Are you an Incest Survivor
Seeking Emotional Healing?
Ask A Healer Inner Child Healing Series
I have claimed victory over incest
by N J Howell
Message to your Inner Child
Update, 2018: From Victor to a Transformed Past
This is an older article about my experience in healing incest in my own life. This year, I've stepped into an even stronger position with regard to the past. I've understood, finally, that there is no past unless I recreate it in the present. When I heal from a trauma in linear time (and that was a necessary part-being with the past, the way it happened, and watching it transform as I was able to release myself from identification with it), it no longer exists for me. What an amazing understanding to finally reach. I wish the same for anyone reading this, who has experienced incest or other trauma that keeps being brought forward into present moments.
I haven't always felt like a victor, when I thought about my childhood.
In fact, like so many others, I used to call myself an incest victim (I felt like one because I didn't see that I had a choice in what happened to me) and for years, I felt those childhood experiences would define me for the rest of my life. Like many children who are abused, I "forgot" my childhood until I was much older. When I did remember, I began to slowly heal. I moved from thinking of myself as an incest victim to feeling as if I were an incest survivor. It was a long time more before I could feel like a victor over the events of my formative years.
One thing that helped me tremendously was being able to move beyond the fundamental Christian perspective of my Grandmother to embrace a more quantum physics view of life. Much of my healing was the result of moving from identification with what had happened into a more quantum relationship with my body. It's hard to put into words in a small article but basically, I learned to approach the damage as information, rather than as who I was. It had nothing to do with who I AM, it was just something that happened.
Later in the healing process, during a meditation with intent to see more clearly, I remembered choosing my birth family before coming into this incarnation. This was unsettling at first (why would I ever chose this, I thought) but also reassuring because I understood that I had a choice at some point. Before coming into the physical, I had a choice as to where I would be born and to whom. I knew the potential for both blessings and abuse if I did come. I forgot this as soon as I was born, however, as do almost all of us. The veil of forgetfulness came down over my mind, the veil that is necessary to having an immersive experience here.
I had no conscious memory of the abuse til 28. After I remembered, in a healing session with a gifted healer, I could understand why I had so often felt like someone who had narrowly escaped extinction, and why I had so much uncertainty about life, love, others. I had somehow survived events so catastrophic to my sense of Self that I wandered through life from age 4 to age 28, with practically no sense of my I AM Self, spiritual gifts or purpose.
I had no real life, and that is not an exaggeration. I was numb inside and intensely focused on distraction, anything that would keep me from feeling ... whatever it was I could sense I would feel if I stopped long enough. All my energy was consumed with tamping down a memory which was, at that time, too painful to remember. Wounded and alone, no matter how many people I was with, I hid the child within until there was a safe space to let her express what had happened.
Inside the Circle of an Incest Survivor Group:
I used to call myself an incest survivor the same way I might have called myself an earthquake survivor or tornado survivor or the survivor of some other act of nature, because I felt equally in the grip of something so much larger than myself that I had no sense of ever being able to control it or the effects of it.
After spontaneously remembering the incest of my childhood, I felt much like a wild animal let out of it's cage. However, being in the cage for decades, I hardly could remember how to walk thru life anymore. Remembering the abuse was just the first step. I didn't know that then. I didn't know I had only uncovered the tip of a very, very large iceberg within me.
It took a tremendously painful experience in an incest survivor circle group for me to fully grasp how absolutely I had shut down my own power. That moment of awareness was the beginning of reclaiming my power, and my Essence.
I hope, in sharing this on the site, it may help another who may be struggling with remembering who they really Are.
I was part of an incest recovery group. We sat in circle to share and I was passed over by the circle administrator. She simply skipped me and asked the next person to share. I felt ready to burst with rage unexpressed, and it was my turn after all, and then you did the unthinkable in Sacred Space.....you skipped me, passed me over, dismissed me.
You said you'd come back to me. Liar. In the healing circle I sat ... glaring at the facilitator ... feeling brutally unhealed ... feeling entirely powerless, the way I'd felt most of my life but now, I felt that way in what was supposed to be a safe place for me to express myself. It was unthinkable.
I came up against the edge of something so huge that I realized, as I sat and fumed and resented and hated that facilitator ... no, not her really but what she represented to me ... I realized as I sat there, debating the indignant storming out of the room that
I could do so well ... and then ... I realized ...
God, no. That was not an option anymore. No.
How could I leave one more room with THIS unsaid?
So, I sat and fumed and waited and hated and did not listen to others in circle -- well, half-listened while resenting the permission given to others and denied to me, resenting my need for permission,
deeply resenting the withholding of permission and gnashing internal teeth at the pain of a lack of freedom so profound that it could not be uttered but which I felt so strong in every heartbeat that I could barely live.
I could barely live in that moment and yet, fought against waking death from it -- no. I would not go through life that way. I would not shut me down again.
I refused, that moment, to go on with the pain of my childhood, suppressed once more or ever again. So, I stayed.
Just when I felt I could hold it in no longer, this wise woman turned to me, circle leader, and so willingly looked past the hate and venom I spewed toward her and, just as I thought I was going to hate her even more, and unleash the demons of years of unspoken rage against her or anyone else who took my turn away, anyone who withheld permission from my beingness ...
just at that moment .... I sobbed.
Instead of rage, the rage at injustice that had burned in me since those tender years of no tenderness, there were only tears.
Deep, deep, deep grief pounded out.
Grief for the child I was, for the pain I became and the life I lost in the midst of a chaos I did not feel was mine.
What was mine?
That question seeded in me that day, and carried me into years of searching for me. Mine. What is mine. Who am I? Who I am.
Now, these many years later, Terri, I see you loved me so. To bear the brunt of my judgment and misdirected rage, long enough for me to burn through the
impotent rage to a release of the pain I had carried so long, so that I am. I am. I am. Long live the keystone cops.
Has incest caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Any traumatic event that haunts you and interferes with your quality of life could be an indication of PTSD. Please see a qualified mental health professional for evaluation and diagnosis if you feel your incest experience may have led to post traumatic stress disorder. I'd also suggest asking your therapist about natural remedies for PTSD - Not meant to replace medical treatment or attention but offered as adjunctive therapy.
Emotional Health Disclaimer: The information on healing the incest recovery in this mental health / emotional healing article is not intended to take the place of needed mental health counseling of medication.
If you have, or suspect you have been incested, please consult with your chosen mental health professional, to assess your needs with regard to emotional health and mental well-being.
Online help: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network or call 1-800-656-HOPE.