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Apr27
2015

Maybe I Have Become the Woman I Needed

By Christine Cissy White

The author writes about recovering from childhood sexual abuse. She discusses the symptoms of developmental trauma. Please take caution when reading.

In 1989, I was 22 years old, and I had just been diagnosed with PTSD stemming from childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, abandonment, and neglect. What I needed more than therapy or books or experts or support groups was to meet a woman, decades older, who had a childhood as bad as mine or worse – and who went on to have a life. A personal life. A professional life. A sex life. A family life. 

I was aching to see with my own eyes this middle-aged survivor. I needed proof of her existence because she is what I feared I could never become.

Ordinary. Typical. Free.

She would know the frozen paralysis of a soul in terror and the raging heat of adrenaline coursing through the system uninvited.

She would know the enemy who shares the face of caregiver, who doles out abuse and ice cream.

She would know the complexity of staying present in a body that is also a trigger – the scene of the crime.

She would know about nightmares and trust issues. She would know how liberating it is to tell the truth and how it also can mean strained, ruined, and at-risk family relationships.

She would apprentice me with the truth and school me with her wisdom.

Where was she?

I couldn’t find her. Not in person. Where were the everyday women talking about childhood trauma and, more importantly, life after?

I wanted the ones with eyes I could look into knowing they remembered the past but were no longer caged by fear.

How could there be so many survivors of childhood trauma and so much silence?

Often, we are invisible to one another. When not in crisis, we don’t want to be reminded where we came from. And we live in a world where we are judged, shamed, belittled, and stigmatized for being abused as children.

On the one hand we are deemed “damaged goods,” and on the other we are told to “get over it already” – sometimes by the same people.

Trauma is not a hard candy we refuse to stop sucking on. Developmental trauma shaped us – without our permission or consent. Even though we were victims as children, as adults we fear seeming like a “victim” if we speak of it now. We live in a society where being a victim of violence is still more shameful than being a perpetrator. Which is why I fear silence more than exposure.

I won’t lose my job, housing, or more personal relationships by speaking out about the long-term impacts of childhood sexual abuse, addiction, abandonment, and neglect. But that wasn’t always true. I have the self-care, respect, and support to risk being vulnerable now but that took decades. I’ll still make coffee tomorrow morning, shovel when it snows, and weed in the summer no matter what I write or speak about. My daughter will need a hug, a ride, and something for dinner. That is the victory.

We can recover. We do recover.

But safety shouldn’t be like a second language we have to learn as adults.

Self-care shouldn’t feel as unfamiliar as driving on the opposite side of the road. But for far too many of us, it does.

Childhood abuse is preventable. Feeling at home in the body is birthright. For so long, I waited: for rescue from my parents, from lovers, and even from trying desperately to be good and significant to prove to myself that I mattered. Then I learned to “mama” my own trauma symptoms, to tell the truth about that childhood trauma. I learned that I couldn’t make the past less bad, but I could feel better in the present.

And I started to talk and write about my experience without shame or hiding. I sign my full name now so that younger survivors know there is a way, a future, and it need not be dismal.

I have become the woman I needed.

Your story matters too. And if no one has said it to you yet:

I believe you.

You matter.

It’s not your fault.

You are not responsible for how you were treated and what was done to you.

You are responsible for way you treat yourself and how you advocate and respond to your own body, mind, and soul. You can impact your own health, happiness, and wellness now.

You can’t change the past or even all of the symptoms and pain that go with it but you can write a different future. You can release shame. You can love yourself and the world more. You can accept and nurture yourself.

You can be the person you need. Now. 

