Coping: Just Not How You Think



Last month T.I.L.A ventured out into the social media world. Pray for me, I’m still learning. Luckily, I have some young soul to help me out. Social media has provided a great platform for survivors to share their thoughts and experiences as well as keep this topic in the forefront of people’s minds. But for those who aren’t survivors or even as a survivor, have you ever wondered why we (survivors) act the way we do? Hum, what do you mean? Well, have you ever wondered why instead of turning away from sex, she has it more often? Or, the person who was once well put together seems to be falling apart and it seems that she just can’t pull it together. She’s smoking and drinking more frequently. Problems on the job. Excessive spending/shopping. Over eating. Stops eating. Pulling her hair out. Quits school or job. Excessively working. She contemplates suicide and maybe even takes a few attempts. There are so many others I can name but you get my drift. All of that over a single act of violence that didn’t kill us, right? What’s wrong with her?

Well, let me tell you a little secret. As a survivors, we are asking ourselves the same question. Yeah, we feel like we just can’t get right and something is seriously wrong with us. News flash: “THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!!” You have been traumatized by an act that has nothing to do with sex itself but everything to do with power and control. You are coping. We are coping. It’s just not how people think we are supposed to. Sooo, are you saying that the promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, shopping habit, wanting to commit suicide, etc. is common (normal). Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

After a traumatic experience such as assault, rape, molestation, incest, etc., your body, mind and spirit will go through a plethora of thoughts, feelings and emotions that we can’t always explain or articulate. Therefore, we do whatever makes us feel numb or like this didn’t happen and at least half way in control. Although these are normal coping mechanisms for most survivors, they are not healthy and can only get us so far before they no longer satisfy.

With that being said, what are some healthy ways to cope? One way to help cope is to talk about it in a safe non-judgmental environment with people you trust and are supportive. This can be a very difficult step but necessary. Another way is crying. Yes, we are strong and hard on the outside sometimes but crying is very therapeutic and a necessary part of the healing process. Those are just a few ways to help heal and cope. I want to hear from you. What are some healthy alternatives to coping with such a traumatic event?


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© 2020 by Adrienne Sharee McGowan

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