Let Me See You

A fellow abuse survivor, distraught and frustrated while working through emotions and pain, declared, “I just want to live a normal life and stop living like a victim!”

It stuck with me…

We aren’t living like victims, we’re living victoriously as we do the work to heal the wounds we’ve been left with.

We aren’t living like victims, we’re standing as survivors, living day to day to live and thrive.

We aren’t living like victims, we work every single day to do normal things that others don’t think twice about.

We aren’t living like victims, we don’t give up, we push through; we fight.

To others it might seem like we’re living like victims, but we are warriors. I live my life contrary to what I feel on the inside. I have days I want to run away from my family, and run away from myself… but I don’t.  I might sleep a little more or spend some extra time with a friend, or even drink some wine – but I’m here. My kids see me fighting to be better and to not give in to the turmoil that childhood sexual abuse causes inside of a person.  That’s what I’m teaching them so when they fight through their own lives, they’ll be even more victorious than I!

I was a victim. That’s part of what happened to me.  The beauty however, is that from being made a victim, I’m victorious despite having lived that. I’m still here and I’m glad for my hard work and God’s grace that helped me to know which steps to take so far. What looks like whining, complaining, or negativity to someone else, is part of how I’ve been victorious.  Talking about what happened to me, being honest about what I’m feeling, and being raw about the inner turmoil inside has allowed me to find the truth to declare and stand in; to process through hurts to find hope and walk confidently in; and ultimately discover the beauty of taking something awful and creating something lovely from it.

We aren’t living as victims… we were victims and we were destroyed. Now our minds, hearts, and bodies are in the recovery process.  When a broken arm is in a cast, we know the healing work is happening, even if it’s not necessarily seen; when one’s body is detoxing, it actually feels really ugly during the process of cleansing, but we know the end result is worth it; and when we express our pain in a way that others might feel uncomfortable along with us, we can also be certain that it is not in vain.  Others being made uncomfortable allows for us to not endure this burden alone – because we matter. Our pain matters and if it were another in pain, I’d hope I would be willing to be made uncomfortable so I could support them.  I would not want them to be silent and bearing such a burden alone.  As such, I have faith that others feel the same way about me.

You matter. Your pain matters. It’s okay to make others uncomfortable sometimes when you’re hurting. It allows us to be a little less selfish, it allows us to grow, and it allows us to be shaped into someone God wants us to be!

If you’re struggling with feeling alone, like you need a friend, or if you just want to connect, please feel free to message me at kristiwhitten@ymail.com. You don’t have to walk through life alone.  You don’t have to feel worthless or unimportant, because you matter, and you deserve to have someone in your life who sees you.  I hope you’ll let me see you.

I Desired More

This is so true for me… when I chose to address the things I had to work through from my abuse, it wasn’t because I wasn’t coping well with life. I was enjoying my life, busy and content with 5 children at the time and then enjoying the pregnancy of my 6th. I had overcome amazing obstacles within my marriage and my friendship with my husband had grown immensely, and I’d discovered some challenges through self-examination in my walk with Jesus that He worked with me through. I had become surrounded by amazing women whose friendships I’m so grateful for, and in most areas of my life I wasn’t overwhelmed…
 
So when I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to go further, I chose to go deeper, and address those wounds because I desired more of God, even better of myself, a new level of improvement in my life. I wanted to be challenged like never before and I was… and I discovered some amazing truths over my life in the midst of all that pain and heartache I had to face. The biggest being that I matter… not because of anything I’ve done, but because of the value the Creator established in me at the beginning of time. I matter and I finally believed it and declared it to myself and felt the importance of others knowing their own value – so I shouted it loud enough for others to hear and know it too.
 
We are precious to our Father in Heaven… and so I continue to dig deep within myself to improve and be a better person in every aspect of my life, and in each of my relationships. I make mistakes and I learn new things every single day, and thank God that He’s right there with me the whole way, guiding me and caring for me, keeping me on the right path and bringing me back when I veer too far. ❤
 
I’m thrilled to be in this current season in my life… I’m still in this walk, and some days it can be so so hard, but when you know your value and you know what His desire is for your life, you also know it will all work out and you will make it through – you need only endure and push through. God is so faithful!!

Taught Wrong

My little sister and I were talking the other day and she said something that I’ve been thinking on as I’ve been cleaning today… She said that perhaps some people don’t know that it’s wrong for an older person to be with a younger person, because something happened to them.  Perhaps they too were coerced and manipulated into permitting, but they weren’t told that it was wrong or that the child is still not responsible in any way.  I have heard stories of people who think that way, who are oblivious to the atrocity of sexually violating young people because they lived in it and it was their normal… so perhaps that’s why some people don’t see the full devastation of what I experienced because they think it’s normal.

