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Victim, Survivor, Thriver: Abuse and Advocacy

Updated on March 15, 2013

Helping those in abusive situations

Abuse and recovery is a very personal topic for me for many reasons, as is advocacy it is also a passion that drives me to help others escape their own abuse and find true happiness in this life..

The cycle of abuse in my family goes back to at least my great-grandmother. She was married to an alcoholic who eventually abandoned her to raise their children on her own.

It carried through to my grandmother, who married my grandfather shortly after High School. He too was an alcoholic. He was a giant of a man, but he beat my tiny little grandmother several times, sometimes so bad she wasn't able to go out in public.

My mother, carried on the family tradition with several abusive relationships, the abuse she suffered ranged from childhood sexual assault to emotional, and sometimes physical abuse.

I was four the first time I was molested, throughout my childhood things kept happening that I did not understand. As an adult I was involved in several abusive relationships, some physical, but mostly verbal and emotional. Then, when I thought all of that was behind me, I was raped.

When I thought about the legacy I was passing on to my children, I knew something had to change.

I am determined to see to it that it stops with me.

After my eyes were opened, I wanted more than anything to help others get out of their cycles of abuse. I've worked not only with my own children, but with rape survivors through support groups and more recently I became a trained victims advocate.

Many people go through life never knowing what love really feels like. Love for them is closely related to fear. Instead of freedom there is tension. It is living life on eggshells, it's constantly looking over their shoulder, never sure what is coming next.

The cycle of abuse often begins in childhood, follows them into adulthood, and for many the shadow of abuse follows them from one relationship to the next. Emotional, physical, sexual abuse. No matter what form abuse takes, it often lasts a lifetime.

Abuse affects us all, most of us have either been abused or know someone else who has. Some of us are still suffering abuse in our daily lives. Abuse is a cycle, not just within the individual relationship, but within families. Children who were abused often become partners who are abused, and sometimes abusers themselves.

It is a cycle that can be stopped, but only the person suffering abuse can stop it. Many times when we step in and try to help a victim of abuse, we accomplish the opposite.

My intention is not to tell my story, though I have done that elsewhere but to help others find a way to help the people they love that are in abusive situations.



(Graphics by caperuccita@deviantart: Used by permission. Please visit her website at IrenePedrosa.com)

Understanding Abuse

What is abuse?

This is a hard question for many to answer. Just as each person has a definition of love, they also have a definition of abuse.

The definition I prefer is:

"When you are forced to do something against your will, it is abuse."

It may happen once or it could be ongoing. Abuse can be one large event, abuse can be smaller incidents strung together. While one event may leave you feeling violated, sometimes those small violations add up to a lifestyle that is unhealthy for everyone involved.

It can happen anywhere. When your boss, a police officer, or someone else is in an authority position over you and they take advantage of that position, it often leaves you feeling violated.

When it happens in your personal life, it becomes even more difficult to cope with. Abuse can escalate into the verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual realms. When abuse becomes a pattern, it almost seems impossible to move on.

Some relationships have abusive episodes. A strike, a shove, a kick. It isn't right, but it is isolated. So what is the difference between an abusive episode and an abusive relationship?

It is about frequency, consequences, responsibility. It's about intentions.

There are people who have a bad night, or a few bad episodes, but they learn from them. Despite the consequences, an abuser keeps abusing. They refuse to take responsibility, shifting blame for the abuse to the victim themselves.

Abuse is about power and control. Whether it is rape, spousal abuse, child molestation, it is about control. Controlling others is how an abuser controls their life. They use a variety of methods to obtain this control, but what it all amounts to is power and control.

When I was younger I rode a roller coaster built inside of a Haunted House What few lights there were were few and far between, some were strobe lights. Many times you would have no notice at all that the drop was coming. I loved roller coasters, but that one scared me to death. I kept praying for it to end.

Living in an abusive relationship is life on a roller coaster.

Abuse, like a roller coaster, has a cycle within the individual relationship. For a time things seem to be okay, things get better, you have hope. Behind the scenes, the whole time the tension is building, building, building, and then suddenly the decline hits.