In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we’re working with RAINN to highlight survivors and their stories. If you need help, please visit our FIND HELP page or call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. You can also find RAINN’s online hotline here

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Comments (102)

  1. Hadassah

    I’ve needed this article…thank you so much for sharing your heart <3

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Hadassah,
      Thank you for writing me and telling me it touched you!
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
  2. Snow

    I have to agree. We need not feel alone, to bond with some whom has had similar life as us is a must. About 3 years ago I landed in a hospital where there was no support. So here I am finding out about my ptsd and there was really no place to go. Oh an AA or NA meeting, I did not need.I questioned the head nurse why and she said oh there are plenty of people here whom suffer as you. Okay then why not have a group just for that. Treat the problem not the after affect, as substance abuse ext. I will be 40 this year and is has been only the past few years I have not felt so alone.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Dear Snow,
      I’m glad you are finding community too. It’s true that often groups splinter off into ways of coping rather than what causes the reasons to need the coping. Things are starting to change it seems. Thanks for commenting. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  3. cassandra

    This is exactly what I needed to see today and where I’m at in life right now. Thank you a million times for sharing this, women like you are blazing trails for the rest of us to find healing.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Cassandra,
      Let’s all keep making a wider and easier path!!! THANK YOU – you made my day.
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
  4. Delisha Paris

    Thank you , me and my sister grew up with this and my sister suffered the worse and now she suffers and struggles with self hatred and being ashamed of these things she endured I don’t know how to make her see its not her fault these things happened I want her to know so badly she matters and is loved she is all I have left …

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Delisha,
      It sounds like you and your sister are so close. I’m sorry she’s in pain and struggling. If she’d ever be open to talking, I know RAINN has resources and support https://rainn.org/ too. Take Care, Cissy

      Reply  |  
  5. Anonymous

    How did you do it? I’ve been struggling for so long, trying to be that woman. I’m still no closer than I was before. I don’t see any good coming out of what happened.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Dear Anonymous,
      How did I do it?

      I blog at http://www.healwritenow.com and I don’t know how to answer that question in a brief space. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. I know it’s possible to find more and more peace, more and more joy, more understanding of what gets injured and why it can be hard (to be intimate, have feelings, deal with symptoms).
      The things that helped most though:
      Guided Imagery
      Writing (expressive and free-write style)
      Yoga
      Being honest with myself even when I wished what i was feeling, thinking or experiencing was different.
      A bunch of people who loved me.
      Hang in there!!! Cissy

      Reply  |  
  6. Joy

    I am so thankful that at 19 years old I finally found someone who could be this person for me: the decades older proof that life continues and can be good again. She stepped into my life when I could hardly give a hug without flashbacks and continues to be my encouragement. And now, I get to be that older person whose very existence is proof that things get better. I get to reach into the lives of younger, hurting people with my kind of background and say “Hey. This is going to end. You are not what that person did to you. It is not your fault. It is not your fault. I love you and you deserve to love yourself too.”

    There is nothing more powerful than the knowledge that we’re not alone in what we go through.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Joy,
      Your comment makes me so happy – that you had a woman like that and that you are that women. YES!!! Cissy

      Reply  |  
    2. brittany

      you give me hope that maybe i can find that person for me.

      Reply  |  
      1. Christine Cissy White

        My greatest hope is that we can be more out in the open and show others what has helped, what hasn’t and state what we need, want and crave to become whole.

        Reply  |  
  7. Soph

    Thank you. I find myself at 23, trying so hard to recover from PTSD of mental abuse and depression. I’ve always wished for a strong woman to tell me that it can get better, that I can heal from my past. This has helped me, so much. I thank you for sharing your story, and wish you all the best!

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Dear Soph,
      I’m so glad it helped. We are out here and it does get better. It does! You aren’t alone. WE ARE NOT ALONE. Cissy
      http://www.healwritenow.com

