I thought it was me.
Maybe there was something wrong with me that caused all of this. Was there a sign on my forehead that said “Abuse Me”?
Maybe something was wrong with my body, or maybe I smiled wrong or was too nice? Was it my clothes?
What was wrong with me?
These thoughts swirled around in my mind for years. My secret shame-filled worries constantly reminded me that I was deeply flawed, used and beyond repair.
I lived like the lie was true.
I had no voice.
I never said no.
I always froze.
Sometimes I just left in my mind and went away.
It was how I survived.
What happens to a young girl like me? She finds herself sometimes with people who make her uncomfortable and maybe they say or do things that are inappropriate.
They keep crossing the line to test her to see how she will respond. Will she yell? Will she run?
Nope. She does nothing because that’s all she knows. This isn’t her first rodeo.
Not much longer.
So much shame.
And finally, as I am sitting alone on the couch hunched over in a therapy session, the truth finally starts to sink in.
My counselor pulled out a big flip chart and grabbed Sharpies and she sat on the floor in front of me. We made a timeline. She was writing it all out as fast as I could say it.
My hidden secrets were all splattered on the clean white page.
And like dominoes falling, I saw how the harm from the abuse blazed a path of destruction throughout my life.
There was nothing wrong with me.
It wasn’t my fault.
It was never my fault.
And with tears falling, I wanted to hug the little girl inside of me. She wasn’t dirty and shameful to me anymore. I loved her.
She was resilient.
She was brave.
She was loved.