The cycle repeats over and over, the good times are fewer, the buildups are shorter, and the abusive episodes escalate. Just like the roller coaster, only this one doesn't end when the ride it over, it just keeps going.

Recognizing a Victim

Abuse happens to young and old, rich and poor, male and female, gay and straight. It affects people of all colors, nationalities, and cultures. There is no single victim profile.

Nobody deserves to be abused, ever. Abuse victims often believe they deserve it though. Guilt, shame, self-hatred, victims are often doing penance for some unseen sin.

For a large part of my life I was convinced that I was damaged goods, that there was something so wrong with me that I turned good people into bad people. I was marked from birth, and I had no hope of life ever changing for me.

I have since heard many victims of abuse describe that feeling of having been marked too, like we have been given an invisible tattoo.

People with abusive personalities seem to be capable of spotting us a mile away. It isn't unusual for a victim to move from one unhealthy relationship to another. To attract one abuser after another into their lives.

If you haven't experienced abuse, that may be hard for you to understand. Sometimes it seems like they seek out unsafe people and situations. Others might appear to be normal, they don't look abused, and they don't talk about abuse.

There is no "right" way to be a victim. No "normal" victim behavior. There is no "right" way to deal with abuse. Merely healthy and unhealthy ways.

Abuse becomes a programming. Your life becomes an illusion. You become an illusion. You get used to living on eggshells, trying to avoid the next episode but expecting it at the same time. You become so used to the tension that it feels unnatural when things are quiet.

It might seem like a victim is seeking out drama, but most of the time they are really just seeking normalcy. Not your normal perhaps, but their normal. They have accepted that this is just how life is, and feel there is no way out. The fear of the unknown is often worse than just staying and dealing with what you already know.

A victim is trying to deal with an abnormal situation using the tools they already have. They don't have the same tools as you have, or the tools I have struggled to learn. It's like trying to build a house with nothing but a hammer and a screwdriver.

If you really want to help them the best thing you can do for them is give them the resources they need to find the proper tools. You can't do it for them, but you can hold their hand and guide them to the people who can help them.

It is important to remember that no two victims deal with abuse the same way. No two people recover the same way. There is no way to look at a person and say they are abused, but they are not.

There are traits that are common to many victims:

Depression,

Guilt, shame, and feeling unworthy,

Hyper Vigilance,

Alone, isolated,

Hopelessness,

Numbness and confusion,

Low self esteem,

Don't believe they deserve nice things or a better life,

A feeling they are damaged goods,

Fear being selfish,

Hiding or minimizing the abuse

Using inappropriate humor

Involved in one drama after another

Past is overwhelming; or living in the past,

Often victimized repeatedly

Suspicious of people who try to help them

Need outside sources to believe they are all right (drugs, alcohol, attention, affection)

Victims Advocacy

Helping someone move from victim to survivor.

~Safety First!

~Do not wait. If you believe their life is in imminent danger call 911.

~Do not put them in further danger. As much as you want to help them, be careful giving them books, pamphlets, or calling them unless you can be sure they are safe. Ask them when would be a safe time to talk.

~Do not put yourself in danger, placing yourself in the middle of a physically abusive situation will help neither of you.

Offering your help...

~Do not rescue. They need to reclaim power over their lives. No matter how well meaning we may be, trying to force them to get help is only taking more power from them.

~Do not make decisions for them. Making decisions for them just takes more of their power away. Offer them options, and ask them a lot of question.

~Do not get impatient. The average victim returns to their abuser seven times before they finally make a break.

~Do offer your assistance in love but expect nothing

~Do it with the intent of helping them find the tools they need to be a survivor.

~Don't tell them what you would do in their situation, they are not you, and their situation is different.

Recovery

~Encourage them to seek counseling (Resources included below)

~Help them redefine abuse, their love for others is often greater than their love for themselves.

~They may need to talk about it over, and over, and over. Please let them.

~They might not want to talk about it at all. Don't push them.

~Focus on them as much as possible

Above all remember that they do not fully understand the difference between healthy and toxic love. They don't know what it is like to be loved unconditionally. Mirror that to them. Show them what it is like to be loved and valued, don't judge, criticize or condemn. Support and encourage.

