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The 4 Most Important Ways To Help Survivors Heal

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 7, 2018 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes it can be tough for those who have not been through abuse to know what to say or do to help those who have been abused. Often the thought that crosses a person’s mind is “well since I haven’t been through it or I haven’t been there in my own life, then is there really anything I can do to help or make a difference?” To me the answer is always yes, there is always something you can do to help someone, whether or not you have been through it yourself in your own life. I believe in some way we can all relate to each other because if you think about it, everyone is a survivor in life for we’ve all been through our own share of pain and had our own share of heartache at one time or another. Yes, we all have different stories to tell because we all come from different backgrounds but that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other to heal from the things we have endured in our lives. Below are the four most important ways that I think one can do to help a survivor heal.

  1. Listen to us. We are not always looking for advice on how to deal with situations we are going through or have been through. Sometimes no words are necessary when it comes to us telling you what we have overcome and what we have survived. It isn’t easy to talk about the abuse, so when we come to you, needing to talk, what we are actually wanting is for you to listen while we talk about it. We want to know that you are listening to us because after living in silence for so long, we need to know that our voice is being heard. Sometimes listening is the best thing you can do for us because when we see that you are listening, it encourages us to open up more and share what we have kept hidden away and buried for a long time.
  2. Be there for us. For most of us survivors, the silence we lived in and abuse we endured made us feel isolated and alone. During those dark times in our lives we did not have anyone there for us for we were afraid to talk about it or we didn’t know who to go to or where to turn for help. It takes so much courage on our part to come out and say how we feel as we express ourselves. Trust does not always come easy for us so when we do take that chance to finally come forth and let you know what we are feeling, we want to know that you are going to be there for us no matter what. The last thing we want is for you to walk out and leave when you find out the things that happened to us.
  3. Support us. It is so important for us to know we have the support of our family, friends, and loved ones as we fight these challenging battles we face. Even though we are survivors and no longer victims, we still are affected in different ways by the aftermath of the abuse. Not all scars are visible and there are so many emotional scars we bear on the inside. There are so many memories we have from those traumatic experiences. We don’t always want to hear to stay strong when we go through difficult times. Nor do we always want to hear how strong we are for having survived what we did. We know we are strong because it took so much strength for us to break free and begin a new life for ourselves. Sometimes though we have those times where we fall apart, where we feel lost and alone, where we are hurting more than you know, and it’s in those times that we need you to be strong for us. It’s your love and support that helps strengthen us again as we build ourselves back up. It is your love and support that gives us hope to keep holding on for it’s from your love and support you show we are reminded that we are worth fighting for and that life does get better. Don’t tell us to get over it but help us to get through it.
  4. Last but not least, believe us! We really need to know that you believe us. Often our stories go untold and voices go unheard because we feel that no one will believe us if we come forward with the truth about what happened. It’s a huge risk we take in exposing that fragile side of ourselves and making ourselves vulnerable in shattering our silence and confiding in you. We don’t want that trust betrayed where we feel we are being judged and being the ones put on trial for a crime committed against us that was never our fault. Society labels us enough as it is, treating us as if something is wrong with us and doubting us on the validity of our stories. We want to know that you are on our side, that you don’t doubt us, and that you believe us.

As survivors we go through so much more than people realize. We fight battles that others don’t know about. We face challenges that we have to work hard to overcome and we have our good days and our bad days. But being a survivor doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with us. It just means we have survived, suffered, and endured pain from tragedies that changed our lives in ways we never expected. When we have people in our lives who listen to us, who are there for us, who support us and who believe us, it does make a huge difference to us for we know that we are not alone and we don’t have to get through this on our own, either. Instead we find hope again that we will be all right and everything will be okay again because we know we have people in our lives who truly do love us and care about us which is more than enough to help us begin to heal more. Your love, compassion, care, and understanding is what helps to put back together the broken pieces of our hearts.

Jenna Kandyce Linch

Stay Awhile

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 7, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

So many memories play through your mind

Remnants of a past you thought you left behind.

All those secrets kept hidden and buried

As alone the truth inside you carried.

You look at the scars on your skin

Reminders of the pain you released from within.

No one ever told you it wasn’t your fault so you felt the shame

Just another face to them, they didn’t know the story behind your name.

Life caused you to grow up too fast

In a horror movie you felt you’d been recast.

You tried to speak out but your voice went unheard

Believing you were to blame, your heart you emotionally tortured.