      Reply  |  
  8. Elizabeth

    Thank you, x100! I am 26 and have just started sorting through all of this that has made up my life. I look at what you mentioned the person you need understanding and it is exactly what I have been searching for. I mean, everything you said absolutely resonates with me right now. I have a therapist, I have the knowledge, but what I have been seeking out is someone who has a story like mine and has still been successful in all aspects of life. I can read this, I can look at outcome studies, and I can read things on sites that say it’s possible, but that doesn’t stick with me. I want the hard evidence, the living breathing proof and motivation that comes from meeting someone that has been where I have. I love how you ended this piece. I don’t know that I will stop searching for that person I need, even knowing that person is me, but everything you said really put things into perspective for me, so thank you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Elizabeth,
      There are so many survivors doing work they love, feeling at ease, having relationships with friends, family even, lovers and most importantly inside. IT IS possible. IT IS!!! And having more understanding and compassion for the stuff that takes a while or gets brought back up – it’s totally possible! It is!!! Thank you for writing and I hope things change so there’s less isolation and less feeling alone. That’s why I write and blog at http://www.healwritenow.com because it’s what I really most craved (and still crave too) – people being real and honest. I’m so glad this spoke to you and it is so helpful to know, believe and feel the community of others. It’s still so rare and hard to find but it’s getting easier as we’re all sharing more, and with less shame. YAY. All the therapy and the studies were something and certainly better than nothing. But I was more interested in how people healed out of a therapy office and in daily life and existence and that was hard to find at the cooler or play group or at a cocktail party even though those were the questions most on my mind.
      It sounds like you are doing great work and it’s not for nothing!
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
      1. Elizabeth

        Thank you for taking the time and thought to respond to my comment. And thank you again for putting this in writing. It’s been over a month since my first comment, but for the past few days I find my mind wanders back to your writing. I understand why people are so silent about this. I stayed silent about it until I was 26 and even now I am selectively silent. Having shared it with people and being confronted with their non-supportive reactions, I get it. But at the same time, I get angry. I think of the women that have come before me and have faced all of this and I think that I wish they were accessible. I need everything that you listed, and I need to see that it is possible. Anyway, I wanted to say that I appreciate your writing because even though that anger is there, this gives me hope on the days that I am angry. Though, I can’t help but think that if more people stepped up to be that woman you speak of, then I whole-heartedly believe it would make it more likely that when we get to be that woman ourselves, we will want to step up to help the next generation because we will remember what it was like to have that woman.

        Reply  |  
        1. Christine Cissy White

          Elizabeth,
          Thank you for coming back to respond as well. I want to be clear too that I didn’t feel I could be out much about all of this when I was younger and when I told people I shared as though it were a huge secret and a shame and I’d be lucky if they loved me after. And sometimes the responses were not good. Sometimes, frankly, they were agonizingly bad. But sometimes they were healing and restorative and I met people who saw me as strong and offered me a different view of myself. But we live in a world where it’s not yet safe to be out in the open without personal risks or worry about being judged or losing a job. That’s real too and there are very real reasons it’s hard to be out. And also, the silence that permeates makes it hard as well. I know I went to women’s centers and wrote anonymously when in my 20’s and went to therapy regularly and had to tell people sometimes I had PTSD because it was impacting me. I look back though and wish I had felt less shame, less self-hate and I guess that’s why now, at least in writing, I keep revisiting these topics. I was starving for them myself and couldn’t find people talking about struggling, managing, dealing, coping, growing and all the complicated stuff. I just needed to hear others were doing the same. Anyhow, I’m sorry you have not had all positive responses. I respect your anger. And also your own process.
          Warmly,
          Cissy

          Reply  |  
  9. Gaylene Tackett

    That was beautiful. We can grow up. I have had to rely on Jesus to bring me through and I am doing it. For 47 years I hid. Found alcohol and drugs at 12 and stayed with it til I turned 47. Tried to stay sober for 6 years, but I was haunted and no way out. I tried every therapy available, didn’t work. I lost my kids, my husband my life for 20 more years. Now I have God. I am not afraid. The old thoughts and pains are going away and I can love myself and others because God loved me. I really appreciate you sharing. I shouldn’t have to hurt to be a kid. But sometimes it does and then we heal and can be a light to others. God bless you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Gaylene,
      It sounds like you have been through so much and have reached some peace. I’m so glad! cissy

      Reply  |  
  10. Rebecca Dodson

    Love this. Thanks

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Rebecca,
      You are welcome! Cissy

      Reply  |  
  11. Linda

    Thank you for taking the time to write exactly how I feel at times…

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Linda,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment!
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
  12. jennylynn

    Thank you for your transparency. I am that woman who is whole again, but only by the blood of Jesus Christ. When I was weak He was strong. Philippians 4:4-13 Love & hugs to you!!!

