How Much Does It Cost To Heal From Sexual Abuse?

Jun 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: All Posts, Sharing Hope

How Much Does It Cost to Heal From Sexual Abuse?

by Christina Enevoldsen

“Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.” Oscar Goldman in the opening narration to the “The Six Million Dollar Man”

If you managed to miss this classic show from the ‘70s, it was about American astronaut and Air Force Colonel, Steve Austin. When Col. Austin suffered a nearly fatal plane crash, the United States government replaced his legs, right arm and eye with bionic parts that gave him super-human abilities.

He was so injured that he shouldn’t have survived. I felt that way about my childhood. As I look back and realize that to go through those horrifying experiences without anyone to turn to for safety or comfort seem too much for anyone, much less a child.  I survived, but my very being was mutilated.

Unlike Col. Austin, I didn’t have the government’s help to rebuild me. I’ve had to do that job myself. He may not have ever questioned the value of his restoration, but I sure did. Did I have what it would take to heal?

Investment of Money

Even though Steve Austin is a fictional character, I wonder if he ever questioned why the government thought his life was worth that much money. That’s a big chunk of change to sink into one person.

I know many abuse survivors who have spent a small fortune in therapists and other healing resources. The healing process can be expensive.

When I was in the thick of my healing process, I didn’t have much money, if any, to invest in myself. I barely had enough to survive on. But I was intent on healing. Instead of paying for the knowledge and support a therapist provides, I bought books and rallied a strong base of support in my friends.

Investment of Time

The former astronaut’s rebuilding was relatively fast. He had surgery and a short rehabilitation and training and POOF, he was fixed. My process has taken much longer.

It’s taken me years to get to this place of wholeness. There have been layers and layers to wade through. I never knew where I was in my journey. I had the tendency to overestimate my progress. I’d make it through one issue, believing I was completely finished facing it–only to cycle through to another layer of the same issue.

In Steve’s case, he had to repay the government by capturing their enemies. I started out with that motivation too. I began my healing with the belief that my self-improvement was for the benefit of other people. I’d be a better wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. I’d be a strong advocate for other survivors.

But my healing has taught me that I’m worth every penny, every moment, every drop of energy I invest in healing, even if it’s just for me.

I’m no super-hero, but I feel more whole and self-aware than most people I know who haven’t been through trauma. I don’t have bionic vision, but I do see things with better clarity—not just suffering of others, but solutions to the suffering. I don’t have bionic limbs, but my healing has made me see how strong I really am.

As I look back at how many years I lived without investing in myself, it’s painful to look at what it cost me not to heal. No matter the cost, it’s been worth it. I’m far better than I was before I started healing. Better, stronger, faster.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how I took back my life after abuse, I invite you to read my new book, The Rescued Soul: A Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal. In it, I spell out the details of exactly how I’ve healed, using excerpts from my journal, very candid stories and detailed examples. It’s definitely up close and personal! It’s healing guide, workbook and journal all in one. I put a lot of love into all 518 pages.

Christina EnevoldsenChristina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Scottsdale, Arizona and share three children and six grandchildren.

[read Christina’s story here]

Does this resonate with you? Please join in by leaving your thoughts and feelings about this topic and don’t forget to subscribe to the comments.

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  1. You are my hero, kiddo.

  2. We ARE worth it…whatever it takes however long it takes. No one should have to ever go through the things we have but we did and that we are even still here is amazing…like you said. I, too, feel like I am a totally different person than the one I might have been. I hope my experiences have made me more caring, more compassionate and yes, … See Moremore self-aware. I cannot say that I am happy for what I had to experience but I can say that I am truly doing my best to make the most of it. Thank you, Christina…

  3. Thanks Patty and Penny!

    Penny, I’m not happy about what happened to me, either, but I am happy about the rebuilt version of myself. I may end up with a different version of myself, but I don’t consider any improvement to be due to the abuse. The improved version of myself has only come from the intense need to carefully look at what is inside of me. The abuse created that need. It’s been the hard work I’ve invested that has lead to my well-being. The abuse itself made me weaker, but the healing made me stronger.

  4. I love how strong you are! I look to you for hope and inspiration. Hugs.

  5. Thanks, Cassie! Hugs to you!

  6. Better, stronger, faster!! I LOVE THAT! This is a great post Christina! It makes me remember that I can fly!

  7. I think we got superpowers 😉 This was a great post!

  8. Thanks, Darlene and Ligeia! One of my favorite parts of the show was when Steve would encounter the bad guys and they thought he was just a regular person. They figured they could easily over-power him. I just loved how surprised they were when he sprung into action. I feel that same delight when I encounter people from my past who knew me as a victim. They are sure surprised when they see who they’re messing with now!

  9. yeaaaaaaaaaah ! x

  10. Christina, you are a heroine for all of us who are also survivors. We are all worth how ever long it takes to heal. I love that show from the 70’s.

  11. Thanks Christina for sharing this! It is always helpful and insightful for me to see and hear how others express themselves.

    Having no “point of reference” or “baseline” to work from or determine if I’m on the right path I can find myself wondering “is this right?”

    Reading and watching…seeing how others communicate and express themselves is like the “mirroring” and validation I did have in my life in the past. I continue to build myself from the inside out:)

  12. ‘ I began my healing with the belief that my self-improvement was for the benefit of other people.’
    Me too. And I have to say in response to this post your insights are priceless

  13. Patricia, Yes! However long it takes to heal, we ARE worth it!

    I like your comment, “seeing how others communicate and express themselves is like the “mirroring” and validation I did have in my life in the past. I continue to build myself from the inside out.” That’s so true that it has to be from the inside out. It’s when we internalize the truth of our value that it flows out. Nobody can do that for us; only we can do that internal work. Thanks for sharing!

    Louise, Thank you!

  14. […] Six Million Dollar Healing: Completely Invested in the Process […]

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