People left when you needed them the most

In their absence remained the memory of their ghost.

Why couldn’t and wouldn’t they love you

Was it because who you were was too much to handle that from you they withdrew.

What did they truly have to gain

From hurting you and causing you so much suffering and pain.

Now in the darkness you fight to survive

Searching for a reason to stay alive.

I’ve been there in that place

Wishing the past I could erase.

Sometimes I wondered why in that life I had to exist

But if I had not lived through it a better future I would have missed.

Many times I struggled to understand why these things happened

It was as if this was a nightmare from which I couldn’t be awakened.

Every battle fought seemed that much more intense

Of just what good could come from all this I couldn’t make sense.

But something good did come from my pain

I found courage in the strength I started to regain.

From that courage I overcame the struggles faced

In each victory, restored in me was the confidence I had misplaced.

I had to look beyond who I used to be

So the woman I am I could begin to really see.

I couldn’t have become the me today if I had not been that me first

The girl from yesterday paved the way for the woman I am today by having survived the worst.

Life isn’t about ripping out the pages of our past

It’s turning the page forward to find out how the next chapters compare and contrast.

Your story still waits to be lived and told

Onto hope for a better life don’t let go of but continue to hold.

You are more than enough and someone worth believing in

Inside your heart your source of strength can be found within.

This life still has so much more waiting for you

So stay awhile because to this life you give meaning and add value.

‘Stay Awhile’ Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

Thought of the Day: Fear's Greatest Enemy

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 7, 2018 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

If fear has something to be afraid of then I believe it's hope because it's hope that gives one the courage to be brave enough to face fear and fight it head on for it's hope that keeps the fire burning within as it motivates and inspires confidence in oneself.

Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

But I'm Still Me

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 5, 2018 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I sat in the waiting room, looking down at the paperwork in front of me, wondering how I was going to get through some of the questions on the form. Before now, I had never thought I needed counseling because I had always managed to be the type of person who fought my own battles, hid my emotions, and locked that part away so no one could see the fragile side of me. I could smile and make everyone around me believe nothing was wrong, that I was fine for if it was one lesson I had learned in life, it was to bury away secrets of my past and remain silent about the scars I bore from the aftermath of the battles I had fought and somehow survived. Sitting here at the rape crisis center, going through the questions to answer for the forms I had to fill out, I suddenly found myself feeling all those emotions I thought I had managed to ignore and push away for good.

If I thought filling out the forms was hard, my whole interview at my intake session proved to be even tougher. I was asked questions about my past and things such as the domestic violence I went through in my previous marriage, my battle with self-infliction, my suicide attempt at 23, along with the night I was sexually assaulted by my ex-boyfriend 6 years ago, came up. I found myself being forced to confront emotions I had not dared expressed out loud about how I felt about what had happened and the war I had been fighting against my own self for the past 6 years. That war being the one with the girl in the mirror, the one I always looked at and despised, hated, wished I could change or hide out of my sight for good because every time I looked at her she reminded me of the pain I felt from what happened that night 6 years ago.

I had always been viewed as this incredibly strong person by everyone around me and as a result of always being told “You got this, you’re strong, stay strong, be strong,” etc., I tried to continue to maintain that whole strong, invincible persona. My thoughts were if I let my guard down for one moment, then people would see right through me and see how fragile the girl on the inside really was. To me, if I exposed that side of me by sharing my true emotions and feelings, then I was exposing not just my fragility but also my vulnerability. Then people would think less of me and suddenly this very strong person they thought I was would be seen as a fraud, as someone weak, or at least that is what my mind told me.

I think because my report had been ignored by the Escambia County Sherriff’s Office 3 years ago when I had finally broken my silence and reported what happened to me upon finding out my ex-boyfriend had been arrested for sexually assaulting an 8 year old child, and because they never bothered to take it seriously or get back with me, I thought that I might as well just forget about it all together. That what happened to me didn’t matter after all and I should just get over it. Thus I did my best to pretend that nothing was wrong, that it was no big deal, when in fact it was a big deal and it did matter because beneath those scars I was left with were screams the silence was covering up and wounds that ran so much deeper. For so long I had lived in my own emotional prison because of the pain I was holding onto and living in from that night in 2011. I had pushed away loved ones, friends, family, and I had been punishing and judging myself all these years, believing that if people knew the real me, if they could see beyond those scars, then they would see and think of me as someone completely different, viewing me in a different way. The last thing I wanted was people to look at me with pity or see me as someone broken and damaged and think that I wasn’t the person I’ve always been or the one they had always known.