Recognizing a Survivor

A survivor moves on to a whole new set of skills. It is an exciting, but also a very scary time for a survivor.

They may not have told anyone about the abuse. They have trouble using words like rape, abuse, victim, to describe themselves and what they have been through. They still believe they deserved it somehow, or that it wasn't that bad.

The process of recovery is extremely difficult. Their mind has learned to cope with the abuse in whatever way got them through to the next day.To go from being safely in denial to facing it leaves them feeling like their world is falling apart. They have learned to numb themselves, and suddenly they are supposed to un-numb. They go from feeling nothing to feeling everything. From being detached to having it right there in their face. Some of them learn to be angry for the first time ever, really, and truly, angry.

This is why they often give up, it is scary, it hurts, and it just doesn't feel right. The world suddenly seems filled with uncertainty. If they keep going those feeling pass, but they have a lot of thought processes built up in their head that need to be converted to healthy more constructive patterns. That takes time.

Slowly they will look back at the person they were and see them through new eyes. They will learn to embrace that person and actually care for them. Memories will still come but the survivor will react differently. They don't shove them away anymore, they aren't afraid of feelings, they finally see who they really are, aside from their experiences for the first time.

For me, when I got to this point I looked back at all I had been through and I felt sad for that girl. Not sorry for her, just sad. There were so many things she didn't know. There was a shadow over most of my memories, a darkness that filled them. I looked around at my new life, and finally saw that the shadow had lifted.

To me, that was becoming a survivor.

There are traits that are common to many survivors:

Finally see themselves as wounded, but they are striving to heal.

Seeking help, a counselor, support group, victims advocate, even friends and family.

Identifying what happened as abuse

Learning to grieve, finally working through past trauma

Stops shoving emotional pain away, staying with it.

Not afraid to tell their story to safe people

Learning healthy needs

Feeling relived and wanting to continue in recovery

May be learning some relaxation skills

Begin to see those patterns in their life

They being to laugh more, to just have fun

They begin to become more aware of their feelings and emotions

They begin to feel pain and the associated emotions

Begin to see their therapist as a guide

Begin to glimpse self-acceptance

Survivor Advocacy

Helping someone move from survivor to thriver

~Help them feel safe and secure

~Encourage them to make more decisions concerning their life

~Expect some emotional instability, old wounds have been reopened and they can be frightening

~Help them set personal boundaries, even if they seem a little extreme to you, boundaries are an important part of healing

~Understand that they will be going through a lot of changes.

~They may seem unstable emotionally, in a way they are. They are feeling things they haven't felt in a long time. Be patient.

~This is a good time to help them explore new hobbies or interests

~They will need a balance of alone time and social time, try to respect both

~Continue to offer support, but encourage independence

~Be a healthy and safe place for them to explore their feelings

~Understand that this process can take months, or years, don't push

Recognizing a Thriver

Thriver and beyond

Witness the birth of a new human being, someone who is capable of caring for themselves and others. Someone who can take responsibility for their own life and let others take responsibility for theirs. Someone who actually likes themselves.

If you have stuck with them this far good for you! It was a long hard road for them, but it was a hard road for you too. There have been ups and downs, but those are a part of normal human existence. Things should be beginning to stabilize somewhat by now.

You are going to see some new things emerge, and they are a true beauty to behold.

There are traits that are common to many thrivers:

Gratitude for life

Finally seeing themselves as the miracle they truly are

They are thankful for their new life

They are performing self-care and are proud of it

They know they were wounded, but they recognize that they are now healing

They now have faith not just in themselves but in life

Emotional pain is no longer a way of life, they now know it will pass

Aware that they have created their own healing

May tell their story to help others

They are living with an open heart for themselves and others

They protect themselves from people who are unsafe

They begin to place themselves first, understanding that is the only way to function and truly help others

They begin to create their own peace, and find joy in it

They begin to see humor in life, and use healthy humor

They set healthy boundaries with self and others

They live for today

They finally see that reality is their own projection, and they take ownership of that reality

The feel whole, connected to life, alive

A note to Victims, Survivors and Thrivers.

