There are five stages to the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Rarely, do you ever go through them as they are listed above and some people will go back and revisit one of the stages before they move on. Grieving is a very personal thing and no one should be told “how to” grieve. But, grieve we must.
Not too far into my own healing process, I found myself in a deep depression and all I wanted to do was cry. I was grieving for the loss of my childhood, not being a “normal” teenager, and being stripped of everything that was innocent and pure. Being violated takes that pure, innocence away and shatters it. Innocence is not all that has been lost—you do not have the tools to go out into the world and have meaningful relationships; nor were you taught how to deal with life in general. Your idea of what love is couldn’t be further from the truth. To you, love is painful, fearful, and utterly humiliating. We cannot go back and relive our childhoods, we cannot restore our purity and we have no idea of how to function and be successful in the world. We are damaged goods.
Without counseling and “reprogramming,” you most likely will pick out another abuser, an alcoholic, a womanizer or a drug addict; and repeat the abuse all over again. We have no boundaries and have never been in a “normal” relationship. So, it’s history repeating itself. My life has been full of abusive men in one way or another until I did the necessary counseling and learned how relationships should be.
I spent considerable time wondering what type person I would be today had I not been sexually abused. There is no way that any of us can begin to reach our full potential in this life due to our abuse. We come to realize what a dysfunctional existence we had as a child. We were not loved, wanted, nurtured or given the very basics of life that we needed. In my case, I didn’t have the proper nutrition to “grow my brain.” It’s very difficult and sad to get to this point in therapy and realize just what kind of childhood I missed, and the damage that was done to me.
Looking back, it appears to me that I went from being a child; to being a woman. I did well in school and even better in college later in my life. I wonder what I’d be doing today if I would have had decent, loving parents that provided for my basic needs and truly loved and supported me. I was told all the time how stupid I was, and I end up a “nobody.”
Our parents made it perfectly clear to us that if they had to have children—they wanted boys. So, as a young child, I became the biggest tomboy you’d ever seen. I started behaving like boys do—I was rough and tough and was involved with whatever my father happened to be doing. If he was working on the fence, I was there; if he was working on a car, I was there—I tried to be the son they never had. We felt very much in the way and unwanted by our parents. We spent our lives trying to win the approval and love from parents that was not capable of loving us.
In the healing process, you take account of all that you’ve lost (and it’s a tough thing to look at); and you grieve your loss. This is a very important step in the healing process. Without it, no healing can begin.