I didn’t want to feel differently about who I was due to what I had survived. But the pain I felt inside did anything except numb those feelings and emotions that were still there within me. If anything, the more I kept quiet, the more I tried to fight battles on my own, the more the pain intensified those feelings, bringing them to the surface, challenging me in its own way to confront them rather than ignore what I felt. My heart had been locked away along with all those untold secrets and unspoken words because I thought that no one could love me for me, the girl who had been used and thrown away in life, and when I looked in the mirror at the girl staring back at me, I wondered sometimes if she could ever know love and happiness again in her own life or if she was just too far gone.

As I sat in the room talking to a counselor and going over the forms, having my intake session interview, I think something inside me began to break. Those walls started to come down a little bit. They didn’t fall down right away but a dent had been made in those walls. A couple weeks after finding out I had been accepted as a client to receive counseling services at the rape crisis center, I went to see the movie The Shack. It was during the movie The Shack, a movie about forgiveness, love, and letting go, that the walls finally came down. I went away from watching The Shack feeling completely different on the inside because after watching it, I realized that God does not see a scarred, broken, damaged person when He looks at me but He sees the beautiful person He created.

My past didn’t leave the chance of a better future in complete destruction but instead, my life is under construction from the pieces being put back together again to build a more beautiful life that will give me a better future. What I went through doesn’t mean nothing, it does mean something but it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to know love or happiness again. Yes, everything I survived changed me in some way, but it didn’t change the person I am or always have been. The people who hurt me could never take away who I was and they’ll never be able to take from me who I am. I may have my scars, but at the end of the day, after all I have been through, I am still me and part of being me are the challenges I face, the battles I fight, and the struggles I go through but that doesn’t make me any less of who I am and have been. It doesn’t mean I struggle with who I am; it only means sometimes I have to fight harder to overcome obstacles in order to rise above them. I’m not broken, I’m not damaged, I’m not too far gone, I’m not ruined or destroyed, but I am that girl in the mirror, the girl who is inside me, the one who is worthy of love and the one who will know what love is because I love her and I am happy to be her, proud of her and not ashamed to say that she is me and I am her.

If You Could Only See

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 5, 2018 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Looking in the mirror you see nothing but a shattered reflection

The image there is distorted beyond all recognition.

Here and there are pieces that have been broken

Left behind from the past as a remaining token.

What you would give to just forget

To erase every memory of a cruel fate you met.

Yet the scars remain and the memories last forever

With all your strength, overcoming these challenges you endeavor.

In your time of need you wonder where everyone went

Shielding them from your pain, outside the walls of your heart them you sent.

Could they handle the truth if they knew

Would they even understand the war inside you that’s begun to brew.

Hiding your feelings, your emotions stay invisible

You don’t want to risk being viewed as vulnerable.

You start to wonder if on the wrong side of life you were born

Because from you, you’ve seen every dream torn.

To protect your heart, around it walls you’ve built

But those walls don’t always keep out feelings of shame and guilt.

Is there anything more left to this fight

When you’ve only known darkness, sometimes it’s hard to find the light.

Yourself you harshly judge and criticize

As every scar, flaw and imperfection you scrutinize.

Into someone else you wish you could change

As those broken pieces you attempt to rearrange.

You never asked for any of this to happen

About who you are it left you feeling uncertain.

A battle against yourself you have fought

No one ever asked you what you wanted or thought.

The person in the mirror you don’t need to erase

Because you are not a disgrace.

Beneath the surface lies so much more

For it is bravery and courage that can be found at your heart’s core.

You are more than the scars you bear

Of your own beauty you’re not even aware.

Like a diamond, the struggles you underwent polished you to shine

Who you are the past does not define.

Look beyond the reflection staring back

Your future the past couldn’t ransack.

This life you have is far from finished

So the person within you by you should be cherished.

You are worthy of your own love

To the side yourself don’t shove.

No matter what you’ve been through, you’re still you

The only thing that changed is how much stronger from it you grew.

You are beautiful just the way you are

Have confidence in being who you are and the belief in yourself will take you far.

If you could only see who you have yet to become and what your life has in store

You’d see someone extraordinary destined to live an even better life than before.

