I’m more than a victim

A while ago I wrote that I would make an effort to post something positive at least once per week. I’ve not been doing brilliantly at it. Have you heard of that ‘positivity jar’ thing? People post about it often; writing one happy moment down every day and putting it in a jar so they recognise their good memories and have a real reminder of them. Then on the bad days you can pull a handful out and read them to cheer yourself up.

I’m not up for that yet. It feels a bit forced to me. But I thought if I reminded myself to write something hopeful or happy once in a while, it might help me acknowledge the good moments more. Even it if is something as trivial as my dog being ridiculous, I know it would be good for me to show myself that the laughter and the smiles do happen.

This got me to thinking about my childhood today. I always thought it was mostly happy; my parents loved me and cared for me and we had fun. We never starved, they didn’t beat me. I had opportunities and I was encouraged to fulfill my potential. Because I’ve been focusing so much time lately in therapy working through the abuse I suffered, I find it increasingly difficult to grab hold of the good stuff that happened. All I see is this damaged child, adapting in unhealthy ways to a hostile set of circumstances.

So I wanted to share some happy memories from when I was little. Reminiscences of time as a family that was wholesome and nurturing. I’m hoping that by thinking of them now and writing them down, they might remain active in my imagination; alongside, but not instead of my suffering. It’s hard to comprehend that juxtaposition being real.

I remember:

  • Running riot on campsites and sandy days at the beach
  • My little sister, our mischief and how we co-conspired
  • Adoring my pets
  • Riding bikes, climbing trees, making dens and mud pies
  • My dad’s pride when I taught myself to swim
  • Getting up in the middle of the night to watch thunderstorms together
  • Fun, freedom, love, hugs and music.

Sexual abuse is always horrendous, and I was no exception. But my childhood wasn’t only abuse. I was not then, and am not now, only a victim. I’ve always had a desire to be more than that. Since the abuse happened, 20 years ago now, I have been striving not to be defined by it. Surviving abuse is a part of me, it has shaped me in many ways, but there are other sides to me, and other memories too.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. nintschgo says:

    Thanks for this post, I felt similar when therapy started to be just about the difficult stuff so I love this little reminder!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura Black says:

      glad to hear it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. melomanebird says:

    Thanks for sharing, good ideas in there about youf happy times. My happiest times were probably in high school. I have a found memory of everytime I put on the uniform, the sound of the doors to classes and the hall, chairs and stools I sat at and the mischief I caused, great times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      That made me smile. It’s important to remember those seemingly insignificant happy moments.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mindfulaide says:

    This is very true. Often when bad childhood memories come forward I remind myself that my childhood wasn’t all traumatic: there were happy, beautiful moments weaved in there too.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. loomy9138 says:

    You are also an inspiration, a survivor, and a wonderful human being!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you, it’s very sweet of you to say so 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like that jar idea … hmmm … going to go look for a jar now and start. Why not? What have I got to lose? Wonder if it works? Wonder if I will keep it up? I’m a great starter, but the middles and endings not so much. I had such a roller coaster day today — perhaps making this positivity jar could ease the pain of the Monday thorns that are still pricking me today. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

    “We never starved, they didn’t beat me.” Those are some pretty low expectations for parents … you can only go up from those! I think I’ve said something similar … like my parents were’t drug addicts and they didn’t put me into a child prostitution ring. Anyway, again, there’s only upwards and away from those thoughts too. It’s sad to have to compare parenting to the lowest level possible, but then, maybe that makes all their mistakes seem so trivial and remembered bits & pieces of trauma endured in childhood more palatable with temporarily amnesia.

    Poignant post … as usual you write. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you for the feedback. I’ve not got the the jar yet, but I have started writing down happy moments in my journal each day. Just to give them some recognition.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t sleep Laura … I’m preoccupied with my upcoming job interview tomorrow. AND then I remembered “the jar” and how I hadn’t contributed a positive note / thought to it today; I jumped out of bed and wrote my thought down. So far 2 positive experiences in the jar. Hope I can keep this up and that it can be rewarding when I reread them at a later date.

        A question: so, when am I actually supposed to read all these thoughts? At the end of the month? When the jar is full, which BTW, is going to take a long time because it’s a biggish jar. Your thoughts????


      2. Laura Black says:

        So good to see you’re going for it with the jar – well done! I guess the idea is you can just pull a few out whenever you want to and read them. You could do it at regular intervals, or just when you’re having a bad day. It’s all up to you!
        Good luck with the interview, let me know how it goes. x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think I’m going to wait until I fill it up … which will be a LONG time from now … and then make a “already read” jar and then start over. That’s quite ambitious … I need to take it one note at a time!

        The interview … thank you for the well wishes. It will also be several weeks before I find out if I’m chosen. Ugh … never had to go through so much for a job AND wait so long for an answer. But as another blogger friend told me, “You already have a job you like, while there may be some things about it you don’t — it’s not like you’re struggling to get that first job or haven’t had a job in a LONG time.” Strangely, that does bring me comfort; she also reminded me that if I’m not chosen to not think of it as rejection, but rather they chose a candidate who they thought was a better fit … that’s all.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Nan Mykel says:

    Hi, Laura. I appreciate your inner hard work. This is in response to several of your postings. Since I’m both an incest survivor and retired treater of imprisoned sex offenders for 12 years, I guess I just have too much to say to even begin. But the refrain of –maybe it was a song –“Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” keeps going through my mind. I have found my blog (which has one page on incest) to be healing, as were years of both individual therapy and weekly outpatient group therapy.
    I also profited from Incest Survivors Anonymous, based on the AA model. I must also confess to 2 years of psychoanalysis, in which I managed to refrain from physically attacking my male analyst. Hang in there. Your have a large following of well-wishers, myself included.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you Nan. I admire that as a survivor you were also able to work with offenders. You must have done a lot of healing before you could get to that point. I recently heard that there are now sexual abuse survivors anonymous meetings starting up in London. I think for now, the 12 step program I am in works well for me (CoDA) but I am glad this kind of low cost peer support is available to people. Thanks for the kind words and positive wishes. Laura


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