If you are a survivor, please know that there is a better life out there, and you truly deserve it. There is love that has nothing to do with fear or anger, there is hope. So many of us have made it, and you will too. We want you to be here with us. We want you to stop the cycle, not just for yourself but for your children.

We believe in you. That first step is scary, but it gets easier. We didn't do it alone, and neither can you. Seek help, surround yourself with people who love you, and begin the healing process. You are not alone!

When you are ready, I strongly encourage taking an advocacy course, it will change your life. I learned so many things in my course, and I found a place that I can truly help others overcome their hardships.

If you would like to share your stories, please do.

Where are you at in your healing from abuse?

Where do you see yourself?

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Toward an abuse free world...

Has abuse touched your life?

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Abuse and Advocacy Resources

There are so many resources out there. I knew about some of them, but I didn't find out how many there really were until recently. I would not have survived the last few years without the help of my domestic violence advocate. She was there with me through the many court appearances, the restraining orders, when the restraining orders were violated.

It wasn't until I became an advocate that I realized the full extent of her job, the long hours, the dedication, the placing herself at risk. Aside from basic services I also learned where to direct people for a variety of needs.

Short Term (Safe) Housing, Long Term Housing, Food, Clothing, Medical Care, Job Resources, Legal Resources, Pet Care Facilities, Educational Opportunities, Counseling, Physical Therapy, Tattoo Removal (for abusers name).

There are national and local abuse resources. People who can point you in the right direction for anything a person escaping an abusive situation might need. They might not be able to provide all needs from one place, but they have the resources to help you find the help you need. Many of these programs are provided free if you just know where to look.

You should be able to find an abuse or crisis hot line in your area by looking in the phone book. If you don't know where to begin here are some important resources you can try:

National Domestic Violence/Child Abuse/ Sexual Abuse:

1-800-799-SAFE

1-800-799-7233

1-800-787-3224 TDD

1-800-942-6908 Spanish Speaking

Staffed by trained volunteers, can connect you with emergency help in your own community. Information and referrals for a variety of services including: Counseling, reporting abuse, emergency services and shelters.

Domestic Violence Hotline:

1-800-829-1122

National Child Abuse Hotline:

1-800-25-ABUSE

Covenant House Hotline:

1-800-999-9999

Crisis line for youth, teens, and families. Locally based referrals for drug, alcohol, abuse, runaway,s and other family issues.

National Youth Crisis Hotline:

1-800-442-HOPE (4673)

Counseling and referrals to local resources: drug treatment centers, shelters, and counseling.

Elder Abuse Hotline:

1-800-252-8966

Speak Out

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    • profile image

      eleanna 2 years ago

      The best article I read about abuse! It is so real and helpful, maybe because it is written by a victim who managed to pull through... Congratulations!

      I am currently in a slightly emotional abusive relationship, that's why I visited this article page and it is very helpful!

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      What you are sharing on this page is exactly what we need to hear. You said >>You can't do it for them, but you can hold their hand and guide them to the people who can help them.<< and I thought YES -- I want someone to hold my hand and help lead me to a place out of the fog. Very helpful advice.

      I am not yet to the point of thriving. I am away, but still being abused financially and emotionally as my children and I try to escape. There is no cooperation and no normal communication. My story is on several pages on Squidoo, including this one > https://hubpages.com/relationships/i-did-not-see-i... < (I Did Not See I Was Being Abused by My Husband for Over 20 Years ).

      Thank you for all you are doing to help others. ***Blessed by a SquidAngel*** and a soon-to-be survivor and thriver.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      Such an important story, and such great resources. Congratulations on the book. And, though this is technically outside my "angel" neighborhood of Depression, *blessed*!

    • profile image

      SandyDH 6 years ago

      Fantastic information and thanks for sharing your own story. I've linked your lens to mine on global women's issues. Domestic violence is an issue the entire world needs to address.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 6 years ago

      Bless you for being a voice so that victims, survivors, and thrivers of abuse may be heard!

    • profile image

      JeromeWilkins 6 years ago

      Domestic violence has always disgusted me. Most men who commit such shameful acts would not dare fight another man.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Thanks for this lens! I am a thriving survivor... but I know too many who are still in the abuse.. it's so sad... but they have to make their own survival stories.. no one can do it for them...

