On my blog entry entitled Unmet Needs after Child Abuse: Age Twelve to Eighteen, a reader posted the following comment:
I wonder if this sense of identity falls into place when someone recovers there past??? If ive never been myself how can i possibly know who i am? This is a question im asking my therapist and support worker and there never seems to be an answer! If anything im more confused as ever to my identity now. At least before i thought i was real, now i know i aint!!! Confusing stuff. – Simon
Many survivors of child abuse struggle with identity issues in the aftermath of the abuse. The identity struggle seems to be even more severe for those who endured severe and ongoing abuse throughout their childhoods.
I used to believe that I had nothing to say. I was just a sliver of a nobody with no identity other than reflecting the views of those around me, so what would I possibly have to share? Considering that this blog entry is my 303rd one, it looks like I did have something to say after all!
As I shared in my blog entry entitled Meeting Unmet Needs after Child Abuse through Reincarnation, I do not believe that birth is the beginning of who we are. Who we are transcends this lifetime. If I am correct, then even the most severe abuse does not have the power to separate us from who we really are.
Who I am runs much deeper and richer than my experiences in this lifetime. The problem was that I was blinded to who I really was.
I used to believe that healing was about transforming myself into a new person, but I now know that it is really about discovering myself. Each one of you reading this has a unique personality and spirit. The problem is that your abusers blinded you and prevented you from seeing yourself as you truly are. It is like you shut your eyes tightly so you wouldn’t see the abuse, but doing this also caused you to lose sight of who you really were. Healing is about opening your eyes and awakening to your own life and existence.
What drove home this point to me was attending my high school reunion a few years ago. I was nervous about it because I had changed a lot from the healing process, so I wasn’t sure “who to be” at the reunion. I decided to be myself as I knew it and let the chips fall where they may.
I always thought of myself as isolated and unlovable in high school, but that is not what I heard from the people at the reunion. Multiple people sought me out and wanted to talk about our lives. I came to realize that the beauty that I see inside of myself is not new. Those people saw it way back in high school, which is why they wanted to hear more about how my life turned out. **I** was the one who was blinded to my own inner beauty.
Each of you has an amazingly beautiful, deep, and rich spirit inside of yourself. Others can see it in you – It is you who are blinded to it. As you awaken to your life and risk opening your eyes, you have so much beauty waiting to greet you.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt