Last Updated on: January 26th, 2021
THIS IS A ‘TRUE TALES TUESDAYS’ POST
Most of this post was intended to be a guest post on The Gift Of Writing, but Claire didn’t think it fit her audience well, so I revised it and am sharing it with you since it is a true account of my views and experiences and also fits quite nicely with my True Tales Tuesdays posts! Besides, it was already written, and I didn’t want it to sit, unread, on my computer when it was meant to be read by others! 😉 Although it mentions a few personal things, it also speaks of a tragic event I endured – being raped.
I was raped when I was a virgin, two months before I turned 15. It took me years to deal with this, since I was devastated and didn’t speak about it for years. When I finally sought counselling, I learned several coping strategies. Writing was one of them.
I have always found writing to be therapeutic. Whenever I have to make a major decision, I make a pros/cons list and weigh my options. If my emotions are running rampant, or my thoughts are turbulent, I write out what I’m feeling and thinking. I get an indescribable sense of satisfaction from the mere act of taking pen to paper – even though we live in a technological era where computers and word processors are so much easier to use, especially in the editing process.
Editing, however, is not my focus when I’m writing. The act of writing is. I have written poetry, letters, short stories, essays, lists, and descriptive paragraphs, all by hand, the “old-fashioned” way, on paper, with a pen. Although I have written many things for others, most of my personal writing is never seen by anyone but me. Often my words and my feelings are so personal that I don’t want to share them with others. Perhaps it’s safer that way; if I share them, I’m subject to ridicule. Yet, if I don’t share them, no one knows what I have to say. I think many writers feel this way.
Of course, on the flip side, a possible positive consequence of sharing is receiving praise. I love praise, but don’t always think that I deserve it. I think this is because I have had so many negative experiences in my life, and have viewed myself as a failure in certain areas. One of these areas is parenting. I was not the best mother I could have been, although I tried hard to be perfect. My son ended up moving out when he was nineteen, just to get away from me. Of course, at the time, I was in a “dark” period of my life, and he wanted to teach me a lesson. He did, too, even though it took me a year or so to learn. Since my near-miss with death, I have regained contact with with him, and we now have a good relationship again. We’ve been working on it for the past year, and have made huge strides! He now tells me he loves me; I didn’t hear those words for a long time. I know that I am on the right track again, finally. We are both relieved.
I have been a single mother for the majority of my son’s life. I have always had issues with perfectionism and control. The first stemmed from being raised as the eldest of three children who was continually told that I had to “set an example for your brother and sister.” The second resulted from being raped when I was a teenager. I was a virgin when I was raped, two months before I turned fifteen. Being a single mother meant that I had to do everything, alone, with no help from anyone else. It was tough, too. The other day, my son I had a 3.5-hour discussion on whether or not he had a good childhood. He assured me he did. But his teen years were not the best.
Being vulnerable is something that most of us shy away from and avoid at all costs. I’m a bit different; I embrace it. Writing honestly is not something most of us do, but should, especially as a therapeutic aid. Accepting our shortcomings and loving ourselves for who we are is often difficult but can be extremely rewarding. Exposing our vulnerabilities is the first step we can take on our road to healing; I learned this when I was completing workbook exercises using The Courage To Heal books, which help a person deal with the effects of being sexually abused. Because writing and being honest with myself were two major components in my healing process, I was able to overcome many of the obstacles I was facing and find some semblance of closure in my life.
Writing has always been a huge part of my life. My mom taught me to write – literally, in cursive – before I started school. I can recall getting into trouble in the first grade when my six-year-old peers were learning to print. I was writing within one line, and they were struggling to print within two! I am forever indebted to my mother for teaching me to love words, to enjoy stringing them together, and to appreciate the creativity that lives within me. Crafting poetry is also something I do in my attempts to understand and deal with the waves of intense emotions that wash over me from time to time. Many of these are negative, and include devastation, anger, confusion, hatred, and self-pity. I have been involved with drugs, drinking, prostitution, and gambling in different periods of my life. Sometimes they overlapped with one another, too. However, I was able to turn my life around, and have been free of these things for the last few years. Pretty much, anyway.
