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Support Comes In All Shapes and Sizes

Updated: May 14, 2023

As survivors, we are strong, brave, courageous and resilient human beings who have been to hell and back and there are many things we each can say that have been what has gotten us through the roughest spaces in our walk to wholeness.

In February I spoke at An Infinite Mind Conference and mentioned how if it wasn’t for my husband I know that I wouldn’t be here.

Whether it is God, your spouse, therapist, a supportive friend, pet, hobby, journaling, art or yourself, there are many people and things that have been put in our lives that we can say if it wasn’t for _____________ I don’t know how I would have made it or I know I wouldn’t be here.

Last month I received the evaluations with what those who had attended thought of my presentation. I was grateful that almost every review was positive and that those who heard my presentation were touched, or needed to hear what I had to say and were inspired by the hope that I shared. I know from having an audience on social media that not everyone is going to like me or everything that I have to say. We are all unique human beings with different thoughts, opinions, and feelings and I celebrate the diversity we all have. .

However, I was taken back by an evaluation that said, “"I’ve grown tired in this conference of speakers belaboring the praise of their spouses. I’ve never heard the idea ‘I’d never have healed/survived without my husband’ repeated so many times. It sends a not so subtle message that that is the only way to heal. I’m sick of it. "

The ONLY reason I am writing about this is because of what I felt as a result, AND because I want to celebrate all survivors and the strength and resilience each of them possess, and acknowledge the bravery and victory each survivor has in their journey with or without a spouse.

I only read the comment once but surprisingly I felt guilt rushing forward as if I was supposed to have not said what I said or that it was a bad thing to have a husband who supported me for 34 years and who helped me to get through some of the hardest years of my life… and what is wrong with others having a supportive husband and saying that as well?

I won’t apologize for making a statement that was true for me. I would not have survived in the first place if God had not created our brain to be able to split off into compartments with amazing identities who could take the abuse until we are ready to handle facing it all. I would not have survived if God had not put other supportive people in my life but my husband was the one who stood by me during some of the most crucial times in my life and didn’t give up on me . Not once did he ever say he didn’t believe me or question the validity of my memories. My entire family of origin turned their back on me and my own mother said that I had false memory syndrome. Even when he and I did not understand what was happening to me and why I had such terrible effects and symptoms he didn’t bail on me or turn away from me.

The hope that I shared at the conference was what got me through thus far and was so much more than just my husband. My husband was the first man in my life who showed me what genuine love was so that I could then go on and have a relationship with God. The hope I found was finding out that I wasn’t alone in having gone through RA/MC and that there were other survivors out there. It was meeting others and hearing their stories that were similar to mine. It was finding and connecting with other survivors who were speaking out and were still alive. And most of all it was God Himself who gave me the strength to carry on and who carried me through things that no person could have. My husband was a big part of my recovery, but it took having something even Greater than any human being and the hope that comes from Him for me to get where I am in my journey to the other side of darkness. If you want to listen to my presentation, you can click on the title: Sharri Shines: Coming Out on the Other Side of the Darkness.

In mentioning my husband at the conference, I in no way wanted to put a message out there that this is the only way to heal. There are many people who are single and have never been married who have had much healing and integration. But I do know that we all were created for connection and relationship. Abuse happens in the context of an intimate relationship. Healing happens best in the context of a relationship. Even if the only person you are in relationship with are the marvelous people residing inside of you. The relationship we have with our parts/alters are so important for healing. Connecting with them and accepting and loving them is the way to wholeness and possible integration.

If you have dissociative identity you have some heroes dwelling inside of you that did what they had to do to make it and if you are on your recovery journey you are on an amazing journey of self discovery connecting with your inner people who know what happened and who are the parts of you who have the hope of being more whole and finding your you! If you have DID I’m sure that you have some heroes inside of you!

Whatever it is that you would put in the blank of the following statement, "If it wasn’t for _____________ I don’t know how I would have made it or I know I wouldn’t be here" I celebrate your victory with you!

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