For my readers, I apologize for not posting in a while. I’ve been focusing on my path of setting boundaries, feeling less fragile and vulnerable in my healing process in the past several months, and I have realized a lot during that time about myself.
As many of you know….this is my Senior year at my University, and when I went back to therapy this last year; I realized that one of my challenges is feeling and being seen as less fragile and vulnerable to myself and my friends and family. After my sexual assault, my ex-boyfriend decided to stalk me for a while thus, leading to a restraining order as I felt unsafe even walking out of my house. Now I feel unsafe just walking by myself at day or night, and as I will be graduating and moving into an apartment by myself – I felt this was something that needed to be discussed, and hopefully lessen the fear of being on my own; and while you may say “It’s normal to be afraid of living on your own, it’s part of growing up”. This is not the same as just, “growing up, and living on my own”. This stems from feeling unsafe of being alone, and possibly being attacked and re-assaulted when I do live alone. As a survivor of assault, you always think of the possibility of being re-assaulted even if it isn’t the same individual committing the crime. Another reason I want to work on feeling and being seen as less fragile and vulnerable is the fact that my friends and family have seen me in this way for a while now, and I want to be able to tell them with confidence that I am not fragile or vulnerable anymore. There used to be times where I cringed or would close myself off when my family would talk about some new sexual assault case that hit the news, and I’d be upset just hearing about it, and I mean in a way that it triggers my own assault and flashbacks.
However, while I am still currently working on those with my therapist…I have made some amazing steps towards healing the way I need to heal after my assault. I’ve always thought there was only one, two or three ways to properly heal as a survivor of sexual assault, that is….until I made a realization that there are multiple doors that I could take in order for me to heal properly. One of the steps I took while getting to through that door was acknowledging the fact that calling my ex-boyfriend “Douche” was actually hindering my own healing process, and causing me more harm than I thought it was. I felt that I had moved on from the assault, but I was still holding it (the assault) against him and myself still, and that wasn’t sitting right with me. From what I knew about him in the short time that I knew him…I knew that after a couple months, he would have realized what he did was wrong, and I didn’t need to be holding that against him any longer than I should have been.
After that realization, I decided to call him by his given name, and hope that he had realized what he had done wrong, and owned up to it at some point. This realization also allowed me to realize more of why my mom called him “Douche”, and that made me realize that she only did it to protect me and support me in my healing process. This made me feel a lot better about my boundaries with my loved ones when it came to things that trigger my assault. I even can listen to the song we had picked as, “Our song” for our relationship without it causing me to have flashbacks of the assault.
These small but good steps were so relieving to my own mental and emotional health. I haven’t felt this relaxed, de-stressed, comfortable and powerful since the assault, and I haven’t ever seen my own “door” for my own healing before. Most of these realizations weren’t even made using EMDR, it was through my own brain processing and will-power, and that makes me feel even more powerful knowing that I didn’t need assistance by vibrations or beeps, in order to acknowledge those things I did. I realize this wasn’t as long as most of my blogs, but I finally felt the need and want to write about my healing process again. I’m hoping since I have started writing again, and improving my mental and emotional health – that I will continue to write blogs, especially since the annual Take Back The Night for WASAC is this weekend, and I’m sure I’ll have more news for you guys.
In The Ashes,
The Rising Phoenix