My Support System Is Led By Me

Apr 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: All Posts, Guest Blog

by Jennifer Stuck

It’s a natural human instinct to crave companionship. I will always need other people. It’s healthy to have people I can turn to when I’m having a hard time—friends I enjoy being around and having fun with. However, when the need for others outweighs my sense of self it becomes a problem. Nobody can be there for me all the time. Even the most dedicated friend can’t help with everything. I’m the only one who can be there anytime I need it, day or night, to comfort and entertain myself.

Unfortunately, my abusers wanted to make me dependant on them. If I needed them, they would have easy access to me and I would be less likely to speak out about the abuse. Also, at their core, all abusers are needy people. They came to us to fill their disgusting physical and emotional needs. Therefore, many of us learned to form unhealthy, needy relationships. To make matters worse, we often cling to the wrong people in our current relationships, which leads to further abuse and disappointment. The abuse taught us from an early age to accept love however it was offered.

The cycle that I noticed in my life was I used to find one person who I felt comfortable with and I would become extremely attached to that person. The problem was, I was being drawn to what I was familiar with—unhealthy, abusive people. I would put all my trust into them and inevitably get hurt.

In the past, the healthier a person was, the less comfortable I felt around them. I thought that there was no way a healthy person could love and accept me if unhealthy people didn’t. Because of my fear of rejection, the only people I would fully open up to were unhealthy people, which kept me from making trustworthy, supportive friends. I continued to cling to the wrong people and get hurt. It took me a long time to realize that it was a cycle created by my abuse.

Instead of coming to the conclusion that I had put trust in the wrong person, I believed that there was some terrible flaw about me that made me unlovable. There must be something about me that made it impossible for someone to love me once they really got to know me.

Ever sense I was four years old and my family found me being abused, when their normally loving faces turned cold, I thought that I had to hide what was happening to me. Even more than that, I thought I needed to hide who I was. I thought people only liked the fake me and the masks I put up, but not the real me underneath. It never occurred to me that I trusted in the wrong people and that there might be something wrong with them. I could only blame myself for not being good enough to be loved.

Not only was I clinging to the wrong people, I was making them my first and only support system, clinging to one unhealthy person at a time expecting them to fill all my emotional needs. By depending so much on other people I was setting myself up for disappointment. No one person could fill all of my needs, especially if I wasn’t filling my own first.

Now I’ve learned that I need a multi-person support system headed by myself. I am the first person I go to for comfort, I can make myself feel better, and I can have fun and laugh on my own. By depending on myself first, I eliminate the need to cling to unhealthy people. If I’m not desperate for love and support I can be choosier about who I invite into my life and I don’t need to look for love from unhealthy, abusive people. I can love myself.

Related Links: My Fear of Being Alone

Jennifer Stuck is whole-heartedly pursuing physical and emotional health and is determined to heal the wounds of her childhood sexual abuse. She loves to write, especially poetry. She is currently studying for a career in Physical Therapy. When she isn’t in school Jennifer is at home spending time with her two beautiful daughters.

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27 comments
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  1. This relates to me very much. Recently I have just started talking about my abuse. Not only in my childhood, but in my adult life as well. I have therapist that is helping me through this, but went it comes right down to it I am alone, or that is how I feel. I am afraid I will never heal. Every relationship I have had, even from an early age, has been one bad experience after another. I feel so sad and with I would have died many years ago. I am in school now also. I am determined never to be dependent on another. I am sick of being alone though. i am so confused. When is this going to end the flash backs are so strong at times all I can do is cry. The hurt is so powerful it is overselling me at times. I know myself esteem has come up, but with all of this I feel dragged down again. Who will every love someone like me? I have five kids, bipolar disorder, dyslexia, and to top it all off I have abuse issues.

  2. Jennifer, what a great subject. I had the same problems with putting my trust in only one person and made the mistake of not having a healthy support system. My relationships were a wreck until I learned to support myself and care about me, first. I am sure this will help many people because this is a major problem for survivors until they get healthier. Thank you for your heartfelt sharing from your expierences.