Coping with the after-effects of abuse through writing has lessened my pain. Simply by writing down what I am feeling and thinking, I am able to dissect why I am feeling the way that I’m feeling and what caused me to feel that way. Years after being raped, I can now talk about it openly. After remaining silent for many years afterward, this is a huge stride for me. I should say that I did, eventually, seek professional counseling; it was my psychologist who taught me some of the coping strategies I use to deal with the pain. She also recommended The Courage To Heal books. These books consist of a regular book that includes stories from many different people who have experienced abuse and a workbook that is comprised of a variety of exercises for a survivor of abuse to complete. Many involve writing.
Using writing as a form of therapy makes sense for me since I love writing. However, even for those who don’t love writing as much as I do, it can make a world of difference. I highly recommend using writing as a therapeutic tool.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever used writing this way? Share your experiences in the comment section, please – if you feel comfortable enough to do so.
I’m here to listen.
38 thoughts on “Writing Is Therapeutic and Helped Me Cope With Being Raped”
I too tend to use my writing as some sort of therapy. It is great that you have found something that you love to do that has helped you through the toughest of times. You should be proud of how far you have come both in terms of dealing with such horribly issues and being a single mum (I will never understand how you can do it alone!).
Writing is so helpful! I have written tons of things, and finally I am able to share some of my thoughts and feelings with others. It really makes a difference knowing that I am not alone in my personal struggles.
Being a single mom was my choice, actually, but another story altogether. Perhaps I will write about it in one of my True Tales Tuesdays posts. 😉
Thanks for your support, Becc, here on my blog and on Google Plus. I’ve been going through emotional hell lately, as you know, and your words REALLY do help, if there is any doubt in your mind. Sometimes communicating with others is the best therapy there is – writing excluded! Those moments of connection are therapeutic, too!
Writing is such a wonderful way to assist you through a hard decision. I too also use writing to create pros and cons lists when faced with something. 🙂
Lists are definitely helpful to me, Susan, as they are to you and probably many others. 😉 But they do play an important part in making a decision, especially a big one!
WOW, you have gone through some awful stuff. The best part is you have come through it and are doing so very well. It just goes to show how you can rise above it all. The fact that you’ve found writing as a way to cope and a way to move forward is awesome. I heartily applaud you and wish you all the best in what ever you do.
Thanks, Susan. Yeah, I have been through the wringer a few times. The good part is that I was able to pull myself out. Writing and talking has helped. Thanks for the positive wishes! 😀
Wow, a powerful post and such an open one. You must be very proud of yourself, you’ve dealt with a lot and yet you remain open and engaged with the world around you.
Writing is something I have always found amazingly therapeutic and yet other than professionally, I had stayed away from it for years. It’s strange the ways we deny ourselves the things we love.
Debra, I have made mistakes in my life, but I am doing my best to learn from them. I’ve also been through a lot. Writing about my experiences here helps, for sure, in the healing process.
It’s good to see that you are embracing writing now. You sure write a lot on your blog! 😉 LOL
The cool thing is that you have a lot to say, too, and others learn from you. Keep it up!
Thank you! As always, I value your opinion.
You are so sweet and kind! I’m glad I met you, Debra.
Bless your heart Lorraine, sounds like you’ve had a difficult life my friend. I’m so sorry for all that you’ve had to go through. I’m always told there are lessons in there somewhere but I’ve had some pretty horrible things happen to me as well and I still don’t know what darn lesson I’m suppose to learn from that. Seriously! I was already a strong person so I doubt that was it.
I’ve never been one to write if you can believe that. I’ve written funny and cute poems from time to time but mostly for friends. I even had a friend ask me to write one for her boyfriend from her and I’ve done some for past boyfriends as well. Just something fun and silly but nothing to write home about. I never kept a diary because I felt my thoughts were private and I didn’t want someone reading it that shouldn’t and in my family that would have definitely happened.
