Saturday, May 19, 2007

Top Ten Skills of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

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The Top Ten Skills of Survivors
© (1995) Aubrieta V. Hope

10. The ability to figure things out quickly. As children, we were given few clues of approaching danger. We had to learn how to recognize the warning signs, assess a situation accurately, and react quickly.

9. Persuasiveness. It takes more than physical agility to dodge abuse. We had to use our wits as well--sometimes that meant thinking fast and coming up with a clever excuse or argument. years of communicating with illogical or angry adults can really build your vocabulary!

8. Flexibility. To survive trauma and abuse, we had to be able to adapt to all kinds of difficult situations. Our childhoods didn't come with a clear-cut job description. Abusive adults act in unpredictable ways--we had to "roll with the punches".

7. Compassion. Not all victimized children grow up to be compassionate adults--some become abusers themselves. But those who break the cycle have a great capacity for empathy. We can relate to people who are in in need, because we've been there.

6. The ability to learn without being taught. Childhood trauma and abuse can interfere with a little person's ability to concentrate in school. And, abusive adults often sabotage the learning process by terrorizing, shaming or neglecting a child. Despite all these obstacles, somehow we managed to learn anyway.

5. Acute observation skills. As kids, many of us had to "have eyes in the back of our head". We learned how to watch without seeming to observe. No wonder so many of us identified with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!

4. Creativity. When a child's environment is harsh, the rule of the jungle prevails: "only the fittest survive." Conditions like that require imagination.

3. Perceptiveness. Kids who live in a dangerous environment have to rely on "gut instinct". No one bothered to explain trouble to us. To protect ourselves, we developed the ability to read body language and listen to what's not being said.

2. Endurance. When life is frightening and painful, childhood is a long time. It can take 18 years to get out--most convicted felons have shorter sentences! Abused children develop an amazing capacity to withstand and outlast the unbearable.

1. Resourcefulness. (Enough said).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. It's incredible!

May 19, 2007 11:14 PM  
Blogger A said...

Some time ago, I realised I had rules of survival, so what you've written hits the nail on the head.

We definitely need more of this to highlight what it is we had to do in order to survive.

May 20, 2007 5:57 AM  
Blogger Marj aka Thriver said...

This is a great list. Thanks for sharing it with us.

May 22, 2007 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I sometimes feel extreme anger for having survived the horrible crimes committed against me, and I know it is better to acknowledge the gifts that resulted. Empathy, in particular, is among our strong points. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

June 05, 2007 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you, thank you thank you.

July 07, 2007 11:26 PM  
Blogger Laurel said...

This list made me smile. What a great way to quietly bring forward the idea that there is treasure to be found even on the darkest path.

July 10, 2007 7:07 AM  
Blogger Patricia Singleton said...

I can relate to each one of your list. Thanks for sharing. I printed them out to remind myself of the good that did come from the abuse. Thanks.

December 27, 2007 11:54 PM  

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