  3. Thank you Linda. I feel like this is one of the most important things I have learned through healing, and something that will help keep me from further abuse.

  4. Thank you Jennifer exactly what I needed to read today. That’s exactly the pattern I see in my own life! And so glad to find a kind of answer to the problem of being stuck on and clingy.

  5. Great blog Jenn,

    It is so true and you have written my life story, too. It wasn’t until I learned to care about me, that it was important who I allowed around me. Love it, love it. Made me realize how far I have come in relationships. Thanks again.

  6. Ever woner why people would see the abuse and do nothing at all? i did and still do.. when my mom was watchign i would starinbto her eyes, it was like looking into a deeo wall of nothing .i felt invisable. yet while the abuse was going on i would let my mind take me away far away..it was as if the abuse was being done to some else. i endured so much pain and torture but i was able to detach myself

  7. What if I am not strong enough?

    What if I have pushed everyone away so that I would never be a burden to anyone and now I don’t know how to reach out?

    What if I have ignored my own voice so long that I have silenced it and now, when it speaks wisdom, I do not understand or trust it?

    And what if I have done the same with my instincts about others? Silenced the good and healthy ones and listened only to the wrong ones.

    What then?

  8. Lisa – Then we work on slowly learning to listen to our inner voice again. I know it can feel hopeless but any problem caused by abuse can be remedied through healing. It just takes time and effort. Especially if you were abused over a long period of time and have had to ignore your feelings for a long time. It’s been baby steps for me. I know you can do it to.

  9. Jennifer, thank you for telling your story so eloquently! You are indeed a survivor! I am sure that the example you provide will help many others also survive!
    Hope you join me at http://bit.ly/hORjTb for candid discussion about surviving and stopping abuse in all its forms. Marjorie

  10. I already do that. But, offline, I can only talk to one person. I don’t swamp him w/ it though; in fact he wishes I’d tell him more, and I’m having a issue w/ him about what I already disclosed.
    He feels differently about the people who raped and/or molested me, and he doesn’t understand how I can NOT be filled w/ ideas of vengeance.
    I understand his feelings, it’s just that I’m not a physical person. At least not THAT way. He’s EXTREMELY outward and unafraid of confrontation. In fact he meets a conflict full-on, as they say in New York City, where he’s lived most of his life.
    He’s said he would refrain from having words w/ the guys who raped me, if that’s what I want, but he let me know what he thinks of them. I felt safe and comforted by his reaction. I felt liked in a way that’s different from what I usually feel. Probably b/c, when I asked him to do me the favor of avoiding a confrontation, he actually listened. I’m still surprised that he did, but I’m also really glad. Not b/c I care whether they get hurt, but b/c I don’t want HIM to get in trouble over them. They’re not worth it.
    He’s the kind of person who will never make you wonder about his emotions or intentions, b/c he tells you in plain terms what he feels or wants. Some people think he’s rude, but I’m glad to finally have found a person who refuses to play communication games.
    But I still have trust issues and haven’t told him more than 2 things that happened to me.

    I lost a friend, b/c of being too dependent on him, but he helped the process into motion when he said I could “talk to [him] any time, day or night.”
    Unfortunately I took it literally, and he dropped me. I STILL think we could have stayed friends, after spending almost 20 years together, but what the hell. He didn’t want to even in a modified relationship. Not even after I told him I’d change.
    Well, at least I’ve kept the promise of changing. Even though Rob, my friend form NYC, wants me to talk “at any time,” I no longer do it.

  11. Vicki, I see that you have one person to talk to but that you also have trust issues with that person. Who else do you have for a support system and is there anyone that you can share your story with? I have caught bits and pieces but really do not know all you have been through. Who do you have for support that you can trust, a therapist, a group, a close trusted friend?I worry how alone you must feel without a trusted person. When you say you already do that, what is it that you already do? I hear you talk about your friend’s feelings but not about yours. When you said you talked to your other friend and he dropped you, it is a good thing because if he couldn’t handle your issues he wasn’t a good support system for you. It really must have hurt though because you had known each other so long.

