When recovering from trauma (or still living it from day to day) it is easy to forget that you matter. You are a person and you deserve to be loved, appreciated, and safe.
Survivors may have trouble adjusting to life after their abuse and often the abuse has left the survivor feeling less valuable than other people. This is common and in no way reflects that actual truth. Every survivor is strong by definition. With some time and work, we can all decide to accept our current selves. That doesn’t mean we don’t have ways in which we can grow as a person or that we don’t need more coping skills to deal with everyday life, but what it does mean is that we all should value ourselves as we are. Overweight, underweight, scarred, scared, alone, surrounded by friends, facing the future or running from it. Wherever you are right now, you are important. You matter. You are beautiful.
Please, take care of yourself and accept yourself, flaws and all. That will help you later when you work on correcting those flaws through therapy or personal discovery. *hugs*. Stay strong.
As many of us are nearing the end of another semester at college, we are faced with ever-growing anxiety over grades, the future, and next semester or graduation.
I want to encourage each of you who are feeling this time crunch to take at least five - ten minutes every day to focus on yourself. If you can forget about school for that long each day, it will help lower your over-all stress levels.
Here are a few ideas for relaxing for short periods of time:
- Listen to music that calms you.
- Try to meditate or at least clear your mind and think of something that you find comforting.
- Write a letter or journal entry.
- Take a twenty minute nap.
- Read a chapter or a scene from your favorite book.
- If you have a pet then spend five minutes talking to it about your problems. It is amazing how this can help you release pent up stress.
- Do an activity that you love, but haven’t allowed yourself to do because of school.
Obviously, this is just a short list, but Google is your friend if you want to find more ways to relax throughout your days. Good luck with your classes and remember that your grades do not define you as a person and you are dealing with emotional trauma that can inhibit you giving 100% of your focus. Take care of yourself. You’re a beautiful, special, courageous person and you deserve to be happy and healthy.
mathandcello asked: What a fantastic blog.
Thank you! <3. We are very much a fledgling project, but if NAF helps one person then it is a success.
Perhaps one of the hardest things to do as a survivor is allow yourself to be vulnerable in any capacity. We have experienced true pain and never want to be put in that position again which is entirely natural. Our bodies and brains are literally hardwired to avoid situations that may be dangerous and if past traumas have made seemingly mundane tasks feel dangerous then our bodies will react accordingly.
Being vulnerable is often times seen as weakness or as “lowering a protective barrier” between yourself and the world, but in truth it is actually about lowering a barrier within yourself. It is giving yourself access to your deepest, most fragile thoughts and emotions. That is a very scary concept to face and adding to that the idea of sharing that fragility with someone outside of yourself…well, it leads many people to bottle up their emotions in an unhealthy way. Feeling that you cannot open up to supportive and positive people in your life is absolutely normal for a survivor. But feelings and reality rarely match up.
This week the subject of rape is being featured heavily on a national level due to the ignorance of Republican Todd Adkin. I know I’ve been remiss lately when it comes to this project, but I felt the need to speak up.
I want to reassure all the survivors of sexual assault that it was not their fault. The idea that there is and is not a “legitimate” scenario when it comes to sexual abuse is one of the most ridiculous ideas. If you are a survivor, please, know that no matter how you reacted during the event…Everyone deals with trauma differently and you did everything that you could in that moment. It was not your fault and your pain is valid. No matter what an ignorant, horrible excuse for a human, Todd Adkin, has to say about the subject.
I care about you all and even though my words here aren’t very elegant, I hope that you understand that no one should blame you and victim shaming is wrong no matter who is doing it.
If you are not a survivor, but are friends of a survivor, please, give them a few words of support and encouragement. Seeing the media and the nation fighting over the subject and expressing a myriad of ideas - both educated and ignorant - can be traumatizing and can make a survivor feel re-victimized. Be there for them and listen if your friend or family members needs to talk.
Be kind to yourself. <3. If you need support, there are links to helpful sites on our resource page. Be safe.
