The first step in Dancing with the Scars of abuse is this; Accept that what happened can never be made right. It is natural for us to want justice and acknowledgement that we have been greatly wronged. It is a sad reality that most of the time victims of life altering incidents rarely have their sense of justice satisfied for various reasons. Death of the abusive person, general life circumstances such as distance or loss of contact, an unknown rapist of the continued indifference of your abuser to your pain and suffering. Most often, however, justice is denied because of denial of the perpetrator which leaves the victim to deal with the aftermath without any sense of justice being satisfied. Unfair? Yes it is! But it’s true. We could use the starting line analogy in every chapter including and maybe even especially in this one. When a loved one dies there is a finality to it that one becomes accustomed to living with. There are other circumstance related traumas in life that when circumstances change so do you. A divorcee who finds love and remarries has put some distance between themselves and a painful past, the abandoned child who finds a faithful spouse to enjoy life with has created some distance between themselves and a painful past. The sexually physically abused however do not have that same possibility of relief from the pain, at least in that manner, and require a more supernatural work that practical tools cannot helot bring healing. This is what forgiveness is, in this sense, it is supernatural and it is for your benefit. What hurt you cannot be reconciled or repaired. It happened, it hurt, it’s permanent. I want to say this also, God can heal any and all symptoms of abuse, the depression and other repercussions of such trauma, but even then, the memory, the scar, remains. 

This is why the acceptance part of the phases of grief is critical and is viewed as the final stage of grief. When the emotional stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression have been experienced and acceptance has arrived this final stage of grief for many is actually the starting line for those who have experienced sexual or physical abuse. There is no denial, there is no bargaining, meaning to mentally negotiate with the situation in your mind for a different outcome. The depression is real as is the anger and you will have to move to the starting line of acceptance with all these things in tow recognizing that what happened cannot ever be made right.

This is one of the hardest things for anyone to do because our hearts and minds demand justice, they need closure. This is why hope is held out by parents for years of a missing child or loved one lost at sea or in reported Missing in Action. The mind needs a starting point to head toward acceptance or justice. To say you must move to acceptance and bring your anger, depression, denial and bargaining with you seems unfair, because it is. Acceptance for the abused is much like that of the person with a loved one whose death was never proven or confirmed. You will have to move to the starting line of life accepting that what happened can never be made right and justice and closure may never come, but… your pain can be relieved and lessen over time just like those who experience life traumas that include closure.  

As you accept that what happened can never be made right you must also, recognize that justice will not remove the memories or pain. This is important because that is really what the victim of abandonment or abuse is looking for, a way to make the memory fade and the pain go away by satisfying the mind and hearts need for justice. Time may lessen the pain and the memories may not dominate your thought life as much as before but the scar will be ever an present reminder the whole of your life. But there is hope to be found in the midst of such great hurts. But it has to be accessed through one essential key that will unlock it and free you to dance with such great and soul wounding scars.

Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.

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