Fights were recounted, battles won amid wars sure to be lost; hope was clung to; families were both celebrated and denounced; it was agreed that friends just didn’t get it; tears were shed; comfort proffered.
— John Greene, The Fault In Our Stars

If you haven’t already, go back and read I Believe Your Lies: Reasons I Am Worthless and 8 Ways You Can Learn To Love And Accept Yourself Again and Urgent! Dump The Average Zeros For Support Heroes.

Here are ways you can learn to love and accept yourself again, part 3 - final chapter.


No matter where you are in your story, it’s extremely difficult to heal in isolation. Most damage from sexual trauma occurs in secrecy and silence.

But relying on one person for your every need is so dangerous. One set of hands isn’t enough to keep you from falling.
— Sarah Addison Allen

Joining a sexual trauma community is different than finding support in your friends or family. It’s taking the support an extra step to allow yourself to have support from people who just get it. To really show you that you’re not alone. Because as much as I am grateful for my husband—my greatest support hero—it’s not the same as sharing with a fellow survivor of sexual trauma. I can describe the aftermath my trauma has had on my mind or my body, but it’s like describing frog legs as tasting like chicken to someone who has never eaten chicken before. And sometimes I feel guilty talking to my husband about things. He worries about me and wants to take care of me. That’s a great thing, it truly is. It’s also burdensome to worry about him in my healing because it makes me want to hold back the rawness of it all. Sometimes I feel embarrassment, shame, and guilt from what I have to share. Sometimes I worry about his reaction or if he’ll view me differently. It has less to do with him than it does my vulnerability. It’s the part of me that is still sitting on the throne of lies my sexual trauma created.

I don’t feel the need to pretend, minimize, hide, explain, or cower when I’m surrounded by others who are in the community of sexual trauma. I am able to accept myself as I am.

The sexual trauma community is a community that no one wants to be a part of because to belong to the group you have had to experience this devastation – to have lost yourself and the things you perhaps held dearest to you: safety, self-love, innocence. But once you’ve gone through that devastation, you find the community is exactly what you need. It’s crucial. When you are a part of the group, you surround yourself with those who just get it. Maybe for the first time you find yourself with people who sound, think, and feel like you. You may have been alone in your pain, but you don’t have to carry it alone any longer.

When are you going to get it into your head, we’re in this together!
— Hermoine, Harry Potter And The Order of Phoenix

Through the combination of supporting ourselves and the establishment of support heroes and of community, we are able to develop our own Patronus that’s strong enough to ward off our Dementors and invite in love and acceptance.

 

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