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Jennylynn,
      Thank you for the support and I’m glad you feel whole too!!!! Cissy

      Reply  |  
  13. Ronda

    thank you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      You are welcome!

      Reply  |  
  14. Pamela Fanning

    This is one of the best pieces I have ever read about being a survivor. It is eloquent and so familiar– every word of it. Thank you. Truly.

    Reply  |  
  15. Lori

    Thank you for writing this. We are within 2 years of the same age. I’m happily married with two children. My husband understands that I have nightmares and that I am having new issues as my little girls grew into the age that my abuse began. I’ve always handled things myself and would have loved to find that woman to look up to. Your article reminds me that I need to be brave enough to let people know that I’m okay and that my childhood wasn’t perfect. Maybe I can help someone that is searching for me.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Lori,
      Thank you for writing. I’m so glad you are inspired to share YOUR STRENGTH and example. I know I kept waiting and looking and waiting and looking for “real” women who I could relate to but realized, “Oh, I’m not even willing to ‘out’ myself but I’m expecting or hoping others will.” And let’s hope that being more out in the open makes it easier for others. And us too – to remember we aren’t alone and that this break-the-cycle parenting stuff is pretty remarkable, powerful and possible! Warmly, Cissy

      Reply  |  
  16. Tara

    I read the articles that are shared via TWLOHA’s Twitter daily, but this story is literally as if someone wrote down the very words I spoke to my counselor just a few months back [“where are the older women…”]. Thank you for sharing. It’s good to be reminded that there are ones who’ve come through and are healthy..thriving…healed…

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Tara,
      Thank you for letting me know that the older women’s voices are needed, necessary and helpful. There are so many topics interesting to me in this world. I write a lot about this topic because I craved and needed voices, not just from therapists or professionals but people with lived experience 24/7. I’m glad the words matter and thank you for sharing your voice with me. I blog at http://www.healwritenow.com and I don’t offer or sell anything but just believe talking real about real life somehow matters. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  17. Thrivesurvivor

    I do not regret speaking out and standing up for my mental health. However, the price I paid for doing so is beyond my comprehension ~ I was punished, blamed, and I did lose my recovery and employment. My community became the abusers. I hope to find my voice again because I will not be silenced. I hope to find my tribe ~ so we don’t have speak out alone.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      I’m so sorry for your enormous losses.

      Reply  |  
  18. Autumn Allcorn

    i am a victim of rape. twice, once by my own brother. once by a strange man whom dragged me to the woods i am only 14. my brother did this when i was 9 continuing till i was 11 and then the other manwhen i was 12 for these long years of my life ive also dealt with mental disorders such as depression anxiety ptsd and so many others i cant trust men anymore sometimes i worry if my boyfriend thinks im too damaged or too used but this story gave me inspiration to be un ashamed and to not fear what i am looked at as to only fear, fear itself . for this i tahnk you

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Autumn,
      I’m sorry for all you have been through. You are not alone and you have been injured and hurt. YOU are not damaged. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  19. Morgan

    Thank you so much for this. I needed to read this. I’m 22 now and I struggle often, constantly worrying that I’m always going to feel the way I feel now. And worrying that I’ll never be able to have a life outside of my pain. I also struggle with wanting to share my story but feeling like so many people won’t or don’t want to hear it. Thank you again for sharing this. I hope some day I can be as strong as you are. <3

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Morgan,
      You are strong already. Many don’t know what a monumental accomplishment it can be to cope. Go easy on yourself and hang in there. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  20. Leigh Baker

    Wow. Just wow. Eternal thanks for writing this piece. I never thought to look to *myself* to be woman I needed. You are exactly right: the younger me so badly wanted to find someone older who was ‘OK’, who’d ‘made it’, but I never found her. I’m constantly looking for someone to fill that role when that person is incapable of doing that. Thank your for this interesting and profound perspective as I will now look to myself to be that women (for me and any younger women coming along the way). I have become the woman I needed. Yes!

