Archive for September 23rd, 2010

I have shared before that I work as an online college instructor. In my class, we talk about the importance of teamwork and collaboration. As I was reading through my students’ discussions, I go to thinking about the benefits of teamwork and collaboration in healing from child abuse. So much of what my students were talking about applies to healing together as well.

I found an enormous amount of support through Isurvive, a message board for survivors of child abuse, when I was in the early stages of healing from child abuse. I logged on several times a day during my early years of healing. Even now, after seven years of healing from child abuse, I gain so much knowledge and guidance from reading the comments that my readers post. Sometimes my readers see something that is so obvious to them about me but that I miss because I am too “close” to the situation.

Finding a support network is so important to healing from child abuse. Of course, your support network should include a qualified therapist with experience in counseling people who have suffered from child abuse. A therapist is not enough, though. I found that I experienced so much healing and support through my relationships with offline friends as well as friends that I met online. You can do this through visiting Isurvive, by reading and posting comments on blogs such a mine, and in other ways that bring you into contact with fellow survivors of child abuse.

When I was in the early stages of healing, I needed to interact with people who were farther along their healing journey because I needed the hope that healing was even possible. I also needed “peers” who were in similar places so I could talk with someone who really understood in this moment what I was going through. Finally, I needed to interact with people who were newer to the child abuse healing process so that I could “pay forward” the support I had received as well as recognize how far I had come. I really needed the interactions with all three groups to make the healing process survivable for me.

Finally, I needed people who embraced me as one of them. For most of my life, I felt like a misfit who had no place. Through an online child abuse survivor community, I found a place where I belonged. I was not “crazy” – I was actually surrounded by people who “got” me! I cannot express strongly enough how crucial the camaraderie of fellow child abuse survivors was along my own healing journey.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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