On my blog entry entitled Living in the Present to Dismantle Triggers, a reader asked the following question:
How would you define “closure” from child abuse? ~ Lilo
I needed some time to think about my answer to this. I think the answer will be different depending upon who you ask. For me, closure from child abuse means that I am at peace with who I am, which includes all of my child abuse history. Closure means full acceptance of myself and no longer fighting any part of myself – my emotions and feelings, my memories, or my life in general.
I think a big part (and challenge) of healing from child abuse is having to accept things that I did not want to accept. I did not want the abuse to have happened. I did not want to accept that my virginity was taken by rape when I was still in elementary school. I wanted my childhood to have been one thing (a loving and safe childhood), but my reality was quite different from this. Closure from child abuse involves letting go of the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s and making peace with what was and now is. I am not 100% there yet, but I can look back at many of my childhood traumas and accept that they happened. They contributed to who I am today, and I love who I am today, so I no longer need to fight the reality of my childhood experiences.
Another big part of healing from child abuse is silencing “The Voice” in my head – the voice that carries the echoes of the past and holds me hostage to all sorts of lies. Before beginning to heal, The Voice was filled with constant messages of how worthless I was – it called me stupid, fundamentally unlovable, ugly both inside and out, fat, etc. The Voice told me that I could not trust anyone and that loving was too risky. The Voice kept me locked in a prison fueled by lies. To me, closure from child abuse involves silencing this voice and loving myself for who I am rather than hating myself for what I have or have not done. I don’t have to **do** anything to be worthy of love. I just have to be me – I just have to **be**.
I have utilized many tools for helping me heal from child abuse, and I have gotten advice from numerous resources, from my therapist and yoga instructor to books on healing from trauma to fellow child abuse survivors. All of these tools and resources have led me toward awakening to who I have always been. I see part of closure from child abuse as recognizing that I am not something that is “broken” needing to be fixed – I am enough just the way I am. I just need to awaken to who I am and always have been. Closure involves shedding the lies – both those told to me by my abusers and those I told myself – and awakening to the truth that I have all that I need in just being me.
Photo credit: Hekatekris