I applaud you for sharing this Lorraine and I hope you feel better for having done this. Bravo to you and I know that your story will be inspiring for others who are either struggling with things in their lives right now or about moving forward and overcoming them all.
Thank you for your honesty.
Adrienne, thanks for your comment! I know I have had a rough go of things, but there are many other people out there worse off than me. I think a part of me wants to show them that they should learn to speak out, like I have, and tell their story…even though it is hard. I want to lead by example. It takes honesty to do that. Plus, writing really is therapeutic for me, and so some of my reasons for sharing are selfish – it helps me heal. I just hope others can learn from me.
Very touching post! You know i wonder how you can blog about these life events (i don’t like sharing personal things online :D) – but i am glad you do as this way we get to know you better every day (well, every Tue and Fri ;-)) – and learn how you have become the person you are today.
Like Donna, i found therapeutic writing as a result of a death. Not so much death but still – i lost my first-love-boyfriend to a car accident – we were 19. Funny thing is that i fund myself writing about bad things only – i do not write about the good things that happen to me; and i should – that is a way to show gratitude, isn’t it?
Diana, it doesn’t matter what you write about, the idea is to just write. It’s amazing what you will discover about yourself once you start writing. Thanks for sharing – and sorry about your loss. Most of us have been touched by death in some way or another.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way to show gratitude. Keeping a private journal is good for therapeutic writing.
Does this help clarify things for you?
Yes, thank you, Lorraine – always there to help, as usual 😉
I think I am going to have to tell Toby that he has competition; you and he are vying for “Lorraine’s Biggest Supporter” award! LOL You know I appreciate all that you do, Diana. I reciprocate, too, which you know. I am happy we are there for each other to support and encourage one another and spread the word on social media. 🙂
Let’s give ourselves – and Toby, the Fearless Leader – a big round of applause! Woot Woot!
thank you, Lorraine! let’s pretend i put here an emoticon for being honored and applauding – shall we? not that i am pretending to be honored, i am 😀 i am pretending to use an emoticon LOL
You are a sweetie, Diana. And you make me laugh! 😀
My first memories of my father are that of being sexually molested. At the time I was not in school yet and I knew that it happened before and it continued to happen. He wasn’t the only one and since there was no resources to get help I continued to be a victim. What it does is destroy self-esteem and you don’t know how to stand up for your rights. The people you should be able to trust are not trustworthy.
Years later when I was upset and at low points in my life I then wrote things down. Like you say for my eyes only. I would fold it up and put it away, may be 6 months later I would come across it and read. This allowed me to see that I was at really low and dark place. Then I was able to throw it away. I don’t have to do that much anymore as it has become healing and I know I can survive even those sad moments.
I started my website to cope with a job loss and although it did not go as planned, it has brought me to a whole new way of where I am going.
Mary, I am so sorry to hear about your abuse. When family is involved, it makes it that much worse. It’s good to know that writing has helped you, too.
The blogging community is really supportive, I have found. Have you found the same thing to be true?
I often find myself tongue-tied when I’m trying to explain something that is important to me. I think part of the problem is that many people have the tendency to interrupt, thinking they know what I’m talking about or know what I’m going to say next. As a way to get around this, I’ll write a letter to that person about the important things I want to say to him or her. It’s prevented many arguments.
That is an excellent strategy! Good for you for standing your ground. I hate it when others try to put words in my mouth, or attempt to finish my sentences!
I am *impressed* with this comment, Glynis. 😉
I have written letters to others, too, to unload my thoughts and feelings but never have I done so purely to avoid an argument.
Being tongue-tied is not unique to you. Many people get this way. My own sister stammers and stutters sometimes when she gets excited – her words cannot keep up to her thoughts and so she trips on her tongue. This is common, and so it helps for us to take deep breaths and think about what we are saying and not just what we want to say.
Wow, Lorraine, you have had a very tough life, but that is what has made you…who you are! I must admit, that I had a great childhood and adulthood, at least until I started getting old anyway and sometimes physical things going wrong, can’t be helped. Of course I’ve had other bad things happen, but not directly to me physically.