  12. Danielle for some reason your comment just showed up. I wasn’t ignoring you. Good for you for starting to talk about your abuse. I’m sorry you are hurting so bad right now. When we first start talking about our past it is usually a really emotional time. That’s good that you have the support of a therapist and are reaching out online. Finding healthy support is helpful, and like I said in my blog it’s good to find ways we can comfort ourselves too. I use writing in my healing a lot. When I don’t have anyone to talk to I can still write to get it all out. It doesn’t have to be spelled right or have perfect punctuation. I can just let lose and get my emotions out and burn it when I’m done if I want to.

  13. I just read this just now. I was raped by 2 people. Both were over a period of years. One was a sibling of mine and one was a family friend. The family friend was in jail for rape though not for raping me. He was doing life but got out in a few years. Now he is on FB and is friending all of my friedns and I am unfriending those who friend him. Not all of my friends know who raped me they just know I was raped but my close friends know. It really upset me at first. People who get processed with me tend to stay that way for life. I am a little upset. I finally got my life together and don’t need his crap. Just venting. I do have a husband who understands and supports me and a trust worthy therapist and a few close friends. A few weeks ago an alumni of my high school was posting some disturbing stiff about rape. I did not think it was about me. But I found out it was. It is pretty disturbing. Of course I unfriended the guy from high school but I a 48 and cant believe I am still dealing with this freak!

  14. Piinky I’m sorry that some people can be so un-understanding. I definitely wouldn’t want friends that would friend my abuser. It’s much better to have a few people you can trust then a lot of friends you can’t. I love myself enough now to stay away from people like that.

  15. @Jennifer, yes it is just shocking that I have to deal with this now!

  16. I was raped by two people too. At the same time. I’m sure nobody would think of that as gang rape but I do, b/c they ganged up on me, and both of them did it at the same time. One on top, the other below.
    I hate that I got raped by two guys at the same time. The only thing that stopped the second guy from also doing it below is that I was on the last day of my period. There was hardly anything left, but he got disgusted at the thought and refused to do it.
    The other guy didn’t care.

    Somebody talked about being raped by 2 people at different times. That’s why I posted this. Unfortunately, if I counted all the people who’ve done something sexually invasive to me it would be close to a two-digit number.
    I’m having trouble knowing if I’m allowed to talk about all of the sexual abuse encounters or should I focus on one and forget the others.

  17. Vicki I’m so sorry that happened to you. I think it is valuable to talk about all of your memories. Each one might have different emotions tied to it and different issues that need to be addressed.

  18. Jennifer, this makes so much sense to me. And I have been depending too much on others. But, I am trying to learn to be more self-consoling and self-dependent. CLINGING…that is me. Well, that WAS me. I am learning to be different. Thank you so much for giving me the link to you post. It makes total sense to me. I put my other therapist up on a pedestal. But, what is sad is that HE LIKED IT. I think it made him feel needed. I cannot go in to all the details here…but last night after a session with my ‘new’ therapist (I have been seeing her for about 6 months) I was finally able to write about what happened on my blog and cry about the loss and feel angry…instead of blaming myself. I really need to work on my fear of getting close to others…especially my current therapist. Because I really think she is different and has a totally different way of viewing D.I.D. and life in general. Thanks again.

  19. Nico I’m so glad you liked the blog and that things are going so well with your new therapist. Sounds like you are on a good track with your healing. Thanks for commenting!

