Hi, CloudyFalls -

When I read what you write, I see a loving, vulnerable, and forgiving person. Most of us, I suspect, were that way as kids being abused. Those qualities tend to have enabled our abusers' access to us. Many of us have retained those qualities - like you and me. Maybe we saw our abusers and decided - in the simple binary child's perspective - that it was better to be vulnerable and victimized than to be abusive and predatory. But there is a flip-side. As painful as the situation you describe may be, you have far more admirable human qualities than Curtis. You can forgive. You can be honest about your feelings. You can give love. You have the courage to be vulnerable. You may see those qualities as a collective weakness, and in a sense that is true. But it is also true that those very same qualities are where your strengths lie. It is quite simply who you are and unlikely to change.

And so you ask how you get better. I used to ask that of myself. After years of asking what seemed an unanswerable question, I finally realized that it was the wrong question all together. The right question was: "Who am I after all this?" Discovering the answer - taking that journey - allowed me to address most of my other challenges.

You sound like a wonderful person who has emerged from events so dark that many survivors grew up knowing only how to hurt themselves and others around them. Some didn't even get to be "survivors" and died by their own will or at their abuser's hands. What made all the difference for me at least was to finally embrace who I DID become, to accept myself for who I had to become and for who I am today. Once I stopped trying to run away from myself, so many things in my life fell into place. I don't know if that will help you, but it is what I have to share. Your journey and your questions are similar to the ones I have experienced myself.