Healing and recovering from the bonds of trauma is possible. The path to healing is paved with changing the way you think about yourself (moving from seeing yourself as broken to seeing yourself as whole)!
As a sexual abuse survivor you often struggle with feeling broken. This broken feeling is hard to describe to others, so you keep it to yourself, not wanting to be seen as a problem. But deep down you feel like something is wrong with you. Your memories feel jumbled. You experience intense emotions that are sometimes overwhelming. At times you feel happy and hopeful, while other times you feel so low you can't get out of bed. You worry about what others think, so you put on a fake smile and pretend that things are fine even when they are not. You're feeling exhausted and alone. Despite all your attempts to change, you can't seem to stop engaging in self sabotaging patterns, that don't get you what you want, but rather it gets you what you don't want. This is just a glimpse of what feeling broken feels like for you.
But you are not broken. You experienced something very horrific during your childhood and the coping skills you learned during that time were useful then. They kept you alive. During this time you were focused on survival. When you're focused on survival there is no space to process your thoughts and feelings about what's going on, so you bury everything deep inside and lock it in a box. Never to open it! Afraid to open it and lose control. The physical and mental pain of being sexually abused was overwhelming to your young mind and body, and there is a part of you that continues to be locked away. Afraid to be opened.
Those skills were useful then but keep you stuck now. They actually contribute to the negative things you think about yourself. The "I should be...." and "why can't I..." thoughts that you have on a daily basis which lead you to not liking yourself. When you don't like yourself it's hard for you to believe or feel that anyone could like you, so you self sabotage. This is done by leaving people before they can leave you (this also makes you feel in control), labeling yourself as a bitch (keeps people from seeing your insecurities by pushing people away or being aggressive), or not being able to set boundaries (fear that people will leave you, so you do what ever you can to keep them close even at your own expense).
These behaviors do not make you feel happy and contribute to your feeling of brokenness. You can change these behaviors and find a sense of peace and true happiness in your life, maybe for the first time. You no longer have to feel haunted by your past but rather you can accept it as a chapter in your book of life that has impacted you but doesn't define you. This is what healing is all about. Most important- healing and recovery from the effects of sexual abuse are possible.
Children often do not use words to say that someone has harmed them sexually but they do show it in their behavior. The #1 reason children do not disclose ongoing sexual abuse is fear! They are afraid they wont be believed, that they or you will be harmed, or they will be blamed for the abuse.
You have found out that your child was sexually abused and you feel shame and guilt as a parent, questioning how you let this happen (by the way it's not your fault). You try to talk with your child about what happened but they freeze up or say they don't want to talk about it. But you want to make sure they are ok. You have done your research and know the statistics on the long term effects sexual abuse has on survivors and you don't want this pain and heartache for your child.
I'm here to share with you that your child doesn't have to continue to suffer. The nightmares that wake them up at night can go away. Your daughter's fears around being around certain people or places can be rectified. Those seemingly random outbursts of anger and tearfulness can decrease and even be eliminated. Therapy can help your child process his experience, his sexualized play will decrease significantly.
Finally, even though therapy is focused on helping your child heal and recover, they still need you. You will be a big part of the healing process. Often your child's behavior is confusing to you and you're finding yourself frustrated with them and distancing yourself from them (dare I even say not liking them because of some of the things they do). The rupture impacts the relationship between you and your child, leaving it to be a less gratifying experience for both of you. This further exacerbates your guilt and shame. As your child's therapist I can give you the tools you'll need to reconnect with your child as you both heal and recover from the pain of her sexual abuse.
The 5 Ways Sexual Abuse During Childhood Is Impacting Your Life Now, That You Never Considered Before:
- Feeling worthless, like you can never do anything right or that bad things are always happening to you, no matter how hard you try to avoid them/change your life
- Feeling like others take advantage of your kindness so your always wondering who you can and cannot trust
- Feeling worried all the time about everything.
- Feeling the need to talk about your past abuse to anyone who will listen
- Having a difficult time making and keeping friends or romantic relationships
...And Therapy Can Help You Overcome These Challenges By:
- Helping you to discover the patterns that keep you stuck in life and creating a plan that will help you replace the bad patterns with ones that work better
- Helping you get reconnected to your body so you can then learn trust your gut so that your better able to pick up on character traits that don't match yours
- Examining the way your worry is holding you back and providing you with the tools to work through your anxiety
- Helping you develop appropriate boundaries, so you can feel more empowered and in control over your impulses and emotions
- Teaching you how to love and accept who you are so that you feel more confident and happy. This skill will help you choose quality relationships
I will help you...
- Process the pain of child sexual abuse and other traumas
- Support and guide you on your path to healing and recovery
- Learn to Love yourself and have better quality relationships with others
- and your child reconnect as part of your child's journey to healing
- Feel like a better parent and give you tools help your child
- Have a happier, more fulfilling life
Expert tips from trauma therapist that will help a sexual abuse survivor live a better and happier life