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Archive for March 13th, 2009

I have been reading the book The Shack by William Paul Young. This week, I am focusing upon different words of wisdom in the book that can be applied to survivors of child abuse. See my first post for more information about the book.

I am, admittedly, taking the following quote in a direction a little differently than the author intended so I can apply it to child abuse survivors. In the book, the following quote applies to the father feeling guilty for being unable to save his daughter from a serial killer. I am applying the quote to child abuse survivors who blame themselves for their abuse:

Only you, in the entire universe, believe that somehow you are to blame…Perhaps it’s time to let that go—that lie. ~ The Shack, page 170

How many of us have stayed mired in guilt and shame, believing that we were somehow responsible for being abused as a child? We have numerous “reasons” for buying into that lie – we did not say no…we did not tell anyone about the abuse…we “led the abuser on” by welcoming the attention…we “should have” done X, Y, or Z…

And, yet, we would not hold another child to that standard. My eight-year-old son could not possible “entice” an adult to sexually abuse him. I don’t care if he did not say no, did not tell another person about the abuse, hugged the abuser, and enjoyed getting attention from the abuser. He is EIGHT YEARS OLD!! He does not have the ability to understand sex, much less sexual abuse. There is absolutely nothing that my sweet and innocent eight-year-old child could do to be responsible for being abused.

We survivors of child abuse need to apply the same standards to ourselves that we would apply to any other child. When I think about my own mental state at age eight, I judge myself through adult eyes. However, in parenting an eight-year-old child, I see how crazy that is. I was no more “adult” than my son is, and he still believes in Santa Clause!!

I find a lot of healing in looking at a child who was the age that I was when I was abused and seeing just how young I really was. I never should have been forced to endure the things that I did, and it is one big, fat lie that I was in any way responsible for any of the “choices” that my abusers had me make.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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