It was July 4th 1968 and my older sister’s 9th wedding anniversary. We had all went to watch the 4th of July parade. It was a beautiful day until my sister’s entire family was in a bad car accident. My brother-in-law and five year old nephew were killed. My sister, 6 month old niece, and 8 year old nephew were all hurt badly and in the hospital. I was 17.
I can’t begin to describe how I felt that day and even just writing about it now, makes my eyes sting. I had always been a writer and so, like you I had to write the details down. I still have the original notebook I wrote it in.
Two years later, May 2, 1970, my two older brothers, ages 33 and 23 were killed in another car accident. I wrote about that also and I still have all the details of that day in a notebook.
Writing is therapeutic, but I also write about the good things that happen, not just the bad, just like you do too. Hang in there and we’ll get through life’s pains together.
Donna, I am SO sorry to hear of the tragedy that has befallen your family. Death is horrific, and unexpected death, even more so, especially when it happens to those closest to you…
One of my son’s friends died in a car accident. He was a teenager. Of the three boys in the car, only one lived. The dual funeral took a toll on my son. It was probably one of the most difficult things my son had to deal with. I cannot even imagine what you went through. My heart goes out to you, Donna.
I can see how writing would help you cope and understand some of the stages of grief you endured. Wow. I’m practically at a loss of words here. I can feel your pain. And to have tragedies happen on or near such special, memorable occasions, too! Those are supposed to be happy memories, not ones filled with sadness! Again, I am so sorry to hear of this, and for triggering your bad memories. Please forgive me, and thank you so much for sharing such a personal story here. I am honoured.
Thanks Lorraine for your kind words and you are welcome. I thought since you shared, I should too. It’s okay, so please don’t feel bad.
Okay; it’s tough, though, to not feel bad when you have been through so much, too.
I appreciate that you shared. 🙂
Hello; I’m glad you decided to share the story instead of letting it gather dust on your hard drive. That is one of the down sides to guest posting. You may write an incredible post only to have the person you presented it to say it doesn’t fit within their guideline or the theme of their site or it just isn’t what they were hoping for. And I am amazed with your personal strength. Your story is inspiring. I noticed you have almost 2,000 people following your posts and i hope they all know how lucky they are that you decided to share even this much of your story with us. take care, max
Max, the nearly 2000 people include my Twitter followers, who don’t always read what I write. I think I have about 30 or 40 faithful readers, but I could be wrong. Many people don’t bother to comment. That’s okay, too. I also have to remember that this blog is less than one year old, and not a lot of people know about it. But half of what I write is meant as personal therapy. Having others read my words and hear my stories is just a big bonus. The fact that they want to read and hear makes me feel honoured, too.
Thanks for taking the time to comment; I am glad you worked out your previous commenting issues!
Um…How in the world did you see that number, anyway? 😉 I’d love to know!
Lorraine, Your words of wisdom have been used by others in similar situations, as a way of confronting their demons. Very therapeutic. I turn to prayer, and music, in order to relieve stress. Now that I have started writing, I find myself using this tool much more often. It is a great outlet, if used properly. No personal attacks, negative outbursts, etc. It should be utilized as you have, to nurture, encourage, and to bring out the best in others. You’re on the right track. Blessings.
Johnny, you bring up a great point. There ARE many other useful strategies people utilize to cope and aid in their healing process. Writing is only one of them. Prayer, meditation, support groups, music, counselling, exercising, and reading also come to mind. Writing is the one I focused on here because it helps me the most.
So far, I have not received any hate mail. I thought for sure the whole prostitution thing would bring some. Maybe it will in the future, since I plan on getting more into this in future posts. I am just scared, and so am broaching the subject in small bits here and there, like in this post and on my About page.
Your methods for dealing with your problems are great ones. Thanks for adding to the discussion here!
Lorraine, as you well know I have always found writing therapeutic, as a way to meet the darkness head on and so find a way to write my way out into the light. I have shared these thoughts on my blog in articles, prose and poetry and always when I am feeling quite emotional so by making myself so vulnerable I have taken a huge risk.
