I remember years ago when I was first coming to terms with my own trauma, a statement I remember hearing from Mike Lew. Mike Lew is the author of some of the leading books for male survivors such as “Victims No Longer” and “Leaping Upon the Mountains”.
In the statements I remember, he explained that if a child was abused (molested) and an adult believed or listened to the child, then they would have a much more successful moment of moving on and healing from the abuse. If the child was not listened to about the abuse and trauma, then it was much more difficult for them to recover.
For me, I was not listened to when I went through the trauma and abuse that I did. In fact, there was no one I could tell because we were threatened that if we told anyone about anything that took place in the family, that it would be the last thing we did.
This was reinforced by being whipped when my parents got home from a night out after they found out my older brother had taken an argument to the church minister. I still remember being blamed for it, even though I had nothing to do with it. It was between him and my younger brother.
Being afraid to tell anyone was also reinforced by watching my dog be shot because she did something wrong or my cats be killed because there were too many of them (or whatever their crime was). It was not hard to tell that if the fate of these animals were determined to be bad enough to warrant their punishment, what chance did I have of coming out alive.
Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk in his book, The Body Keeps The Score, he states that “feeling listened to and understood changes our physiology: being able to articulate a complex feeling, and having our feelings recognized, lights up our limbic brain and creates an “aha moment.” In contrast, being met by silence and incomprehension kills the spirit.”
It makes a difference if a child has someone they can trust and talk to about what happened. It isn’t easy for a lot of abused children to confide in another adult because they may fear for their lives. Even if they can get past the fear, understanding that what took place is a much different issue. It took me years to begin to understand that what had happened to me was not right. A young child doesn’t always know that what is being done to them is wrong, even though it may not feel quite right. They may not have the vocabulary to explain it or understand it.
We need to be there for children and for adults because listening to them helps heal the abuse and trauma they go through. The way to find a light in all that darkness is to know that you have been listened to and someone else acknowledges your struggle. It isn’t always about fixing the person, but listening and honoring the experiences they have had.
Books To Check Out on Amazon
1) The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
2) Victims No Longer by Mike Lew.
2) Leaping Upon The Mountains by Mike Lew.