Dusana Michaels

Author of "Chopping the Onion"

Attack myself or not

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I have an auto-immune disease which essentially means the cells of my body attack the healthy cells instead of only the infectious or diseased ones. I have felt for a long time that this was one of the ways in which I coped with the abuse of my childhood. There are many reasons for this but one was I found it easier to blame myself for the actions of others than to think I had no control at all over my environment. In its own way, that thought was terrifying to me. That I had some semblance of control was better than thinking I was at the mercy of the whims of the adults around me.

I’ve spent many years of my adulthood ferreting out my culpability for what is happening in my life from those around me.  Sometimes it is my fault, sometimes it is theirs. I’ve learned the difference between when it’s my lesson to learn and when I’ve been placed in someone else’s life as their teacher. The hardest life circumstances to recognize and learn from have been the times when the actions of others was a mirror of my own inner state or belief. Searching my soul of the emotions and repetitive thoughts brought the spotlight to the area that needed to be challenged and changed or accepted.

I really do feel I have worked through the blame I felt for the abuse happening to me. I know that I did nothing to deserve it. I know the innocent child I used to be. I know it was the actions of the adults around me. What caused them to overstep the line is beyond me. I used to care and want to know. But that was a useless search, I will never know and I don’t care anymore. That’s their problem and I have enough of my own.

Incest is the gift that keeps on giving and I mean that in the darkest sense of the statement. I’ve come to think of it as recovery because I continually have to recover the different parts of myself that had to cope with the insanity around me. The groves of these unhealthy coping skills run deep and it is too easy for me to fall back into old patterns. Sometimes they pop up unexpectedly, though I am quicker to recognize them when they appear. It takes a conscious effort to get back on a healthier or more self-affirming track.

As part of healing and recovery, I’ve had to challenge the beliefs I held about myself. Some were spot on and others were way off course. This cannot be done overnight and life has presented me with many situations in which I get the opportunity to reaffirm what I believe. As though I’ve needed to be asked, “are you sure you think/feel/believe that?” Sometimes the answer was a resounding, YES! Other times I’ve recognized something needed to be tweaked.

No matter what was or wasn’t done to me, I’ve had to declare by my actions who I am in spite of  or despite the abuse. I am an adult and I am responsible for them. What I’ve learned over the years is though I have a propensity to attack myself, I can build new paths that are kinder and gentler.

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Author: authordusanamichaels

I have been healing and recovering from incest for over 25 years. It's been an incredibly tough, and yet rewarding process. I have learned to love, trust, and persist under soul crushing circumstances. Beauty can be found everyday, even if it is only for a moment.

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