    • ayngel boshemia profile image
      Author

      Ayngel Overson 6 years ago from Crestone, Co

      @hprudavis: Thanks for the recommendation, I will try to locate a copy and I would love to check out your lens :)

    • hprudavis profile image

      hprudavis 6 years ago

      VERY excellent lens. Thank you so much! I wonder if I could suggest a very powerful book to you that I did not see on your list(s)? (Granted it IS 5 a.m & I am sleepy so perhaps I just missed it.) It's The Macho Paradox, by Jackson Katz. It's excellent and explains how/why violence against women is REALLY a men's issue since it is (most often) MEN who are committing the acts of violence. Anyway, thank you. I hope you have time to check out my Lens. I've only just begun.....

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great Lens. Thank you for the comment on mine.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is such a touching and moving lens on a topic that needs more attention and resolve. I pray God's mercy and grace upon the lives being tormented and everyone involved. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      I cannot believe this lens only just now got a purple star. It is stellar. Prayers of light to you for not only being a survivor and thriver but in still helping the victims of abuse. Fantastic!

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 7 years ago

      Congratulations Ayngel! I pray that your "victim, survivor, thriver" perspective shared here and elsewhere in your body of work serves as a crucial healing resource for the surviving souls scattered by the curse of abuse. I recognized long ago your innate talent to communicate with such a unique and effective style that "rocks" with awareness and direct, passionate feeling. It's obvious that what you invest in your writing comes from your soul ~ making it impossible to ignore! Many have gifted thoughts in their minds, but it's few who can articulate them and give them the power and expression to resonate with the stark reality of a reason to be heard ~ You are among that few. My compliments and admiration go to you, not just for your talent of expression, but for your courage in making the journey from behind that dark curtain of abuse into the light of "survive and thrive" where you are guiding others to the gateway of hope and inspiration with your example.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 7 years ago

      I've said it before and I'm going to say it again, you have a gift. Congratulations on the purple. Blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      A very powerful lens, my friend. Much love to you.

    • profile image

      JewelRiver 7 years ago

      This is a great lens. The fact that you even recognize the abuse is a huge step. You are an extremely strong person. Good Luck to you!

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 7 years ago

      What a rigorous, in-depth Victim, Survivor, Thriver story. Thanks for find the courage to live to tell how others can help and be helped. Squidoo Angel Blessed.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 7 years ago

      Definitely 5*s and a truly valuable lens. It reminded me of how far I've come, and where in my life I can use a bit more self care. Thanks for that.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Angel Blessed!!!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Thank you for all of this information! Sometimes it is hard to know what to do and what not to do. Excellent lens!

    • profile image

      Themiscorkscrew 8 years ago

      I think this is an exceptionally great lens. My only problem is with the definition of abuse. "When you are forced to do something against your will, it is abuse." I think you should also include the fact that sometimes you are incapable as a child to know what it is you're doing so if you can somehow include that in your definition but otherwise I think this will really touch a lot of survivors and I rated it 5 stars. Thank you for sharing your experience you are a very brave person and I commend you. You will help a lot of people this way.

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      Very encouraging and well written story. I am so glad you escaped. 5*s

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image

      Davidfstillwagon 8 years ago

      terrific lens about an important subject! 5**

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      I think it's often the people who have that insight 'I can change the cycle', and then choose to walk a new path, that really succeed in creating a new life for themselves. So glad you're succeeding :) This one too is invited into both my groups: http://www.squidoo.com/groups/consciousness

      http://www.squidoo.com/groups/spiritual-growth & blessed of course.

    • Janusz LM profile image

      Janusz LM 8 years ago

      You are an inspiration! Blessed by a squid Angel :)

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      Okay...just submit all of your wonderful "personal story" help lenses like this to the sharing hearts group...You really do rock!

