Overcoming Abuse – To Be Brave Is To Be Honest

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Post written by Bulbul Bahuguna, M.D.

It is unfortunate that a person has either been himself abused by someone, or knows of someone else who has been abused. Sexual abuse often happens in the secrecy of a home and goes unreported. Silence only enables the crime. To be brave is to be honest.

Recovery begins with honest self-talk – such as what follows…

Self-Talk By A Victim Of Sexual Abuse

It never ceases to amaze me what one person can experience during a lifetime. This emotional clearing house called life. How do you stay sane in insane places? How do you stop sorting through the tangled mess your family has become, a bit like what you just pulled out from last year’s Christmas lights to put up on the tree? Inside-out, and topsy-turvy. When every family member remembers the same episode differently.

When will life teach us how to fall without getting hurt? Why are we sent on Earth without an instruction book, on how to expunge scares and snap back broken wings? No shortcuts. No cheating. No blueprint. Not even cliff notes? When will we realize that the spoken word can kill? And that our deeds can make another person invisible?

Ample time has been spent to explore the myths and half-truths about my family. I am grounded in my resolve to temper my expectations and have learned to accept that my kind of, sort of, family is no more. I am slowly learning to walk my way into the gray zone, make a graceful exit out of triangulated relationships, drop the tug o’ war rope to let the other side win and walk into my fears. I have stopped being a pallbearer of misery. But most of all, I try to get out of my own way. And that holding on to resentments? They just rot the container.

I Have Forgiven Myself

I have long since ended self-flagellation and forgiven myself. I am done asking the same questions over, and over and over, again, and expecting different results every time. I am done crying alone, stirring up the silt at the bottom of the ocean with my tears, or turning rocks upside down looking for love. I am done banging my head on a windowpane like a dumb trapped fly, when the window just behind me is actually wide open.

I have vowed to myself never to miss the ecstasy of another tequila-colored sunrise. The one that burns out yesterday’s angst. Or the quietude of another unhurried sunset, when the dust settles the hubbub of fireflies for the night. Screensavers. After all, there are only so many sunrises and sunsets in a lifetime.

Through recovery, I can smell the different shades of the fall. I can feel the singular pitch in a song. I have tasted the sweetness of love. It is amazing how you can find love in so many places.

Bulbul Bahuguna, M.D. is the author of the novel, The Ghosts That Come Between Us. She is a psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience treating victims of abuse. Dr Bahuguna is on staff at NorthShore University Health Systems, which is affiliated with The University of Chicago and Mayo Clinic. She is a National Trustee of American India Foundation — a leading charity involved in accelerating social change in India.

photo source: rapecrisiscenterlv.wordpress.com

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