A Neglected House

A child sexual abuse victim is much like a house that desperately needs repairs. Its foundation, like the soul of a child who has been abused, is cracking and crumbling. It is living on borrowed time. The House has no idea how badly it needs restoration, how it cries out to be REPAIRed. The same is true of someone who has been molested as a child.

The house needs a new roof. A roof protects it from rain and wind and storms, from all of the elements that come in an unexpected manner. In a similar fashion a child who was sexually abused, who has become an adult, cannot trust themselves to meet any emergency, to stay strong when unexpected and bad news enters their life. They do not have the inner fortitude, the confidence, the breadth of foresight and mostly the wisdom to deal with life’s travails and adversities.

The house needs painting. It is peeling and cracked, faded in places. The shutters are falling down and need replacing. It is not appealing to the eye. Likewise a child who is violated grows up thinking they look ugly, that they have no worth, that they are not appealing to the eye.

The windows in the house need replacing as some are broken; some have cracks in their frames. A victim of child sexual abuse looks out at the world and finds a scary place, one where they don’t know what is the right thing to do; one where they are always searching through their window to the world for someone to rescue them. An experience that lies heavily in that attic in their mind, the room they don’t want to open, governs their eyes, their very thoughts.

One would be almost afraid to look inside a house like this. It is disintegrating, little by little with the bricks in the fireplace falling down, each chunk an accusation, the chandeliers hanging like suicide victims, the cupboards falling off their hinges as if they had given up. And what of the insides of one who was abused as a child? Their low self-esteem, their fear and their addictions spiral them into thoughts of taking their own life. Most of all their health is failing. They have left themselves vulnerable to early adult onset health problems like obesity, diabetes, COPD, cardiovascular problems and many more.

If we are a victim of child sexual abuse we have two choices. We can limp through life, carrying a burden too heavy, making unhealthy choices, living with flashbacks and nightmares. We can be suicidal, live in abusive relationships, have addictive disorders, weak boundaries, eating disorders, chronic illness and insomnia. We can be like that house, waiting to fall apart completely until one day it collapses and lays in a heap on the ground, staring at the world with eyes of recrimination and reproach, moaning out loud……………..if only I hadn’t neglected taking care of myself………if only I’d put on that new roof, if only I’d strengthened the foundation, if only I’d replaced the windows………………

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mailto: margie@thelamplighters.org