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Leigh,
      You are so welcome. My hope is still that we will find mentors, comrades, guides, sisters as well as our own selves. I just think so many of us have been afraid to “out” ourselves and there are so many of us and so many of us are hoping others will be brave. Maybe we have to be brave – if we want, need, can and are able depending on our needs and circumstances. I think with the internet we can find others not just in our close inner day to day circle and maybe that will start a movement. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  21. Hannah

    I’m 22 and struggling to finish my college degree while wading through the flashbacks and panic attacks that come with childhood sexual abuse. The culture I grew up in was a culture of silence and shame, and this post made me feel less alone in a world that has no desire to hear my story. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for being a testament that we can and will conquer what happened to us, and the darkness will not overcome.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Hannah,
      I FEEL for you. It’s brave work you are doing. I’m sorry it’s so hard. I hope you are blown away by your courage. It’s so much you are doing. I wish you support, community and continued strength in being a break-the-cycle person.
      Cissy
      http://www.healwritenow.com has some free quotes, memoir writing and virtual community if you are interested. No lectures – just sharing

      Reply  |  
  22. Cheyenne Hysom

    I can’t say I can relate entirely, but I do completely understand. I support women, and men, talking about being abused. I can promise if anyone needs it, I will listen.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      So sweet!

      Reply  |  
  23. Natalie

    Thank you for writing this piece. I have been looking and searching for everything you described, only to be let down.
    You’re so right, we need to stand up and be heard, but most importantly look after yourselves. Xxx

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Natalie,
      Finding support, being support and supporting ourselves and each other is all important. Even what we’re searching for we might end up one day creating! Thank you for commenting. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  24. Marian Hanton

    I am the same as you. I sought love for a strong male figure that would protect me as I needed. I sought a mother figure who could protect me from the evil.

    I have won some, I have lost some, but the battles keep coming. I am here fighting each day. I wish you love if you wear the same shoes or walk the same path. Together or voices will be heard.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Marian,
      TOGETHER INDEED!!!!!!!!! 🙂
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
  25. Nicole

    Thank you for sharing…thank you, for being brave

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      🙂

      Reply  |  
  26. V-

    I wish I could find someone who had gotten to the place that you have, but started where I am. So few adults are open about being sexually assaulted, especially adult men assaulted by women, that it is easy to feel alone.
    Thank you for sharing your story. Despite it being a different situation, it still gave me some hope.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      V, I’m glad it gave you hope even though the particulars are different. I understand too about women being abusers. It’s much less common but it happens and it is – of course- devastating. I’m sorry for that added layer of silence. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  27. Holly Harkener

    Thank you for this. And thank you to everyone who’s commented, to every survivor of childhood abuse who speaks out. Telling the truth about what was done to me has quite literally saved my life, and I would never have been able to do it if I hadn’t been lucky enough to witness a woman speak openly – her voice strong, her back straight, no apology on her lips – about what had been done to her. Keeping silent feels like the only sane option, the only safe option, the only respectable option in a world that continues to heap shame upon us for things someone else did. It took me until the age of 40 to risk doing what I was certain was the insane thing – to tell the truth about what was done to me. If you are reading this and you cannot envision saying what happened to you out loud to another human being, I understand. You have the right to your silence. I would never want you to feel ashamed of your silence, especially on top of the legacy of shame forced upon you by perpetrators of abuse. But know this: we are out there, people who say it out loud and write it publicly, and we are rooting for you. You are not alone. If you need to stay silent, that’s okay. Just know we’re out here, loving you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Holly,
      What a beautiful and moving comment. And yes, no shame for NO MATTER where you are and if, when and how sharing is done. I love that you say we’re here and giving love no matter what. Yes! Yes. Yes!!! And kudos to you for your work. I’m glad you’re there! Cissy

