- The need for control..in like..EVERYTHING! This by far is the most common characteristic of someone who has been abused and is also one of the most destructive. Example: Only THEY can do things the RIGHT way...everyone else will just mess it up or do it wrong. This can apply to household tasks, projects at work, helping organize events etc. By being in "control", or at least in their minds, they act like a "check point" of sorts and know ALL their surroundings..especially the people around. They don't even realize they are acting like their own homeland security in this way.
- Tuning Out those who have words of CAUTION! Example: A sexual abuse survivor may find their "selective hearing" button if you approach them with a strong "opinion" about THEIR life. Even if you mean well..most often you will be told where to go with your ideas and opinions. This is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to discussing their love life or dating habits etc. This can be especially difficult if EVERYONE around them can see the destructiveness in what they are doing and yet they basically tell you to mind your own business. I have personally been guilty of telling a friend/loved one..to mind their own business..only to later down the road to FINALLY see it they were really only trying to help. Sometimes this lesson has to be learned the hard way..as there is NO amount of talking, convincing, etc that can get them to see the "light" on this subject. And, yes, this is just another area that they tend to need ALL control. Let me clarify..they don't need control IN the relationship so much as it's about NOT letting any outsiders have a say because that, in fact, would be relinquishing THEIR control of THEIR relationship. Twisted? Yes! Truthful? YES!
- It's ALL or NOTHING. This really applies to SO much in their world! Whether it be energy, motivation, how they feel about friendships/relationships etc. But especially when it comes to love and affection. And believe me, if they don't feel like they are getting what they want or are being satisfied they WILL find a way to fill that empty space. Mind you...this is NOT a selfish deal..in fact..many have an EXTREMELY hard time believing they deserve anything good and pure..BUT..this is instead a way for them to fill the "VOID" of the innocence that was "taken" or "stolen" from them from their abuser. Sadly...sometimes this means that they look in the WRONG places to fill that "void" such as making a poor choice in a partner and find themselves in an even unhealthier situation than they were in previously.
For anyone, that's NO easy task! Sure, recognizing what these behaviors and traits are helps. As well as realizing the WHY of it all. But the most important part...is to realize that something was taken away..it was stolen from them..and now..their ENTIRE being is going to be in fight or flight mode. Healing takes time. Healing sometimes hurts because we have to really take an honest look at not only our past but also be willing to take an honest look in the mirror at who stands there TODAY. Then decide what parts can we live with...and what others can live with..and what parts are really making us continue to live fulfilled lives. I ALWAYS encourage to seek out the professional help of a trusted doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist...or at the VERY least...find a support group of other survivors. Sometimes those that just "know" and "understand" can offer the best insight on different paths to healing. But no matter WHAT...always..keep moving forward with a conscience mind and heart..and know that WE define who we are in life..NOT OTHERS and NOT our circumstances.
Much Love, Light N Gratitude