In this video, Jess discusses the unique challenges of being a survivor of familial abuse, and how we can create healing for ourselves.
"Abuse Within the Family. The realities of moving through a healing journey, when abuse occurs from a family member, is really difficult. In most cases, folks don’t have the options of never seeing their abuser again. They’re at family functions. They’re at the dinner table. There’s just a particular kind of loneliness when the people who are supposed to understand us and supposed to have our back just don’t. Children who experience familial sexual abuse know what it’s like to feel overwhelmingly lonely in a house full of people who share your name or your DNA. But I wanted to say that you’re not alone, and it’s really important for your healing to create your own understanding about not having to be afraid anymore. Only a really disturbed person would ever tell a kid that was abused or neglected that that means that they’re worthless, or that they’re unlovable, or don’t have the right to exist. So, maybe we stop saying that kind of thing to ourselves, to the kid we once were who still is there, who we still carry around in our heart and in our head. And I know that trauma conditions us in a certain way. We hold certain beliefs and certain feelings and certain behaviors about ourselves, and the conditioning can deepen the more the abuse occurred, or the more the neglect occurred, and it’s not our fault. But because we are talking about physical pathways in the brain that need to be rewired, that need to be rebuilt, we have to understand that conditioning can change. And if we spend our first few decades of our lives numbing ourselves so we can survive, we can sometimes wake up in adulthood realizing that we still feel like a kid inside, and a lot of trauma recovery can be the growing up we didn’t have the safety to do back then, that we have the safety to do now. And it’s so critical to create these boundaries for ourselves in our own lives, because it is the only way that moving forward can happen and occur. We have to build our own safe space and sometimes even create our own chosen family so that we can realize what in fact we deserve and have the needs met, that all of us have to feel like we belong and are cared for, and that we receive the respect that we always deserved."