It takes time

Something I’ve been thinking about since reading Sean’s post to this forum topic has been just how important it is to understand that recovering from childhood abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or whatever combination of those is in your experience is not a quick process. It takes time and a lot of work to learn to overcome it. I started going to therapy in 1995, spent two years in and out of therapy, and was on medications before I even began to see any “improvement,” and even that was small and subtle. It’s now 2004, and even though I’ve been off meds and out of therapy for a long time, I still have bad days and issues that can set me off into a depression-like state for a few days. All that work didn’t eliminate the bad days and bad feelings. It helped me recognize when they were happening and deal with them more effectively than dissociating, as I did before.

And that’s just been my experience. I’m sure many other survivors who talk about their experiences overcoming abuse will give you many different stories. Different people, different abuse, different healing processes. The important thing is not how long it takes you to be “Normal”, (If we can ever really be whatever you want to call normal!) but that you’re working to overcome and gain healthy control over your own life at your own pace. Remember, your childhood may have been taken away, but your adulthood is yours. Overcoming abuse is about learning to be an adult and learning to make healthy choices for yourself. There’s no timeline, and, in the end, there’s no real finish line either. It’s an ongoing process for the rest of our lives.

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  1. Well said! There are no ‘quick fixes’, but the time and effort is certainly worthwhile. Glad to know you have made progress. Hope you will continue to take care of yourself.

  2. The horrible thing is for those of us who go on to unhealthy relationships in our adulthood, and much later in life we realize how much time we have wasted.

    At least this is the issue for me.

    I think that it is great that you recognize the loss of childhood, yet know that adulthood years are yours…I wish that knowledge would have been mine as well 17 years ago when I got out of the marriage that took my young adult hood – it has been only in the past 6 years that I am learning this.

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