by Teresa Joyce, NAASCA representative in the United Kingdom
Nature never fails to surround us, if we only take the time to look at its beauty. At times, it can leave us breathless. But what is often overlooked is its healing property. Within the physical world, we are met by such things as the diversity of the plants, the wild animals living alongside us, the majestic stance of the mountains, and the oceans reaching out so much farther into the distance than our vision allows.
The stars which tap into our imagination as we ponder, is there life out there? As they twinkle within that black canvas, our questions go unanswered. This beauty which persists despite human intervention and disturbance.
Mother Nature is the common personification of that nature, and within it sits a horde of nurturing aspects that we can all tap into if we so choose. It allows us to feel held within its energy and to look past the pain that child abuse inflicts. For some, to be within nature is so crucial, when the conventional way of healing just doesn't work for them. Allowing us to feel its freedom within, and providing a place in which to put down that pain, when it's just too heavy to hold.
That feeling of the warmth received whilst within it, a warm blanket which seems to reiterate that survival is possible against the odds.
Then we have human nature, which identifies our species uniquely, and relates to who we are as beings within our mental gymnastics. Our physical appearance, our spiritual characteristics, and our judgement, which sets us apart from all other warm-blooded mammals. In total, it's the primary container which is essentially there to carry that description. Basic human nature can't be changed from the description above, but essentially, there are many circumstances in which it can be altered, by how we or others behave. To understand human nature is to grasp the essence of what being human means, and how it's typically understood.
Natural forces will always contribute towards that which is within our world and the way a person or animal behaves. As human beings, we contribute within that nature, whether or not we would like to see ourselves as a separate category. Within nature, sexual abuse is never present; it sits squarely within a margin of the human race, and those who divulge in such depravity. In this instance, we are transported towards the inhuman nature of some, and the life-shattering alteration of that nature that has been imposed upon an innocent.
For an adult child abuse survivor, nature can greatly help reduce such things as depression. It improves psychological well-being and it benefits our cognition. Nature has so much to give, if we work within its beauty. It involves positivity, it gives us that feeling of freedom. There is something about nature that is quietly contagious within its majestic view, which in turn aids us within our efforts of calming the mind.
For a child within sexual abuse, their surroundings would have always been bleak. The view from their window of life mattered not, seasons would have seemed as if they never altered. It was always raining no matter the weather forecast; the sun would have always seemed to shine elsewhere. The beauty of each flower which adorned their surrounding would have been lost to them, the leaves from the trees would have always seemed as if falling year-round. The clouds above them would have always been dark and brimmed with gloom, the riverbank would have always been tousled within that storm and continually breaching its bank.
Life itself could be nothing other than stormy, with the wind without fail ripping its way throughout their agonising life's journey. There would have been no shelter from that storm and its nature, which held something far less than beauty. A child abuse recovering adult will hold a very different insight into nature; their insight would have been that of inhuman nature, which still resides within that dark and desperate place. Inhuman nature, placed there so extensively, and the nature in which they found themselves subjected.
It was that internal nature that would have seemed as always constant: their lives entwined within a tornado of huge magnification, which only seemed to increase in ferocity daily. It was the only nature which had consumed their life, and what was happening externally? Well, that would have been a view that was lost to them. Inhuman nature, it would seem for many, has an awful lot to answer for and, if believed, there should be a special place in hell just waiting for their abuser's arrival.
For a child abuse recovering adult that inhuman nature will still sit within, no matter how much they play with the word “nature,” and its interpretation. It's difficult to find your way back whilst lost within a troubling nature when you have no clue as to where it will end, and when the forecast is interchangeable. But there is a need for us to remember here, for every one of those adult abused survivors there truly is a way back. A way back to that nature of a different kind and the beauty of their surroundings. But to do so freely, they first have to find their way back from the inhuman nature that they were subjected to as children.
How can you appreciate the wonders around you when your eyes have never been open? When you're locked in a place without joy? When your mind is so full of pain, and every day is just another to try and live through? In all truth, adult abuse survivors can never fully leave behind the wreckage which dominated their life; they can only endeavour to find a way in which to live with it, which is all-consuming. In every direction in which they turn they are pulled back within the storm, which is so full of agonising memories. Sadly, all that nature holds and its beauty is going unseen. In time, that appreciation within each season, the wonder that each one brings, will be recognised. Yes, the storm may well arrive, but it's knowing when it will pass which is so important.
In time, they will all find a way to walk towards the sun, a way to watch the leaves falling from the trees, as they are playfully tossed and dance within the wind. Be able to gaze at the mountains in awe and to appreciate the distant horizon. To sit and absorb the ocean, so extremely vast, as the surf crashes against the shore. As the sun sets within its array of variance before them, they will, at last, find their inner peace. These transitions on arrival will occur within their mind's eye as never before being experienced. Simply put, until they can escape from that storm inside within recognition, sadly, their eyes will metaphorically remain closed. Until that time, nothing which is external will feel remotely possible for them to alter.
To appreciate nature is not always a glance out of the window, or a walk in the park when their view never alters deep inside. When their soul is gripped from within by inhuman nature, it's extremely difficult, to value nature within any narrative. Until they can find the strength to no longer accept that inhuman nature's legacy, and to fight back against their abuse, that inhuman choice and direction will always be made for them. To be within that storm and the ravage it creates is indescribable, but there is a way to finally walk towards the sun if you don't mind your head getting wet in the process. In truth, the most difficult part is in the search for the umbrella, and to apply the strength in which to open it for the first time. Being sexually abused as children and now finding themselves in adult recovery is a scary prospect.
For the many onlookers of this world, they can seem as if broken, that somehow, a way must be found in which to fix them, but that assemblage they will need to arrange alone. We can offer the tools in which to help with its construction, but the strength in which to use them will always lie deep within that present fragile soul. A soul that is fragmented and pulverised to such a degree, that finding all the pieces lost within the storm will take time to achieve. It's somewhat difficult to understand the struggle that takes place within the mind of a child abuse survivor. It's a place in which they alone can only ever completely preside, no matter our good intentions. It's the place where the nature of another still remains hidden within the shadows, and in truth, it's a worrying trend. But a day will come where their view of nature, in all aspects of it, will be their own, to be free within the understanding of the inhuman act that was placed upon them with clear vision.
Nature should always be natural, and there is nothing remotely natural, within the abuse of children.