I hope everyone who had sexual things happen while they were young, that they know that no matter how good it felt, how much they believed it was okay, or if they welcomed it, that they were not responsible for what happened to them.  They were taught wrong.  If one was taught the sky was red when it’s in fact blue, and they grow up thinking it’s red, they aren’t stupid. No, they were taught wrong.  They need to unlearn these things and relearn TRUTH and when referring to sexual behaviors and desires, healthy association in its appropriate manner are what will help.  It might be harder for some, depending on the trauma, but it’s not impossible and still doesn’t have to define any of us. God is bigger than all of it!

I’m so thankful I was told so I don’t have to live with that dirty shame I should never have had on me, and so I don’t pass along the same fate to my children due to lack of understanding.  I’m so thankful that I can share that truth with others so it doesn’t have to continue to be an unavoidable experience.  Help end the cycle of abuse and teach others that it’s wrong.  Sexual interaction should never happen between a child and an adult. Ever.

God is Bigger Than This

Yesterday, I was faced with having to process things regarding experiences I had as a child.  It was triggering and stirred a sense of dread in my gut as I worked through what had happened and how someone was to blame, but no one tangible.  Child sexual assault, when not dealt with or seen, reaches beyond the stretches of the imagination.  It’s devastating to think about and breaks my heart to a degree that words just don’t do it justice.

Somewhere along the way, a child must have been violated and taught to pursue these same sexual behaviors.  It would then go from one child to another, and another, and another… and I don’t know where it ended, if it ever did.  I was one of these children and I don’t know where it began or who introduced these ideas into the mind of the children… many of us all acting out things we had been taught.

I recall my mother walking in once and speaking to me and another child, that we don’t play that way… but then she continued to leave us to play alone and she never spoke of the matter again.  It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I began to see that there was a concern and it had to stop.  I felt dirty and ashamed for participating in these things, but without a knowledge of how to really deal with it and address it, so we stopped, we let it go, and we moved on.

It wasn’t until I was 16 that I’d tell someone about it.  Sharing what had been happening.   First my sisters and then my boyfriend who would later become my husband.  I was so ashamed and had no idea what to do with it… no one was to blame but there was such anger and devastation I wasn’t sure where to direct those emotions so I stifled them.

Yesterday, those emotions surfaced.  I began thinking of the other children who had been affected.  How many of us were there altogether? I’ll never know.  My gut turns at the thought of it being introduced to me… it being introduced to others… but another child somewhere had it done to them by an adult.  An adult violated and stole the innocence of all of us as they violated the boundaries of safety and innocence of the one or many who would thus go to other children to act those things out.

But where do the emotions go? The other children, we’re all victims.  The parents, 9 times out of 10 have no idea it’s happening because it’s someone so well loved and trusted harming their child.  So the emotions get directed at a faceless and intangible being… an evil that can’t be named; a wickedness only defined by the shadows in the night.

I don’t know what happened to all the children, or who/where they are today, but I’m praying my heart out as we all wrestle with the damage caused.  For me, it left me with a confusion of love, sex, boundaries, and safety… and opened me up to further damage by a man named David.  It left me vulnerable to accusations and insults about my behavior from my abusive sister J who continues to exploit what happened to me as though it defines who I am today.  It left me ashamed of having been a part of it, but not knowing any better in order to do anything about it, and now the damage has been done.  It left gaps in relationships and created wounds that would last well into my adult years.

I know there is healing.  I know God is bigger than this.  He will get me through and just as He is near to me, He is near to the other brokenhearted children who have had to wrestle through these experiences that tie us all together well into their adult years as well.  This too does not define us.  Our value, our beauty, and our purpose is found in Christ and the enemy can’t steal that away from us, no matter what his attempts are to do so.

Jesus is enough.

Dealing with Unwanted Thoughts

When you’ve heard someone say something really awful, like the most awful, mean, and hurtful thing that could be said in that given moment, how do you stomach it and move past it? What do you do to remove it from your thoughts or from effecting you well after it’s been said? Some of what I’m struggling with relates to some things that were said that don’t have an end of sorts – no apology or remorse.  In other cases, I have things that I have in my mind that I never even discussed with those people because I didn’t want them to feel guilt over it when they can’t change it… when do we let things go and be quiet and when do we bring these hurts to people to address?

I am still trying to find a balance in that… I was too quiet before and people had no clue I was hurting and then as I processed through heartache, I spilled out my guts. lol I want to honor the Lord in what I do: I want to obey Him in being me and I also want to walk out His Word in my life.  I realize I’m dealing with things I never had a chance to address or challenge as a teenager at 30, but I feel like I’m just shy of some new victory that I don’t know how to get over. I am hopeful anyway that I will stop feeling like a whiny teenager at some point here. hahhaa I say that but I know, despite my feelings, I’m not whiny or childish – because what I experienced wasn’t petty and my health matters.

Is there insight I’m missing in this or is this still a ‘give it time’ thing?

I appreciate any wisdom on the subject.