The dictionary defines change as a transformation or modification. It is a process by which things undergo an alteration and become different than they were in the beginning. For most people change is a normal part of life. For abuse survivors, change sparks an internal struggle that we can’t escape no matter how hard we try.
When change hits, we fight to hold on and we fight to let go. Our struggle is real and easily understood by other abuse survivors. We are fighting to hold on to keep our world the same. As terrible as our abuse was, it created the only world we knew. So for us altering this world in any way evokes a sense of fear and panic that only other abuse survivors truly understand.
There is so much of our world that is beyond our control when we are being abused. We have no say in what goes on, how it goes on or when it occurs. We simply must stand by and bear the brunt of someone else’s torturous reign of control over us. We live minute-by-minute, trying to anticipate what might be coming next. There was no rhyme or reason for it. It simply just happened. It sent our small world spiraling out of control. We could not pinpoint what prompted the change. We could not prepare for it or brace ourselves against the ugly aftermath. All we could do was hold our breath and hold on for dear life, praying that this new change would end soon and that we would still be alive when it did.
Long after the bruises faded and the yelling stopped, we were left with an understanding that change does not come without painful consequences. By the grace of God we managed to survive those horrific moments of abuse. Yet change remains. It is not something we can run and hide from. When faced with change, those terrifying feelings from before come rushing back. We instantly scream inside as fear races through our body. We panic because we don’t know what is coming next. We are trained to think and feel that change brings heartache and pain. So we brace ourselves for the whirlwind storm of change and just hope we are still left standing when it’s all over.
One of the best ways that we can begin to overpower change is to remember that change can be a positive thing!
Think back for a moment to the person you were when the abuse was taking place. Now think about who you are today. You are stronger and wiser. You are able to love others and find the good in them despite having been unfairly subjected to so much evil at the hands of your abuser. You survived one of the worst storms a human should have to endure and are still standing here today. These things would not be possible without quietly undergoing change at some point along the way in your healing process.
As we move forward we need to keep in mind that change will no longer bring the kind of pain and heartache that we experienced when we were being abused. While things will be different each time, we will also grow, becoming stronger in the process. Change now means we are getting better. It means we are healing. It means we are learning to live. It means that each day brings new adventures, new promises and new chances to love life and all it has to offer!