‘If You Could Only See’ Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

Thought of the Day: Supporting Each Other

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 5, 2018 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I think support is one of the best things we can give someone else during hard times because it's that support that tells them, hey you're not alone in what you are going through, I'm there for you because we are in this together. It's that support that not only shows someone they don't have to face things alone but lets them know that they don't have to fight those battles by themselves, either because there are those who are standing right next to them on that battlefield, fighting with them to help them make it through those challenges and struggles, and giving them the hope and courage they need to keep holding on for they know that those standing next to them and supporting them are the ones who won't let them go.

Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch


Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 4, 2018 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I stood in front of you today

Remembering how from you I wanted to run away.

So many secrets for me you kept hidden inside

While covering up with a smile the tears you silently cried.

To me you were a reminder of memories I wanted to forget

Looking at you, I only saw the reflection of a broken silhouette.

I blamed you for things that happened

Thinking they had left you weakened.

Instead of building you up I tore you down more

What you were feeling I chose to ignore.

I should’ve been your best friend but I became your worst enemy

How those who hurt you saw you was all I could see.

Everything about you I wanted to change

As parts of you I tried to rearrange.

Someone else I wished you could be

For I didn’t want to be living this story.

Yet within me you continued to fight

Knowing more to this story we had to write.

Your voice shattered the silence

Releasing me from the past’s painful sentence.

The belief in me was stronger than any doubt

As your light showed me the way out.

From the darkness I emerged someone more determined

Knowing for something greater I was destined.

Beneath every scar there’s beauty to be found

Each one tells of the courage it’s taken to fight on life’s battleground.

To the past I refuse to surrender

What should’ve destroyed me made me stronger.

When I look at you in the mirror I see so much more

You’re my hope for living a better life than before.

I’m proud of the person you’ve become

Not one to give up, you climbed your way up from the bottom.

Where the past ends the future does begin

Another chance I’m giving the girl within.

What comes next I may not know

But my own heart I’m willing to follow.

To the girl in the mirror you’re shatterproof not broken

Above so many challenges you’ve risen.

Now putting the pieces together, I see and love the real you

You are unbreakable for having survived everything you’ve been through.

This life is truly worth living

Believing in myself again, my all I’m giving.

I know I’m not who I was before

The past is only a part of this story because to me there’s so much more.

‘Shatterproof’ by Jenna Kandyce Linch

To The Girl I Used To Be From The Woman I've Become

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 4, 2018 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

To the girl I used to be,

Right now I know you’re hurting, that you’re scared, and you’re wondering how you are going to get through all this pain that you are feeling inside. Inside your heart feels as if it is breaking into a million pieces and secrets buried inside you are tearing you apart. No one knows about the tears you cry when you are alone or how you break down when no one is around. All they see is that beautiful smile of yours that hides it all so well. This isn’t how you saw your life going. You never asked for any of this to happen to you nor did you ever imagine it would happen to you. All you want is a happily ever after, not a nightmare where people you thought you could trust hurt you, used you, broke you down and tried to destroy you to where there was nothing left. The scattered pieces of your heart lay on the floor before you, remnants of the aftermath of the abuse they put you through. Now sitting alone the thoughts running through your mind are ones of how you could have made things better or what you could have done differently to keep their love from turning into hate and rage taken out on you.

Replaying those scenes in your mind, hearing every word they told you echoing in your brain, you try to shut it out as you wish for a way to escape from their voices taunting you and their memories haunting you. You close your eyes, thinking please let this be over with, please let me be free from this, let me wake up from the nightmare inside me. I know the emotional pain you are feeling will soon be taken out on yourself through punishment self-inflicted upon your skin because you would rather feel that physical pain then to feel the emotional pain you are going through. You want to forget that these things happened to you but the demons from the past just won’t go away. Your life has become a prison sentence in which you want to be freed from and the battle you are fighting is leaving you tired and exhausted.

Inside you are screaming, wanting to be heard. But where do you begin in talking about the secrets of the past when for so long you have kept them to yourself. Looking in the mirror, your reflection is of someone you wish you weren’t and someone you don’t want to be for she reminds you of things that happened to you that you couldn’t stop and had no control over. She’s become a stranger to you and sadly you have become her worst enemy as you fight this war on loving who you are.

Oh how I wish I could go back into time, give you a big hug, and tell you that you have so much more to live for. How I wish I could show you who you are to become in your life later on and the things you will go on to accomplish. I would hold up a different mirror for you, one that shows you how strong, brave, and courageous you are and I would let you know that you don’t have to be ashamed of those scars you bear. You don’t have to keep those secrets burning inside you and you don’t have to hate yourself for what they did to you.