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 8 years ago

      Each time I read your work, I am drawn into it like a moth to the light. Your writing style and substance is a tribute to your courage, your strength as a thriver and your acknowledged renaissance toward the meaning of love and the value of life. Your words reveal the raw impact of the truth and bristle with a current of burgeoning power and confidence from knowing that you have been there...you're never going back...and you have taken charge of your own destiny! Congratulations on this stunning lens, on your victorious renaissance and for paving the way for others to escape the cycle of abuse! This lens will be lensrolled and added to the plexo in my inspiration lens. Stars all around and also sharing with several "survivor" friends who will find this story vindicating, confirming and helpful.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      Another excellent lens - you write so well about such a difficult and mostly hidden subject. I am sure that your writing will help others.

      Squid Angel Blessings to you. Keep on going with your aim to become a Giant. You are an important contributor to this community.

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens, I know this will help so many people. It is possible to break the cycle.

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 8 years ago

      "You become so used to the tension that it feels unnatural when things are quiet.

      It might seem like a victim is seeking out drama, but most of the time they are really just seeking normalcy. Not your normal perhaps, but their normal. This is just how life is, they have accepted that."This is how my first marriage was. We didn't need to be married, we brought out the worst in each other. We both had bad tempers and confrontations often led to abuse. My untreated bipolar disorder, him seeing his mother being abused during most of his youth, me seeing my mother abused by her ex husband, seeing my siblings abused, me being emotionally and at times physically abused by mom's ex and by my husband led to us both behaving in unhealthy ways and it was the perfect cocktail for an explosive and abusive ( in several ways) relationship. Since our divorce we have both changed a lot, we are both in good healthy relationships, and we have put our past behind us so that we can be good parents.

    • profile image

      Terryfree 8 years ago

      Hi Boshemia. A wonderful piece of work. As an adult survivor, now Thriver, myself I found the journey with you through this simple lens so moving it brought me to tears.

      Such a marvelous time in my life to be reading this.Thanks so much for sharing .

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thank you for including my memoir Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story in your section on survivor stories. My book is listed with the National Domestic Violence Resource Library. The price of $3.19 on amazon is for the Kindle version; there is a print version available too. You've done a wonderful service by creating this lens about sexual abuse and domestic violence. Your "lens" is so well done. Thanks for pointing out the move from victim to survivor to thriver. May we all thrive. Sincerely,

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 8 years ago

      This is a fantastic lens! If I could give you more than 5 stars I would without a doubt! I am lensrolling this over to several of my lenses and wanted to invite you to: Herb Garden of Alternative Healing

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to truth_heals]

      Hi Boshemia!

      Thank you for sharing your story in order to help other survivors!

      What a great lens!

    • profile image

      truth_heals 8 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens on a tough topic. Thank you for sharing valuable information and resources. I'd love it if you'd stop by my lens and say hello when you have a chance.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi, boshemia. Why anyone gave this lens less than 5 *'s is beyond me. You've provided highly vlauable qualty content, elegantly presented. Wonderful!

      Please submit this lens also to the Healing from Abuse group.

    • VictimNoMore profile image

      VictimNoMore 8 years ago

      Thank you for a wonderful lens. I recently becan to be a survivor, but now I have a goal to be a THRIVER. thanks!

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 8 years ago from PA

      This is a wonderful lens. You write so well. Thank you for sharing and for helping others. You are very special.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      It's always seemed so "unfair" to me that the abused have to work so long and so hard to overcome what has essentially been taken away from them. I guess like so many worthy efforts however, there is never a quick or easy fix. Your lens and your story will certainly help a lot of people on this path.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 8 years ago

      Your passion for helping others shines on this lens. Thank you for sharing your personal story and adding the helpful resources.

    • ayngel boshemia profile image
      Author

      Ayngel Overson 8 years ago from Crestone, Co

      [in reply to ArtByLinda] I didn't realize how hard this lens would be until I got into the middle of it. Thank you for your support.

    • ayngel boshemia profile image
      Author

      Ayngel Overson 8 years ago from Crestone, Co

      [in reply to JaguarJulie] Thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a lot to me.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      I am very touched by this story and how beautifully you have told it -- there is too much abuse in the world and way too much between 'loved' ones.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      It is so brave of you to share your story with the world, and so very honorable in the fact that you WILL touch others with your story and help them to also heal. Bless you!