Unity in Healing and Living
By Susan Jacobi
Cancer InCytes Magazine - Volume 5, Issue 1, Summer 2016
Managing Editor: Juliana Zhu, Esq.
Susan Jacobi shares her story of physical, emotional and sexual child abuse to illustrate that it is possible to reclaim a life stolen from 18 years of abuse. While her abuse was severe, Susan knows the jewels in her story are how she overcame and is now a thriving advocate for adult survivors of child abuse. In this article, she discusses the support she received from professionals, many of whom were unable to identify her trauma. She writes from her experiences as an adult survivor of child abuse. Her goal is foremost to show all survivors of any childhood trauma that healing is possible through resilience and a commitment to overcoming physical and emotional obstacles. There are lessons in her article for both the professional and layman. Susan uses her podcast, Conversations That Heal, as a tool to share expert advice on using mindset to change thoughts, feelings and actions to reclaim a life from child abuse.
I am on a healing journey from child abuse. My work officially began March 1998 and has taken me to depths of despair and darkness I didn't know I could go through, let alone survive and thrive.
My journey has involved my loving children and friends, devoted therapists who taught me that I was worthy of healing and medical doctors who stayed with me as I navigated through the pain stored in my body, like detectives uncovering a decades- old cold case. There have been professionals who tried to serve me and soon found that I was beyond their expertise. I crossed paths with EMT’s who did not have a clue about how to “be” with me and psychologists who didn’t know how to support me in a brief 50 - minute session. I sought help from psychiatrists who determined that their diagnosis was undeniably correct and belittled me while I tried to understand their fancy words, always knowing in my heart that they were wrong.
Since the fall of 2009, I have been writing my memories. I am amazed at how I have healed; how I have restructured my neural pathways to serve me in making healthy confident choices. Every written word strengthens my resilience and determination to reclaim my life from child abuse.
With the current child abuse statistics in the United States, it is critical that our stories be heard. One in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys under the age of 18 are sexually abused.  While each story has its unique plot, the consequences to the victim are the same. Survivors hold similar feelings and those feelings lead to predictable actions.
The characters in my story camouflaged themselves in trustworthy roles. My Dad and his mother, my paternal grandmother played the demons. My Mom’s role was more intricately defined; she used denial as her director. After all these decades of healing from physical, emotional and sexual child abuse until I was 18, I realize that none of it was my fault.
It is significantly less painful to minimize the effects of my abuse. Comments like “It wasn’t so bad” hid the depth of my pain; maybe not from my professional support, maybe not from anyone else but me. If convincing myself that my abuse wasn’t so bad got me through the night or the month, then I was willing to discount the consequences.
I can say it now, and more importantly, that I was a sex slave. My paternal grandmother and Dad had a system to sell me, mostly on the weekends with a few summer weeknights added for extra cash. My first memory is when I was 3 years old. The last memory is when I was 18, when I graduated from high school and moved out of my parent’s house. There are many memories that fill my story, most are too horrific to revisit. I will say that people who pick up 15-year-olds off the streets at 1:00 AM are not nice people.
My commitment to sharing my experience is to speak the truth. I wish I could say my story is unique, so unique that no one would believe me if I shared it. But I know that is not the reality of our world.
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Parenting my inner child has been my most effective and rewarding tool. Learning about boundaries, trust, self-compassion and self-love (to name a few lost lessons) has had its ups and downs. Every lesson came with a mountain I was sure I could not climb. Countless times I told myself that I had gone as far as I could. And like fairy dust sprinkling courage over me, I found the strength to go on, bringing another victory to my soul.
Nothing about my journey to reclaim my life was easy. While I tried to shield the effects of my depression and Complex-PTSD from my children, it proved to be an impossible task. But as each generation is removed from the incestual habits from the past, I am relieved that I have stopped the evil secrets and lies.
None of the progress I made could have been done without support from professionals that became committed to my success. It was and remains a joint venture. However, in the end it was about my willingness to take back my life. I have distinct memories from childhood of telling myself: “there has to be more than this to life.” Writing my book, How to Love Yourself: The Hope After Child Abuse, and my dedication to my radio show, Conversations That Heal, provide a platform to share the possibilities of healing from any childhood trauma. Removing the shame from childhood trauma is a critical step to living a life you design, not one created around survival.
Survivors of childhood trauma, particularly sexual abuse, have already done the hard part. They survived the violation on their body and soul. Healing from that crime takes patience and compassion from all parties called to serve the survivor. The bottom line is we all hold the ability to reclaim our lives. It becomes a choice how much of a commitment we are ready to make and who we are willing to allow to support us.
About The Author
Susan Jacobi is an international advocate and spokesperson committed to shifting the global consciousness around childhood trauma. Ms. Jacobi is a healing mentor and host of the podcast, “Conversations That Heal.” The podcast provides a place to learn new alternatives for thinking, feeling and acting.
Susan is also a speaker and the author of How to Love Yourself: The Hope After Child Abuse, available on amazon. After healing from her own personal journey of 18 years of physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of family members, Susan hope is that by sharing her struggles and victories, she will inspire more survivors to do the same.
Susan offers private mentoring. You can learn more about Susan at her website, www.SusanJacobi.com or email her at susan [at] susanjacobi.com.
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