Protection

As I’m starting my four book, the theme of protection comes up several times. Any one who has experienced any type of trauma knows that protection is one of our first priorities. I believe it is something that survivors of sexual abuse rarely let loose.

First of all, physical protection is crucial in how a safe a survivor may feel in a situation. For myself, I have thought very little of my own physical protection. My abuse was not forced, so I feel much different about my own physical protection than others. From some of the stories that others have shared with me, they cannot go to sleep without barring a door or other entrance securely. My heart definitely goes out to all of those survivors.

However, I do feel that emotional protection is an area in which I have struggled with a lot. My first defense is an emotional wall. To keep everyone out was a very good defense mechanism for a while. But I used that as my only means of protection, and that was not a good idea for my emotional state. As I’ve learned in therapy, I feel I’m making better decisions on who I allow into my life to see the hurts and pains, but also the goofy and silly parts of me. I’ve also learned that I can share certain parts of my life without having to expect anything back from someone else. That has been a very freeing part of my emotional recovery. I used to believe that in order to make a deep and solid connection with someone, I would have to give up a dark secret or a painful memory in order for them to do the same in return. Although that can be a bonus in a relationship, I’ve learned that’s not what binds a friendship together.

I would like to encourage other survivors to learn how to take down their emotional walls but also know that it’s alright to have them there for a while. Just don’t allow that to be the gatekeeper of how you develop friendships. Also, for those of you who read this who know a survivor, just be present with them. It’s the best gift you can give us.

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