      Reply  |  
  28. Jay

    I’m 62. I am the older woman who has lived, come a long way and now has boundaries. But I still remain silent; I don’t know why. But there are still issues, the biggest one being that I never feel good enough. Sometimes I fool myself into thinking it doesn’t matter anymore…….

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Jay,
      Thank you for writing. It’s a culture that encourages silence for so many reasons. No shame for whatever we do or don’t do. Thank you for writing. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  29. Alisa Freeman

    Thank you so much for your candidate touching words. I’m a soldier, a survivor of sexual , physical and emotional abuse as a child. For a long time I punished myself for the wrongs done to me and i was throwing my life away in the process. I’m proud to say that at 44 years old, I’ve decided to stop trying to die and to start loving to live. I’ve forgiven the harms done to me for my own clear conscience and so I can move on. I was only harming myself more by holding on to the past. I’m clean and sober and proud to be a survivor!

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Alisa,
      GOOD FOR YOU! You sound like a proud survivor. Nice work! Cissy

      Reply  |  
  30. Kat

    I was driving home tonight, thinking about everything that has transpired over the course of my life….and I literally said ‘something has to be wrong with me. Three separate seasons characterized by varying levels of abuse and assault….all at the hands of different people…I am the common denominator here. It has to be me.’ Thank you for writing this piece. It is timely and precise for me.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Dear Kat:
      https://www.facebook.com/HealWriteNow?ref=tn_tnmn This is my Facebook page where there’s some free community online. I think for many of us who learn to check out, numb out or to ignore our needs, as children, it’s tricky to find healthy, boundaried and mutually interdependent relationships as an adult. This is tricky for lots of good reasons for survivors. We can grow and learn and I honestly believe it starts in the relationship we have with our own selves as gently as possible 🙂 Cissy

      Reply  |  
  31. Still Can't Speak Freely

    Thank you. I’m 37 but only spoke up a couple of years ago – not completely publicly and I have not confronted my abuser. I’ve been single my whole life (pretty much). Life is hard. Choosing to live is hard. I needed to hear this today. Thank you. Sincerely.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Still Can’t Speak Freely,
      Its heroic and at times grueling work. So tiring and exhausting. I hope you find places for rest and refueling as you journey. Warmly, Cissy

      Reply  |  
  32. Colzo

    Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It is a big complicated and sad joy to be reminded that there are others who have experienced this pain, yet have come through to the other side. Some day, I hope to be that woman for someone else.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Colzo,
      It gives me hope to know more and more people are sharing, more and more women will be less alone and that will mean less and less shame which is healing for us all! Cissy

      Reply  |  
  33. Midge

    Good job on saying it like it is. I have been in the same boat for too many years. I am now 69 years old, and have been able to help so many young people to overcome what happened to them, while at the same time work on my own healing. I used to have a therapist who totally understood, as he had been a survivor. Now, they all seem to want to drug us. Which really sucks, big time. We don’t need drugs. We need the freedom to talk and speak about what happened to us. Thank you for sharing your story. My story is finally being told, yet many are afraid to read it. They claim, I make them nervous. I still don’t understand that, but so be it. It is what it is. Thank you again and I’m sending you hugs from a distance. I am Maurica Rae Reynolds-Taylor-King, I am a survivor of abuse since I was 3.6 years old.

    Reply  |  
    1. Megan

      Midge…I would love to read your story.

      Reply  |  
    2. Christine Cissy White

      Midge,
      I’m glad you have your voice even if it’s not received well – yet! And what a role model mentor you are. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  34. Robyn Brickel

    Thank you so much for writing this amazing post! I am a therapist that works with trauma survivors and I love reading about your strength and courage and I think the work you have done will inspire many – it is doable! Continue your greatness!