Anonymous asked: I had been sexually abused by a family member. I have not dealt with my abuse. I have never had counseling and I only really talked about it 2x. To my mom when I decided to tell and to the police. Nothing happened to him, this was almost 50 yrs ago. One of my own children actually was also sexually abused by a family member NOT the same. I didn't know how to deal with it and messed up big time. Now my child will no longer have anything to do with me. wish I could go back in time and do it again
I am so sorry it has taken me this long to respond to you. <3. Real Life has kept me away from my blog. My deepest apologies.
First of all, I want to applaud you for not only reporting your abuser, but for being there for your child, even if they do not appreciate your support. <3. It takes a lot of strength to be able to do what you have done and it is not your fault that someone chose to abuse your child. The abuser is the one who hurt your child, not you. And knowing that you are there for your child now may not change the past, but it is certainly a positive thing for your child. Knowing that they have your support no matter how they choose to go about recovering from their abuse.
Every survivor has their own way of coping. Perhaps, for your child, cutting off ties with the past (unfortunately, including you at this point) is their way of moving away from that painful place.
I know that losing contact with someone you love very dearly can be hard, but if it is making your child a stronger survivor, then the best way to help them is to do what you are doing. Be supportive when they choose to make contact and don’t force anything on them.
As for going back in time to change it…Every survivor wishes they could do this, as do the people who support them. Life makes this impossible and instead of focusing on what might have happened or how you might have dealt with it if given a second chance, I think the healthiest thing is to focus on the present and do what you can for both yourself and your child.
You’ve already taken a great step for yourself, you have chosen to ask for support and expressed how your own abuse and the abuse of your child has affected you. This is a wonderful first step and I would suggest contacting an anonymous support group online where you can talk with other family members who are going through exactly the same thing as you. I think they can help you to know that you aren’t alone and that you can get past this. Given enough time and patience with yourself, you can work through your guilt and perhaps even the feelings attached to your own abuse. Personally, I have found that Pandys is one of the best forums for anonymous discussion with the best support out there for survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
You are a survivor and what happened to you and to your child is not your fault. <3. <3. Take care of yourself and take a look at the resource page to see if there is anything there that might be helpful to you. NAF does not replace therapy or support groups, but we are always here if you need to talk. <3.
Not At Fault has experienced a bit of a hiatus the last few weeks as I’ve deal with personal issues, but I wanted to reassure all our followers that we are not stopping the project. We still encourage both written and recorded submissions of support for survivors of sexual abuse.
Any word of kindness or positive message is welcome here and we look forward to hearing from you! Stay safe and remember that what happened to you was not your fault and you have control of your life now. <3. All the love and respect. <3.
I will be returning with more updates, resources and posts in the coming weeks.
Anxiety is very difficult when you have places you are forced to be where there are a lot of people, noises or movement outside your control. School, work, and stores are at the top of the lists of most common places that can trigger panic attacks and heightened anxiety.
There are several immediate coping skills that can be utilized in situations such as those. One is controlling your breathing. By physically changing your breathing pattern it will cause you to calm down by increasing your oxygen intake. Rapid, shallow, and improper breathing that takes place when you are anxious causes an increase in carbon dioxide levels which can leave you dizzy and shaking. Being able to employ better breathing will help to eradicate the side effects.
Here is a simple breathing exercise and link to more information:
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
- Repeat this breathing exercise for several minutes.
Another way to combat anxiety is to ground yourself in the moment. It helps when you are having flashbacks during social situations, begin to dissociate, or are feeling overwhelmed by stimuli. There are many different grounding techniques. One that I have found most helpful is texture (feeling something around me such as a seat arm or a shirt cuff and focusing on its texture) and another is focusing on colors or shapes that are around you. Drawing your focus into the moment and onto things not related to your anxiety can help to ease some of the stress.
- Hold something in your hand that has a unique temperature (an ice cube if you are at home, a cold drink if you are out) and focus on how it feels.
As always, we have more information available on our Resource page. While I, personally, have found both of these methods useful, everyone is different and if they don’t work for you keep trying different things until you find one that does.