong enough to know that I wanted to be the absolute OPPOSITE of the guy who was molesting me - molesting us.

Just trying to be a good boy saved me - and maybe saved some others as well. My dad once told me that despite all his scolding and nagging, "You are really a good boy." I'll never forget that. He had no idea what was happening to me in basements and tents and the woods nearby - and so that meant he had no idea how secretly "bad" I really was. I was in no way going to ruin his misguided perception of me as good, so I kept him at arm's length the rest of his life. When he died some years back, the grieving for me just wouldn't end. No wonder. In the therapy that followed - therapy supposedly for grief - I finally was led by the hand by my therapist - a true soul's guide - and finally looked at all the huge secrets I kept from my dad, from myself, from everyone.

It took the most strength to take that journey and finally acknowledge what my dad knew all along. There are so many different kinds of strengths - I've tried them all. The strength of bearing pain, the strength of being courageous, the strength of helping others... but underlying all those strengths was the fervent desire to just be good - to define myself as someone better than those who hurt me. Simply being a good man is the greatest strength of all.

#463413 - 03/30/14 01:36 PM Re: where do you find strength? [Re: CafeMan]
CafeMan Offline

Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 169
Loc: Chicago
Well today is a new day (again) for me. I was lucky to have two men from the site remind me of what I already know. So thank you to P and M for your appropriate words. I prayed not so much for answers but for tools to get me where I need to go in life. Yesterday, I felt so much calmer than I have been in the last month (despite a hectic weekend restaurant rush!).

So thank you, gentlemen, for helping me find that strength again.

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