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Thank you Robyn! I appreciate your comment. Cissy

      Reply  |  
  35. Megan

    Cissy,

    I’m bawling reading about your courage. I am 29, suffering from ptsd, type 2 bipolar, severe depressive disorder, anxiety, panic, self harm, and a major alcohol problem. I am revisited by my past in night terrors and any sexual encounters. I don’t know how to get help. Even thought i can see from your words that healing is possible, I’m not sure I can. I am an empath to the core and spend my days punishing myself for something I could not control. I want to write about it, but my abuser has threatened suicide. It’s just…I don’t even know…maybe some people can’t be helped? All I know is that I am alone. I am hurting. And that hurting has never stopped. I don’t know how to be the person I need to be because I don’t feel loved.

    Thank you for listening.

    Megan

    Reply  |  
    1. christine cissy white

      Megan,
      I’m so sorry. You don’t have to show a soul your story before you are ready and still get benefit form writing it. I believe EVERYONE can heal. I believe it with all my heart and I know it’s scary and sometimes hard to believe that. I believe it. Hang in there. And the RAINN website has great resources and support too. https://rainn.org/
      Best, cissy

      Reply  |  
  36. Annie

    This was very helpful and enlightening thank you for being brave enough to tell your story when some of us are to afraid to.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Annie,
      You are indeed exactly who I hoped to reach. And back to my own self who couldn’t for years as well. Warmly, Cissy

      Reply  |  
  37. Liz

    Beautiful, perfect, touching. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
    1. christine cissy white

      Thank you!

      Reply  |  
  38. Linda Luecke

    This touched me more than I can EVER express! I am that middle-aged woman that has MADE IT! 🙂 I want to be there for others!

    Reply  |  
    1. christine cissy white

      Linda,
      I’d say let’s high five if you were in the same room. YAY YOU!!! YAY ME!!! YAY US!!! YAY HOPE!!!
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
  39. Tina

    This story was what I needed. I never knew how to word what i was feeling and how to word things. This helps me. Thank you

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      I’m so glad Tina!

      Reply  |  
  40. ash

    It is always nice to know that there are other people out there that can live and recovery. That can find hope in a single day and use it to keep moving forward even with the trouble that is behind them. I am proud of you, and also inspired by you.

    Reply  |  
    1. christine cissy white

      Thanks so much Ash!!!

      Reply  |  
  41. faith

    I kept thinking to myself will I ever feel normal, will it ever feel right to live like this my whole life, with this monster following me in my everyday life? Will there be a day when I can not be scared. If I would grow up and still feel haunted by the memories? But reading this gives me hope that I can one day live in the peace of my mind and body. Thanks very much for sharing. I really needed this!

    Reply  |  
    1. Xavier Zumba

      You are wonderful ladies. Keep your head up and stay positive. If you ever wanna talk my email is zumbajavier40@gmail.com

      Reply  |  
  42. Anonymous

    I want to believe you, I want to believe that I matter and that it will get better, but I don’t. I think that I am broken beyond repair. Every single person in my life left. People that were supposed to take care of me or love me abused me and didn’t believe me and left. I read “you’re not alone” all the time but I AM alone. I go days without talking out loud. I haven’t had any meaningful human contact in such a long time…. I would give anything to have someone like you here, in real life, present, anything.

    Thank you for writing this. Knowing there are others out there does help in a small way. I’m just lost and alone and scared and I wish I could physically hear these words out loud instead of reading them on a screen. But thank you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi there,

      Thank you so much for your comment and for taking the time to read this post. We’re so moved by your honesty, and we hope you find people in your life who will understand and appreciate what a wonderful person you are. If you need resources, please know we list them on our FIND HELP page: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/. Thank you for sharing part of your story with us.

      Reply  |  
      1. xavier zumba

        Thank you for posting. Ladies.keep your head up and remember you are unique and special.

