Survivors Speak – Sara’s Story

This week read Sara’s story of bravery and strength. She is sharing from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


Her Story

We often read and listen about Childhood trauma through professionals who study the field. I think it’s important to listen to those who went through it. There are things that professionals can’t express as survivors do.

Also I think the type of compassion you get from fellow survivors is different from a Therapist, Counselor or Psychiatrist. We’re able to actually wear another survivor’s shoes and understand how they feel. We might not experience the same trauma, but we apply the same coping mechanisms to survive. I personally find healing in every story I read and listen to. Sometimes other survivors explain and describe things that I didn’t know how to express or I didn’t know they were happening to me.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your passions, interests, family life, favorite quotes, etc.

I am a teacher and a mom of two beautiful toddlers. I found this website looking for poetry about trauma. I used to write when I was a teen and didn’t realize that writing actually saved me from having severe C-PTSD. I want others to find healing in my poetry as well as I do.

My favorite quote so far was one that I wrote ïn a poem recently:

“I didn’t choose how I was shattered. I can however, choose how to mend the broken pieces.”

Sara Baez Torres

Please share as much as you are comfortable with regarding your childhood abuse/trauma.

I was sexually abused by one of my siblings in my childhood and my teens. My mother also happens to be schizophrenic and became obsessed with religion, she caused a lot of my trauma as well. I have nightmares from the psychiatric ward and I wasn’t even the patient.

I spent 15 years in silence after the sexual abuse stopped, only to find out that my family has been covertly siding with my abuser all this time.

As I’m breaking the silence, my parents are looking to keep the family cohesion at the expense of me taking “the secret” to my grave. I had to cut them off entirely. This only prolongs my trauma by adding to it.

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How have your experiences with childhood abuse/trauma affected your life? Please share both the good and the bad.

There’s literally nothing good about trauma. I am living the consequences of another person’s actions. Things that never should have happened. I couldn’t defend myself. I didn’t understand what was happening.

Trauma has left me with a lifetime feeling there was something intrinsically wrong with me. I became unable to enjoy things, unable to connect to other people or form deep and meaningful relationships. I had several partners that in the end just took advantage of me. I acted as if giving my body would grant me love in return. It has affected my intimacy and sexuality. It has been a battle to live every day.

Healing on the other hand has been the complete opposite. It has given me hope that I don’t have to live like this for the rest of my life. I can be a better person. Gentle, kind. I don’t have to be defensive 24hrs a day. There are good people out there who deserve my trust and my friendship. I can be the mother I didn’t have and the mother my children deserve. I can be the wife I always dreamed to be. Passionate, loving and romantic.

It’s been a long ride, but I can see and feel the changes.

What are a couple things that have helped you manage your C-PTSD from day to day? Talk a little bit about what it is like to live with this diagnosis

Writing is a big channel to express my emotions through. I tend to analyze what triggered me in the moment and how my reaction affected the other person. I’ve been able to detect a few of my triggers and create a plan for the next time. Therapy is good, but I’ve found that I’ve been helping myself more by reading, writing and self analyzing. In the end, my therapist is not with me when my emotions get dysregulated, nor when I get triggered or have nightmares. There’s a big part of my healing that I’ve done on my own and can’t be cramped in a 1 hr appointment. I still see my therapist a few times a year to check with her how I’m doing.

Every day is a lottery. I don’t know when the next trigger, flashback or nightmare will be and how I will react to it.

If you are a parent, what is the hardest part of parenting after trauma? What is the most rewarding part of parenting after trauma?

The hardest part has been dealing with the fear someone may hurt my kids. It’s a real fear because perpetrators don’t look like one. But I can’t let the fear consume me. Not “everybody” wants to harm my children.

The most rewarding thing is being able to provide and protect my children’s innocence and also knowing what support I should give them in the event they experience something traumatic in their lives.

What is one thing you want others to understand about being a childhood abuse/trauma survivor?

We want nothing more than to be loved and be able to trust and love others. Please be patient. I know it’s difficult to feel compassion for a person that is a ticking bomb and it’s unpredictable. We didn’t choose to endure abuse and trauma, but it happened and we can’t undo it. Some people are in denial or unaware they have C-PTSD. We don’t know what “normal”and “healthy” looks like. We need other people to show us what that’s like. We need you.

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What advice or reassurances do you have for other survivors who are struggling?

There’s nothing wrong with you. It wasn’t your fault and it shouldn’t have happened. The symptoms of C-PTSD that you’re experiencing are totally normal and expected.. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Reach out and ask for help. Health professionals are there to guide you without judgement. Your truth matters and you can help others to make sense on what happened to them.


Read other survivors stories, or submit to share your own.

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