The Survivors Speak Interview series is dedicated to amplifying the voices of survivors by providing a platform to share our stories and connect us through experiences and healing. Read stories of Childhood Trauma as survivors share their pain, their hope, and their healing. Share your story in writing.
This story was shared anonymously.
Please tell us what inspires you to share your story.
This is the first time I have ever shared my story with the world. It makes me nervous and yet I feel its part of my healing process. I have told very few close friends in my life and no one ever understood me. I am doing this to heal, to end the silence and connect with others who have also gone through such pain.
Introduce yourself: tell us about your passions, interests, family life, favorite quotes, etc.
I am a single mother to my two children age 5 and 7…I have sole custody. I take my job of keeping my children safe very seriously.
I love nature, art and music. I enjoy being in quiet, tranquil environments to relax me and give me peace of mind. After my children go to bed in the evenings I spend time by myself meditating, journaling, enjoying the still moments, and taking relaxing baths.
Please share your story in as much or as little detail as you are comfortable.
As far back as I can remember (age 3-4) my father began sexually abusing me…it was all but rape. My feelings of guilt, shame, rage, fear, and grief were wrapped up so tightly together I couldn’t distinguish one feeling from the other. I was so young and it was just so confusing. My mother was manipulative and emotionally abusive so there was no safe haven in either parent.
By age 10 I fought my father off of me and after a number of times doing this he finally stopped trying. But after the abuse stopped is when the emotional pain really took center stage. When I was 16 I finally broke down and told my mother what had happened. My dream of us packing up and leaving that night was shattered when she told me we would just keep it a secret until we had the money to leave … that never happened. So I had to pretend that everything was ok, but everything was Not ok. Internally it was torture seeing him, hearing him and keeping up the pretense.
I stayed, for years in the house with my parents. It was lonely, isolating and depressing. I felt powerless, I couldn’t even conceptualize walking out the door because of what my mother might do to me. I was terrified of her and her wrath. I finally left my parents when I was age 29.
I now do not have any relationship at all with either of them. For the last 10 years I have had a slow healing process. Raising children took precedence and keeping them safe from my ex who became addicted to drugs. My children and I broke free from that life two years ago. It was surreal turning my children’s father into the authorities but keeping my children safe was the priority. I was also freeing myself. The three 3 of us now have a new life.
But for me, I still feel like I live in a glass box. I don’t yet know how to live. I am in limbo. But I do the best I can for my children living as normal as I can and giving them as much as I’m able to.
What are some of the challenging ways your trauma has manifested in your life?
Bulimia and anorexia was a constant in my teenage years. Depression and anxiety have always lurked under the surface and I only recently was able to put a name to it.
I had panic attacks, and self harmed for many years. I no longer self harm but I do still experience panic attacks often when I get triggered.
Up until 9 months ago I had always been addicted to love (toxic relationships); I didn’t feel loved or whole if I wasn’t receiving attention and affection and I didn’t know how to trust my internal guidance system or set boundaries when these men began showing their true colors. I am finally learning this now. I was so desperate to believe the beautifully wrapped lies.
Once I realized I need to take this time to be single and heal/find myself, that’s when the C-PTSD has really manifested into more depression/anxiety that is constantly there.
When did healing begin? Was there a catalyst moment and how did you reach this point?
At age 28.
One night I had a realization about all the events leading up to that moment and everything I had gone through. Everything came rushing back to me like never before. I couldn’t even believe it – I finally woke up! It was astonishing to me that I had never realized the truth of it all.
The next day I called a trauma hotline and sought help for the first time in my life. A few months later I moved out of my parents home for good.
It wasn’t until 9 months ago that my healing process accelerated when I decided to become single and stay that way for as long as I need to. It is allowing me to feel my feelings, and release the pain I kept in for so many years. Most days are very difficult without having a support system but I’m doing my absolute best and trusting the healing process.
I know one day I will have the support system I want and need so deeply.
What has your healing journey looked like day-to-day: techniques, modalities, practices, tools you use?
I try to meditate nightly after my children go to bed and I journal often. I am very much into spirituality and self development from a holistic approach. It helps with my healing, my growth, and my self awareness. When I am able to I go to reiki and acupuncture. I have taken a few online courses for healing from sexual trauma, for self love, and for healing from choosing toxic partners…all have been healing and informative on my journey.
What are two or three things you have learned as you heal that you believe are important for survivors to know as they heal?
- I have learned that it is so important for me to validate my feelings and give myself understanding, compassion and patience.
- The healing process is happening organically as I allow it to unfold in the way it needs to by trusting the process.
- Finally, I realize there is no blue pill for healing my way out of this..it is a journey and I had to make peace with that.
For all survivors:
None of this was our fault, we did not do Anything to deserve this. I know and trust we can all go on to have loving, beautiful lives. It is our Right. We were born with self-worth, love, and trust but it was stolen from us. We can take it back. It belongs to each and every one of us.
Much love to all of you on your healing journey.
Share Your Story
Sharing your story is a powerful part of your healing journey. It helps you find and reclaim your voice and it helps others who are trying to find there’s. It lets us all know that we are not alone when we can connect through shared lived experiences. Use the link below to submit your story in writing.
Looking for Ways to Connect With Other Survivors and/or Receive Support as You Heal?
Survivor’s Circle Peer Support Groups might be just what you need.
These small groups meet on alternating days of the week via Zoom. In these groups, survivors connect, share, and support each other through the ebbs and flows of healing. Attend a session and experience the magical healing that happens when survivors connect and support each other through shit only we can understand.
My name is Shanon and I am a trauma informed, trained, and Certified Peer Support Specialist in the state of Wisconsin. I am also a survivor with years committed to my own trauma healing after being diagnosed with (C) PTSD due to childhood abuse. Additionally, I have a professional and personal history of community facilitation and peer work.
I specialize in helping survivors like you make connections between real time experiences and past trauma wounds, identify and communicate boundaries, create self-care plans that work, navigate big emotions and trauma responses, reparent your inner child, and embody your own self-worth through the healing process with confidence and personal empowerment.
These support groups and 1:1 peer support sessions should not replace professional therapy; they will however provide additional support and information.