Thriving: Life Beyond Childhood Sexual Abuse
Today’s inspiring story comes to us from Sue Parry-Jones, from Australia and WU World-Changer
I have survived 17 years of childhood sexual abuse, worked through recovery, and am happily leading an awesome life.
When I was a child, I read a story called The Happy House Children – a book by the English author Enid Blyton. Well, mine was NOT a Happy House childhood. In our home, the adult needs were met at the expense of the children’s well-being, and I found myself confronted on a daily basis by my sexually frustrated father. My mother sent me into his bed on Saturdays and Sundays for ‘cuddles,’ so there was no one to tell about the frightening and often painful things I encountered there, and elsewhere with him. I survived, and at the age of seventeen, I was granted a place at a University to study Social Work. By then, I had read about Child Care Workers, discovering in the process, there was a name for what had happened in the privacy of my family home. I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life.
Four years later, I met the man I would marry.
I told him just a tiny bit about what I had experienced, hoping that he would still love me, and that together, we would be able to face the inevitable problems I would experience. He told me it, ‘didn’t matter,’ that it was, ‘over.’ And so, we married.
I spent the next eighteen years of my life trying to agree with him, trying to put it all away from me, but nothing seemed to change the way I felt. And then he left. In my desperation to ‘fix’ the broken shards of our marriage, I stumbled into a recovery program and learned how much I still needed to address the issues from the past.
Fast forward another seventeen years, and I find myself now leading something you might call a ‘normal’ life.
I read so often that child abuse causes lasting damage, that we are impacted for the rest of our lives. While I agree that abuse leaves a scar, I no longer believe that being a victim of child sexual abuse means my life is utterly destroyed. Mine is a message of hope, a story of survival, and of the courage it takes to do the work of recovery. But it doesn’t end there. Recovery leads to health, and there comes a time when we even leave the story of recovery in the past. That’s when we know we have healed and that’s when we get to really move on and live the life we were given.
I am thriving, and if I can leave you with one piece of advice, it’s to never be scared of going back and digging up the past. Because it’s only when we have dug deep enough that our garden can flourish, as it was always intended to.
If you found Sue’s story inspiring, please leave a comment for her below. Thank you.
Thriving: Life Beyond is a series of inspiring stories from everyday people who are thriving through a life challenge, adversity, illness or tragedy. These brave souls share their story with you to let you know thriving is possible. Submit your story to be shared here on The Wellness Universe.