Sometimes, people who have never experienced abuse have no idea the dynamics it can cause in someone's personality. When you have never experienced such betrayal, it is difficult to understand the damage one can endure in all facets of the victim's life. It is not something someone can just, get over. It doesn't work that way. When children are exposed to abuse, whether verbal, physical, sexual or neglect, their brain chemistry actually changes. There have actually been studies done that show even the ways a person's eyes are set can change due to abuse. It is the same for adults who endure domestic abuse, their brain chemistry changes. Without going into too much explanation, the short of it is, as a victim, your brain operates in survival mode a majority of the time and when that happens the brain starts to rewire and what you have left is someone who is hypervigilent at the very least. Victims can look on the outside as abrasive, liars, permiscuous, emotionless, overemotional, avoidant of places and relationships, hard to get along with, very easy to get a long with, angry with rageful outbursts, quiet, timid, pleasers. Often, but not all of the time, their personality traits are very extreme. Abuse changes a person's spirit. Also, the dynamics a victim may have with their abuser can be very confusing for someone on the outside. I had a few abusers in my life. People assume that victims often make up their abusers or that sometimes a victim receives attention for coming forward so they just keep spitting out more abusers. But think about it: when a victim experiences abuse and their lives change dramatically, another abuser can spot that and the vicitim is more vulnerable to the attack. Even though there is hypervigilence on the part of the victim, there is usually also the need to be saved by someone (because you are definitely going to believe you can't do it yourself). That leaves the victim open to a manipulative attacker. Abuse affected my life in many ways. It has contributed to my weight, it has contributed to loss of jobs, it has contributed to lost relationships, it has contributed the way I view spirituality, it has contributed to fears of open spaces or being in large crowds, it has contributed to the way I have treated others as well as myself, it contributes to the way I treat my child, my spouse on others that I have relationships with. It is the easiest route for someone who suffered abuse to live in a victim mode their whole life. Whether it is a single incident or a lifetime of abuse, a victim can remain a victim for the rest of their lives. I couldn't do it though. I couldn't live the life of a victim. I tried. I held on to my hurt and my shame and my anger like they were comfort foods. I scarred my body to keep me safe. I fattened up so no one would get close. I spit bitterness like venom and defended it with realist claims so that other people could feel my pain. I wanted others to know my hurt. However, I realized, the only way someone could know that hurt is to experience it, and I would NEVER ever wish that on ANYONE!! One day, I drove past a rest home and there were people my age standing outside and I looked at them, really took a deep look and thought, if I don't do something, that is going to be me. I am going to end up in a home because I am not dealing with this. Look, there are horrible horrible things in this world and it affects people deeply. Each violation takes a toll on ones spirit. But we have choices!! I want so much more for my life. I am so much more than what others chose to offend me with. Does it hurt still? YES, absolutely!! Do I still struggle with anger, shame, hurt, resentment? YES, absolutely!! Does it define who I am and what I want for mine and my family's life? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! People are fighting battles everyday and some of them are deep battles with wounds deeper than you probably care to know about or handle. I could tell you experiences that would disgust you beyond belief. What I want to focus on is healing and positives and being the best me I can be and to prove to those that hurt me that I am STRONGER than you and what you did did not DESTROY me. I understand pain and hurt but I want to LIVE powerfully and with love. I am not a victim my friends, I am a survivor and so are you and so is the person next to you. When you encounter people who's behavior you don't understand, think to yourself what battle they may be fighting, even within themselves and then extend some compassion....even if it has to be silent compassion. Choose to be powerful and live life loving and positive. Peace my friends!!