To the girl inside me, from the woman I’ve become, your life does get better. All the struggles you have gone through, all the pain you’ve endured, the battles you have fought, and the challenges you have overcome are preparing you to be who I am today. I know you don’t know it now, but everything is going to be okay. Do not hate yourself or blame yourself because it was never your fault. Instead take this life you have and make it into something even better and more beautiful from those pieces of the past.

If you could only see what this life has in store for you and who you are to become, I know you would love yourself again and you would see the best is still yet to come. You are so much stronger than you know and believe me, the people you meet later on in your life who want to be and will be there for you, the ones who will be your biggest source of encouragement and support you the most through the good and the bad times, see how special you are and love you for who you are because they see everything inside you that makes you the wonderful person you are. Lean on them and let them be there for you rather than shutting the world out because there are some very beautiful people in this life that will make your life more beautiful by being in it. They will bring out the best in you because they want the best for you.

To the girl I used to be, please don’t give up on yourself, on love, or on happiness. Continue to believe, continue to fight and continue to hold on. You will find that even though your story may not have started out as a fairy tale doesn’t mean that it ends in disaster, either. Turn the page forward to see what comes next because I know that you’ll find what comes next is even better than what came before. From the woman you become later on in life, take it from me when I say your story is just beginning but nowhere near ending.

Thought of the Day: There's A Superhero In Us All

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 4, 2018 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I think there's a little superhero in all of us because we all have special abilities and gifts that we contribute from being who we are and it's in being who we are that not only changes the world but changes and makes a difference in the lives of those around us. When we use the special abilities and gifts we have to make a difference, we turn an ordinary life into something even more extraordinary as we inspire, motivate and empower others from the hope that we give them.

Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

Story In The Scars

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 3, 2018 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

*I wrote this for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it describes what I went through during my previous abusive marriage 11 years ago. I remember how I would self inflict to release the emotional pain I felt on the inside and it was also in a way a form of self punishment because I thought I was to blame for the abuse that my ex husband put me through. I can’t even describe what went on in my previous marriage or the pain I felt because I don’t think that time in my life can be put into words. I just know that I found the courage and strength to leave and I am thankful that I survived and went on to build a better life for myself.

In the mirror, she looks at her scars, remembering every battle fought

Such cruel, painful lessons the past taught.

Imprisoned within the sound of silence she had remained trapped

Living a life of brutality that hell had mapped.

At times she wondered if she would ever see the light

For somehow love she once knew turned into a violent fight.

Never was she near to being good enough

Trying to achieve perfection became too tough.

Bits and pieces of a breaking heart were re-arranged

A stranger to herself she became as from the pain her image changed.

Tears were hidden well out of sight

As she tried to mend broken wings too damaged for flight.

How did it get to this when this wasn’t how it was supposed to be

Where hate she felt suddenly transformed her into her own worst enemy.

Her only emotional release came from the marks she placed upon her skin

For the toughest battles were the ones she found herself fighting within.

Sometimes she thought maybe a chance at a better life was too far gone

Yet her heart told her that in this misery she couldn’t continue to go on.

This agony was not for her to forever bear

Starting over, she’d have to find the strength on her own to fare.

As she looks at her scars, she knows the courage it took to leave

To once again believe that a life of happiness she deserved to receive.

It took being brave to begin again and rebuild

But from the will to survive, hope inside her was instilled.

To overcome those challenges was no easy, small feat

Fear in facing the unknown she first had to beat.

However, it was being afraid that made her so strong

Giving her the courage to finally create for herself the life in which she did belong.

The fight for her had to be greater than the fight she faced

Her victory and freedom came when who she was she fully embraced.

In having been a victim, knowing she wasn’t to blame, she felt no shame

But in becoming a survivor, her life she went on to reclaim.


No one said this journey would be a simple one

It’s always worth it though when for yourself a new life you’ve begun.

She didn’t know how far she could go until she took one step forward

In that moment of faith, her own voice she again heard.

These scars she can’t erase

They remind her now of the victory she’s won from the obstacles she had to face.

It’s not by how she obtained the scars that she’s defined

She’s defined by the story in the scars that tell who she’s become from the strength and courage to leave that life behind.

‘Story In The Scars’ Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch