The art of negotiations….. as a young teen frail and scared, living on the streets, I had to learn to shut off any feelings and take it. Cruelty, unfairness, total disregard for my humanity, abuse beyond imagination.
That skill saved my life numerous times.
Do you remember how Ted Bundy? Got caught? One woman reacted/responded differently than all the others who he brutally murdered. She surprised him… she took it.
It’s so naive and insensitive to tell a veteran of the holocaust or war or rape “ that was a million years ago, get over it”
We never get over it. We just learn to live with it. Over time… even be grateful for the wisdom and strength that can come from it.
I was so detached from myself after “taking it” for so many years you could hit me and 6 months later I’ll yell OUCH but didn’t know why.
There is a special blessing for people who love survivors. Sometimes there is a swing from not feeling anything to feeling everything to finding balance in the happy moderate middle… but don’t get to complacent… there are always things that trigger us… irrational fears, Anniversary dates, fatigue…
My greatest fear is to found unworthy of love and abandoned. Because this was my reality for many years. So sometimes when I’m unhealthy I do a lot of acts of service to try to earn my worthiness. Fearing that just me is not nearly enough.
You better fight fair because if you fight w cruel words they will burn into me and haunt me long after the disagreement is over… like a broken record… and part of me will feel relieved that at last I’m seen for the pathetic person the wounded part of me says I am.
But you won’t know because to you I looked strong… I stood and took it.
You didn’t see the scared child with her hands over her ears and eyes tightly shut… heart pounding… feeling each tongue lash like a beating… only worse. Words are always worse.
Always in the outside looking in, trying to be authentic but hoping it will be acceptable… maybe even liked… dared I say loved… or the impossible… adored.
This is the mind of a survivor. We heal and grow and give back… but we are never not a survivor.
Negotiations for boundaries, respect, understanding, are difficult for us. But if you create a safe space we will tell you what we need and why. Survivors are like children in that we will always take less than we deserve.., so you can have more.
We will do more chores than you, work harder than most, tolerate way more and…. take it.
If they do complain then it’s only after they did everything they could to stuff it… wouldn’t want to upset anyone… they would rather take it.
If you love or work with survivors … be kind. That’s the biggest thing really…
I can play a good game but I am still a veteran … from the war of life.
Not sure if this makes sense but it’s what I wanted to share right now.
I believe in you.
With love, Catherine, sex trafficking survivor, and thriver!