How I Turned My Pain Into A Source Of Power After Being Sexually Abused As A Child

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By Halima Layeni

I am a living proof that anyone can turn things around. From a nadir of emotions in which I struggled with abuse and resentment, I have willed myself to focus on the strength I possess and the fact that I alone can determine how my life turns out.

My sexual abuse started when I was about six years old and on it went until when I was about eleven, most of it coming from friends and family folks who were meant to have protected me. I never talked to anyone about it because right from childhood I was used to keeping things to myself and I was ashamed since what my parents had been protecting me from had finally happened.

For a very long time I did not want to be alive because of my scars. I was suicidal and was always angry at everything and anyone who couldn’t relate to the fact that I was angry at life. I had to struggle with pain, rejection, depression, hate, anger and unforgiveness:

Rejection, because I felt alone in the world, like the only one with insurmountable struggles.

Depression, because I had so much bottled in – so much pain and agony. I was suffering so much that I couldn’t even save myself if I wanted to.

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Unforgiveness, because I couldn’t bring myself to forgive myself for everything I had made myself go through. So many nights, I’d cry myself to sleep and wish all the memories would be erased by morning.

Anger, because I felt vulnerable. I wanted more than anything to see the abusers suffer, and that wasn’t happening. And worse still, I couldn’t do anything about the situation, so it killed me inside.

After all my bad experiences and all the struggles I had going on in my life, I looked at my life and came to the conclusion that I was a total failure. I focused on my weaknesses. Even when I had the courage to do something, I often expected it not to turn out well, so I never tried. I had the mind of a failure, I had the attitude of a failure so I failed at virtually everything.

The first 19years until my healing were the most challenging. I chose to let my abuse mold me into someone I could never be proud of. It was a deep cut. It was easy to blame everything I was on my experience as a bitter person and give excuses for it. To an extent, my abuse was the reason to be the way I was; but I had a choice to either play by the rules, blame it on society or restart my life and start thinking.

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Amidst all the unrest going on in my life somehow I found God. I found comfort in his love and peace and I was consoled by his promises for my life. He saw me in my darkest moment and loved me in spite of my story. He embraced my scars and called me his own. He filled that vacuum and gave me an expected end – hope. His salvation has given me hope, peace, life, a future, guidance, unconditional love, pride, and reassurance.

The healing started for me when I forgave myself for everything I had made myself go through. All my life since my healing I had made myself pay for someone else’s mistake. I realized that true forgiveness comes from within – the ability to forgive myself was enough for me to finally see the light. Yes, there are definitely scars but the reality is, it isn’t and was never my fault.

I was in total control of my life and how I wanted to feel and I deliberately chose not to be miserable, I chose to live a normal life, I trained myself to forget, managed the pain, fed my soul with healing things, stayed dedicated to them and gradually the pain faded away. Day after day I convinced myself that I was not a victim but a fighter.

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I accepted myself and embraced my scars and flaws. I couldn’t change a thing about what had happened so I stopped worrying about it.  Hurting myself only left me feeling worse and I had everything to lose so I decided choosing to live on purpose will change everything which is the whole point of life.  I had not the slightest idea of why those things had happened but knew it was part of God’s plan for my life and I am thankful that he chose me to fight this fight.

I found myself; this was the most beautiful part of my healing process because when I fell in love with myself I became indestructible. When you genuinely love yourself, you’re happy, you’re content, you’re at peace. You’ll breathe fine, you can be/do anything you want and conquer the world. I strongly believed in myself and everything I stood for. I started focusing on my strength and gradually my life began to take a new turn. I discovered my purpose and set realistic goals for myself and followed my most intense obsessions mercilessly.

Getting over my abuse was a huge step but it was a stepping stone into getting over other issues in my life. My abuse had laid the foundation of strength and power. I am at a very good place in my life right now and there is no turning back.

I hope the days come easy, and each day you choose to become a better person for yourself. I hope that one day you reach that place where I am today and even surpass it. I hope you find your own place, peace, purpose, joy and love in this world. But above all, I hope you find God and hold on to him forever.

 

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Halima Layeni, 23, is from Nigeria. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science from the University Of Lagos. She is regularly called upon to speak against child abuse and post traumatic recovery, among other sensitive psychological issues. Her strong desire to empower others has been her greatest source of inspiration. You can follow her on Instagram @lifeafterabuse.
Her forthcoming book, ‘My Life After Abuse’ will share more of her life experiences, and supporting her paradigms with all the life lessons she has learned.

 

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