  20. […] My Support System Is Led By Me […]

  21. I love what you wrote Jennifer about loving ones self and being able to pick and choose people that deserve to be close. I was molested as a child. By different ages of the male gender. I don’t know why, but people I was supposed to trust always found it convenient to do something hurtful and shocking to me. I never told anyone. I always felt I’d be blamed for it. Now I’m all grown up, a mother of three. Still carrying the memories of the shocking and hurful experiences during my childhood. I’ve never gotten therapy, but I find that the issue of rape is very upsetting to me. I was wondering if it was just me, because of my experiences, or if its the same for all women. I would quickly switch to another channel if a movie is about someone being raped, etc. I wont want to listen to any issues pertaining to rape. My husband once told me about a little girl admitted to his hospital for psych problems, she was eight, and her step dad had raped her since she was four. I did not know this little girl, but the story upset me so much that I cried and cried. My husband was perplexed at my reaction. Truely, I was too. So I dont know if its an effect of my bad experiences or if all women would react like that.
    Its quite important to start from within oneself. There is power that can be taken from within to build self esteem and self worth. Like Jennifer says, love yourself. I find that I do not need anyone because I have self acceptance, so it does not really matter what the next person thinks. That way, I cant fall prey to abusers who have no love for me and only wish to use their power over me and manipulate me any evil way they wish.

  22. […] Related Posts: Overcoming Sexual Abuse: My Healing or My Marriage? Is Overcoming Sexual Abuse Really Possible? My Healing Journey: Stumbling and Getting Back Up Forget About It? My Support System is Led By Me […]

  23. Journey, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your comment. I think it’s a healthy reaction to be bothered by abuse, but your emotional reaction is more than likely tied to your past abuse. It’s good that you allowed yourself to cry for that little girl. In a way, you were crying for yourself and the pain you experienced as a child. That’s how I started connecting with my emotions about my abuse and soon I could directly say “I feel sad”, or “I feel angry” about what happened to me.

  24. Jennifer your words make so much sense, I only hope I can get to that healing place. It only seems like the begining for me, for many years I struggled to identify with my inner pain. I unknowly detached myself from being and feeling the terrible pain of abuse that i endured as a child. As an adult, I too got involved in unhealthy relationships, its only now that I am begining to understand why! At the moment I feel so consummed with allowing myself to get intouch with and feel my pain, of those who harmed me. The intensity of pain can be often difficult to bare, does this ease with time?

  25. Sharon it does get better with time and effort. I think it’s great you’re allowing yourself to feel these difficult emotions. Letting the pain out (feeling it and expressing it) is the best way I’ve found to feel better. Like running through a fire to get to safety.

  26. I cried when i read this, I’ve started therapy recently because I too had the same feelings. There must be something terribly wrong with me. I must be a horrible failure. Some loser who no one likes and everyone see’s as ugly and unloveable and disgusting and annoying. Only recently have I seen that I have been looking at myself through the eyes of my abusers. I too have chosen to surround myself with abusive relationships over and over knowing nothing but codependency. I’m working hard to develop new habits, it’s challenging and I’m finding it challenging to set boundaries especially with family. I don’t have allot of memories of my abuse I have allot of holes in my memories and I can’t say I want to know. It’s really wonderful to read this and to see that I’m not alone and that I am validated in feeling that it’s not me that I have every right to finally realize that I’m the one choosing flawed relationships not that I’m unloveable.

  27. Unloveable that is exactly how i feel. I confronted my mother …for the first time i said to her Look at my life look at the effects of my Life. I have no life. She Shouted I cant turn back the clock 30 years. I dont know why you cant leave those who are at fault and move on. I was silent silenced and have been ever since. It is unbearable and it is a crossroads with no way to move, i cannot move, i am dragging myself along but the belief that i am unlovable and will always have to carry this cross alone makes me crave comfort and validation. On days that i am happy when i lived alone I cooked meals and i liked myself. I am concerned about being clingy or needy so I stay in and don’t ask others to meet up b/c I don’t want to seem clingy. I traveled to Africa last Summer and i liked myself, but I ‘m ashamed of myself in my ordinary everyday life where i cant seem to get up and go b/c i think im not adequate and I am not able to be near others who are happy, the thing is I think i don’t like being so wrapped up in myself. Why do I hate myself i would comfort a friend if she were feeling this way.

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