Over the weekend, I saw Matt Damon’s new movie Hereafter. I was not overly impressed by the movie in large part due to the V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W pacing, but that is irrelevant to the point of today’s blog entry.
Matt Damon’s character, George, had the ability to connect with anyone’s loved ones who had died by touching the person’s hands. So, if George touched my hands, he might be able to serve as a conduit for communication between me and my deceased father or grandfather. George’s brother said this was a “gift” that George had a responsibility of sharing with the world. George saw this ability as a “curse” that prevented him from having a normal life.
This got me thinking about whether those of us who have healed from child abuse (or are further along our healing journeys) have a responsibility to interact with other child abuse survivors and help them along their own healing journeys. In my case, I have been blessed with the gift of being able to express myself well in writing (and I do see this as a gift without a downside). Because I have this gift and have made a lot of progress in healing from child abuse, does that give me the responsibility of using this gift to help other survivors of child abuse?
My answer to that question is no. I do not write this blog because I feel a responsibility or sense of duty to my readers to write it. I could shut down this blog tomorrow and feel no guilt whatsoever about shunning my responsibility to fellow child abuse survivors. As my therapist told me repeatedly, I get to choose the course of the rest of my life. I can choose to spend it helping others or pursuing my own dreams that have nothing whatsoever to do with my past, and either path is okay.
So, why do I write this blog? Because I care. I have been blessed with the ability to express myself well in writing, and I have the experience of surviving the early stages of healing from child abuse. I have combined the two to write this blog as a gift to fellow child abuse survivors simply because I care. Does that make a person who chooses not to do the same thing an “uncaring” person? Absolutely not. That person might have other gifts to give the world that have nothing to do with his or her history of child abuse.
Writing about and thinking about healing from child abuse on a daily basis is not always easy. Nobody who has healed from child abuse should ever feel compelled to stay in this painful world of healing, and I actually recommend against it unless and until you develop the ability to empathize without being sucked into the desperation of someone else’s struggles. Readers frequently send me emails telling me about the gory details of their pain, and all of you have seen the comments that are posted on this blog. I have developed the ability to provide hope without falling back down into the pit when reading the stories. Not everyone has this ability, and nobody should be judged for not wanting to go back into that pit after finding the way out.
For those of you who feel a responsibility to write your own blog after you are farther along in healing, please don’t feel compelled to do so. If you want to do it, write your blog as a gift, not out of a sense of duty.
Photo credit: Faith Allen