The most challenging aspect of being a survivor of abuse is loneliness. Survivors often don't speak of what they've been through not only because of the shame attached but because it can feel as if no one else understands.
Survivors don't want to be looked at differently yet what they've been through IS different than someone who hasn't been abused in any way and their struggle can be a daily battle with conflicting emotions. Rarely does a survivor feel they can trust their own emotions because they've been told they don't matter, to stifle them, or what they feel is wrong.
Hopeful Hearts Ministry is dedicated to help give a VOICE to survivors of abuse. To be the avenue in which they can find their voice with others who have gone through the same struggles with emotions, insecurities and fears. You are not alone.
I've been struggling lately with being able to trust my feelings. Should I feel this way? Do I have a right to feel this way? How do I handle feeling this way? Am I acting like a victim because I feel this way?
That's the worst, to have overcome so much and then to fear being lumped back into the "victim" mentality. The reality is when we face and voice the emotions (even the self-pitied, selfish ones) it shows you aren't a victim, that you are recognizing the pain (especially if it's irrational) and working through it.
A victim relishes their pain, swims in the pit of despair and can not see beyond their sorrow. They don't want to talk it out and have anyone in that pit because it's only big enough for one. They don't seek prayer or guidance out of the pit. They'd rather decompose in misery.
It is a choice. To be a victim or to be a survivor. We didn't have the choice of what was done to us but we certainly have the choice to overcome or remain in the pit dug by the perpetrator(s).
Survivors, you know who you are—you are reading this and saying to yourself "I don't ever want to be in that pit again because it is a pitiful place to be." But sometimes it is hard to not feel loneliness at times when our insecurities, shame or fears flare. Unfortunately, life will deal other blows that cause the flare up, but be encouraged!
Remember who you are—God's wondrous masterpiece! (Eph.2:10); what you've overcome—Victorious! (1 Cor. 15:57); and your strength—I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength! (Phil. 4:13). The old feelings might arise, but you are a made new! Jesus said, "I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5).
And remember, you are not alone. Write me any time ... I'll listen.
Shannon is the author of EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me...Irreplaceable Him and founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry, an advocacy non-profit organization (501 c3) giving a VOICE to survivors of abuse. She is a featured columnist with Choose-Now Ministries.com "Shannon Deitz: On Hope", has been featured on catholiclane.com, Lifestyle & Charity magazine and Catholic Women's magazine. She and her husband, Neal, live in Kingwood, Texas, where they are active in their local church and community. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Seth, who provide them with endless joy and reason to continually count their blessings.
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