        Reply  |  
  43. Xavier Zumba

    Sexual abuse can be hurtful but there is always hope remember you are special in so many ways and unique. You matter a lot and you are important. Thanks for sharing. If you ever wanna talk I have no problem listening. Take care and be positive and keep smiling.

    Reply  |  
  44. Krysta

    I agree w another commenter. Psych hospitals and even therapists have a sad lack of knowledge about trauma and I can bet you a majority of their patients experienced some form of it. They love to hand out drugs. I really want to do something about this. I just need the courage and wisdom to try and make a difference!! It’s sad how many people are overmedicated or not treated appropriately

    Reply  |  
  45. Cecelia Simon

    There is power in numbers, forcing the world to listen. Progression for this generation will be HEARD and more will start REALLY LIVING! I grew up in the 80’s where prescriptions and labels fixed it all, well fixed it for whom? I remember at 15 sitting across from the therapist she said “so I hear you smoke ____?” I laughed said “and that’s the problem?” she said well its illegal. I laughed so hard tears were coming out of my eyes, she wasnt laughing at all. I told her “lady come live with me at my house for a week and you will be smoking too!” I was 15 then, she talked to my mother and I never went back there for therapy. In fact I never went back to therapy again until I was 26. All those years of suffering sexual abuse, rape, eating disorder, drugs, sex I spent in silence were because NO ONE TALKED ABOUT ANYTHING! I was never like the other girls, they would always say that and they were right. Now with technology with this movement females like me have a place to share, to grow and believe that we can live in this world contribute, and are worthy. I still have days where I live in fear, terror, panic and I fight so hard on those days just to breathe. But I know NOW I am not alone! Just knowing that you are all out there fighting too reminds me not to give keep fighting! Love Saint Cecelia

    Reply  |  
  46. carol mcbride

    Thank you for this beautiful post, which I have shared on my FB page, The Trauma Project.
    carol

    Reply  |  
  47. Aviva

    Where is the platform for sharing? I don’t blog, but I suppose that’s one way of creating the platform. I will always be on a journey of recovering from my experiences and the way I see it, there will always be others a few (or many) steps ahead of me from whom I can learn. The older I get, there will also be more who are a few (or many) steps behind me for whom it would be a privilege to share that there is life–a good, whole, and healing life–after childhood trauma. Where is the community that offers this for me and for us?

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Aviva,
      THIS is THE question and many of us are starting to answer that here and to create other forums too. Please feel free to come to http://www.healwritenow.com and share writing there. We are all in this together.
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
  48. Maricela Ceja

    Thank you for your courage, I have a client in a similar position, and I have been trying to find things that she can read and possibly relate to!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Hoping she can connect her feelings with your story.
    MC

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      I hope this helped Maricela!

      Reply  |  
  49. Laura Kutney

    Yes, yes, yes! So many people need to hear exactly what is written here. To know that they are not alone with ‘crazy’ thoughts that only they have. In addition to being so beautifully written, this article is like a hand that is reaching out, saying, “Hold on. I get it. You will be ok.”

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      This comment made me tear up. We are reaching out to one another saying that and it’s the beautiful part after ugliness. THANK you for writing this comment to me Laura!
      Cissy

      Reply  |  
  50. Ali

    I fear I may die before I find that woman. I don’t know how you finally transitioned there all alone, but I don’t feel like I’m able.

    Reply  |  
    1. Christine Cissy White

      Ali,
      Your comment breaks my heart. You need not do it alone. I did not do it alone. I also spent YEARS feeling healing was impossible. I don’t feel cured but I do feel whole. I still have symptoms but I also have a full life. I didn’t know that was possible. I don’t know you personally but you don’t have to do or be anything or anywhere before you are ready. I wish for a world where there are many more resources for trauma survivors in general and those with developmental trauma to relearn how to be safe in our bodies, with others and the world.
      Warmly,
      Cissy

      Reply  |