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Written by: Rachel Grant, Trauma Recovery Coach

I grew up in a fairly small town in Oklahoma, and when I was five years old, my grandfather came to live with my family. I often helped my mom and dad take care of him. I would do simple little things like taking him a bowl of cereal, keeping him company, or reading to him. He was a friend and a quiet companion, up until the day he began abusing me when I was ten years old.

During my early twenties, I decided to stop being the victim and began doing all of the things we usually do when we want to get over something—talking to friends, seeing a therapist, reading books. By my late twenties, I was better but was still going around and around the same mountain of self-doubt, anger, acting out, and nonexistent boundaries.

I remember very distinctly the day in 2005 when the thought occurred to me, “I don’t want to just survive my life, I want to live it!” That thought stirred something deep inside of me, and I set out to discover how I could live a powerful, authentic life free from the pain of abuse.

So, I began reading, talking with others who had been abused, and reflecting on what lessons had really made a difference in my recovery up to that point. I realized that I had come to understand the abuse as an experience, that I had drawn the connections between the abuse and my current behavior—for example, I could explain why I didn’t trust others. However, there was one critical question that was not being answered by any of the books, therapists, or friends: “So, what do I do about it?!”

As a survivor, you have done amazing work to reach a place where you are able to acknowledge the abuse and have gained a sense of empowerment by no longer seeing yourself as or being a victim. However, this recognition and sense of empowerment is not enough. You are now ready to do something about it!

Imagine with me for a moment that our abuse experience has left a scrape on our knee, like one we might get by falling down on a concrete sidewalk. This scrape, for many of us, remains unhealed for years and years. At times, we may bandage and tend to the wound, but we never fully recover. Worse, we come to believe it never can be healed.

Now, in the case of a scrape, the skin does eventually heal and leave a scar. We look at our knee, see the scar, and remember that day when we were wounded. Yet we do not feel all of the pain or other emotions that occurred at the moment we were hurt. Nor do we continue to