Advanced Belonging

I don’t want to give the impression that being around other survivors is all bliss. It is bliss compared to feeling like a total alien, but it isn’t 100% bliss.

Survivors are people just like anybody else. They have different personalities, different talents, different shortcomings. It would be impossible (and totally bizarre) if we were all the same, like clones. Having a background of extreme abuse doesn’t erase our individuality.

So there are people I get along with well and others I get along with not so well. I find some annoying and a very few abrasive or even dangerous. And — gasp — there are actually some survivors who don’t like me!

I think it bothers me more when there is friction between myself and another survivor, simply because I automatically feel closer to survivors than to other people. I expect to feel comfortable. And I care more.

What cushioned the initial shock of finding out that everything would not always be peachy keen was having gay friends. I had seen people come out and feel ecstatic for the first few months. Their eyes were shiny, they had a lovely smile on their faces 24/7 and they were filled with joy. They no longer felt like “the only one,” misunderstood and rejected.

Then, one sad day, one of their gay friends misunderstood them or rejected them. The little lavender bubble broke and reality set in. But you know what? Reality was still very much better than they ever could have imagined.

So I had a road map of what coming out as a ritual abuse survivor would be like. That helped prepare me, but it didn’t stop me from going through the process. And I am glad it didn’t. I still get all warm when I remember what it felt like to be around people like me for the first time. My people, my community, my family. It’s still wonderful.

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4 thoughts on “Advanced Belonging

  1. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this subject here on your site.

  2. I totally agree with all you’ve said here Jeannie. In the end, we are all human, and in the most spiritual ways, we are all connected, even our abusers and those we would call enemies. So this story of how you dealt with the feelings of expectation and then disappointment is wonderful to me because, as an out lesbian, I went through the very process of living among surviviors, as you did… thanks again for a great article…

  3. I guess I agree on this one, although I have not had the previlige of being around other survivors in the flesh. Only on the internet community, via phone or sms. but, it helped…a lot.

  4. Boy, do I relate to this. For whatever reason, it seems to hurt more when I am hurt by someone who is in a similar category to me…whether it is “survivor” or a member of the same faith community or…(fill in the blank). I think you wrote it well:

    “I think it bothers me more when there is friction between myself and another survivor, simply because I automatically feel closer to survivors than to other people. I expect to feel comfortable. And I care more.”

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