My heart goes out to you too......
So, after writing my last post, something else came to mind. The last post was titled “My Heart Goes Out to You,” and it was for those who are dealing with the past of abuse…alone, with no support. Well there’s another set of people who my heart goes out to, and it’s my family and other second-hand survivors.
Second-hand survivor may be a new term you for you, but my mom and I learned about it once we started dealing with my past of child sexual abuse. As my mother, she is considered a second-hand survivor because she was no doubt affected by the trauma. Although she wasn’t the one abused, she was still affected because I’m her daughter. She has had to travel this journey with me, so she has seen the good and the bad. Other second-hand survivors would include my daddy and both of my brothers. For those who are married the spouse would also be a second-hand survivor.
So my heart goes out to my family and to all of the second-hand survivors because I know it’s difficult for you to even start a conversation about our past of child sexual abuse. You may not even want to talk about it and completely avoid it. If we do decide to bring up the subject, you tread lightly hoping you don’t say the wrong thing. It’s okay. My heart goes out to you, but let me help you out.
All survivors deal with their past differently, but normally we want the same thing. These are a few things we want from second-hand survivors:
1. Show interest in our journey.
Let us know that you are interested in our journey and that you care about us getting better. Support in whatever way you can. However we choose to heal, just be there for support. Showing your support lets us know that you care. No support gives off the impression to us that it doesn’t matter that we were abused or hurt. So even if you can’t be with us physically all the time, let us know that you do support us.
2. Ask us how we’re doing.
Don’t be afraid to ask how we’re doing. We like when you’re concerned, whether we’re having a good day or bad day. A simple text or quick phone call will make our day. Sometimes we just want to know that you are concerned about our wellbeing. We want to know that you care how we’re feeling. I promise you won’t hurt us if you ask how we’re doing or how we’re feeling, especially on our journey. And I guarantee we’ll let you know if we don’t want to answer certain questions, but overall, ask away! It shows you’re concerned and that you care.
3. Encourage us.
Everyone needs encouraging! Send us a text. Give us a call! Let us know that we can make it. We want to hear it. It’s tough being on this journey of recovery, but having that extra push helps. Every bit of encouraging word helps. Ohhhh and I must throw this in. We don’t always want the scripture. I love GOD, and I know HE loves me. (This may not go for everyone) We just want you to speak from the heart. Now some may say, the word is what’s in my heart, and that good. JUST ENCOURAGE. Tell us that you believe in us; we are strong; we can overcome…things like that.
4. Be transparent
Please be honest because if you’re not honest, we don’t want to talk. It’s okay to let us know how you feel. The more you’re open with us, the more we’re open with you. It’s an uncomfortable topic but it must be discussed. So, just be open, honest, and transparent. We’ll appreciate you even more in the end.
Well, I hope this has helped my family as well as other second-hand survivors. There are several books out there that are helpful for spouses and family members that are second-hand survivors. I’m okay, but my heart still goes out to you!