You have done the same, but you have found, as I have, that the support of others and your honesty has brought so much healing into your life and enabled you to grow into the lovely person that you are today. Never underestimate the power of forgiveness and God’s mercy. The God I believe in is the God of the second chance, and I know that from experience 😉
As with you, I started my blog back in January as a way to document my writing journey and I have been truly amazed at how I’ve felt led to share the things that I have, to date and the support that has come from that. I never expected it in a million years. I thought who would want to read the ramblings of a 50 something woman? How wrong I was!!
You have had a very tough life, I can’t relate to much of what you share here but I can to some of it, we all have our particular crosses to bear. My abusive step-father stole my childhood from me. I don’t know what happened to the person (I won’t say man) who raped you but more importantly, you suffered terribly but it is inspirational to others how you have overcome so much, and not easily and are here now sharing your story with others to tell them that they are not alone. Neither are you 🙂
Funny, at the exact same time you were reading this, I was reading your recent post on writing (the one with the “power” poem). I can clearly see that writing is a form of therapy for you, too.
As far as my rape goes, he was an older friend of an older friend. (I discuss this more in detail in my book about my life that I am writing, which I have been working on this month!) I thought I could trust him. I was wrong.
We all have stories/experiences, and can learn from them, and from each other. You never know what others want to read…
Age doesn’t seem to matter, either…the important thing is that we tell our stories!
I am sorry for what your step-monster did to you, too. No one deserves that.
Know that you’re not alone, either, Sherri. 🙂
Ahh, thanks so much Lorraine!
Yes, I’m sure that you are finding writing your book very therapeutic. I am doing the same but writing about a different time that doesn’t involve step-monster (great name btw!).
I for one look forward to reading your book and I certainly wish you every success with it 🙂
Yeah, thought you would like that name! 🙂 We have to make the most of our situations, don’t we? I had a friend who had one of those, too. He was repeated raped by his mom’s new hubby, and when he told his mom (eventually, finally), she didn’t believe him and sided with the guy. Ugh. In my upcoming ebook, The Day Adam Saw Red loosely tells his tale. I’m still editing this ebook, but would like you to vote on a possible cover.
It’s going to be awhile before I finish my books, but since you are following my blog, you’ll be kept in the loop! 😉
Thanks, Sherri, for your support. I am so glad we are getting to know one another!
This is the best post you could ever write. It is so open and honest and I really admire you for going through all of that and changing your life for the better.I agree that writing is therapeutic. I write to communicate my feeling and thoughts, because I feel no one listens, when I talk, I congratulate you on having the courage to tell your story…AND it has a happy ending!
The roughest roads we traverse in life can be made less rough by using writing as a therapeutic tool, in my opinion. Having the courage to try to identify problems is helpful, too, and writing things out for us to see in black and white often provide us clarity. I am happy to hear that writing aids you in this process, too.
Being open and honest is so much better than lying or pretending you’re something you’re not. I really hate pretentious people! Each of us is human and have faults, to some degree. Some of us have had a rougher time than others, too, and I know that there are others who have had it much worse than me. I am grateful for what I have endured, now, since I can understand myself that much more.
Writing has definitely helped me in my healing process. It is still helping, too.
Speaking out about my experiences is empowering. I don’t care if I am judged, either, for the things I have done or been through. I’m glad you see me in a positive light, Jo Ann, and think I am courageous. It warms my heart to know you’re not a “hater” but a “lover”.
I am always here to listen, too. Feel free to share some of your struggles here. Why do you feel no one listens to you when you talk? What makes you think this?
Thank you for sharing this Lorraine. Words of great value spoken from the soul. You’ve had a tough life and I am glad that writing has been such a positive therapy. My life has been privileged although now I struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, and writing is an essential part of my therapy. Good luck with your writing.
Roland, I appreciate your comment and good wishes. Coping has gotten much easier with the passage of time and counselling. Writing has helped me tremendously.
Living with MS must be tough. It is great to hear that writing is also therapeutic to you!