Helping Survivors Heal Their wounds From Child Sexual Abuse and Relational Trauma
Are you struggling in your relationships? Do you feel like you cannot trust others, misbelieving them when they show you love and care, because you don’t believe that their intentions are real or that it will last? When people are trying to get close to you do you feel uncomfortable in your body and feel the need to get away? Are you worried that your disconnect from others or mistrust comes from your past trauma of sexual abuse, attachment wounds, religious trauma, or something else?
You’re struggling to find peace and happiness with yourself and in your relationships, but don’t know how to go about healing from your past so that it no longer controls you, and makes your current relationships so unsatisfactory. You know you want deeper and more meaningful connections but there is so much fear that you get stuck. This leaves you feeling unhappy, anxious, and alone (even if you are in a relationship). You don’t want to be stuck any more. You want to heal and change so that you feel better and your relationships feel better too.
When we suffer from childhood trauma such as sexual abuse (mother-daughter sexual abuse especially) and emotional neglect it makes it hard for us to trust that others will not mistreat us. Even into adulthood we may struggle with relationships due to the relationship traumas we have had not just in childhood but throughout our lives. (Unfortunately patterns in relationships often show up)
Relational traumas often begin in early childhood when our parents/caregivers emotionally neglect, abuse, and/or are repeatedly misattunment to us and our needs. These adults (and then later on when we become teens and adults our peers) are suppose to love, care, and know us and treat us like we matter. Yet they don’t. They often show up only on their terms shouting their needs but make little time for our needs, not inquiring about how we are doing. When they do inquire about us they often somehow make it about themselves which doesn’t feel supportive at all. Another way this also shows up is by minimizing our feelings and experiences. Because they are often emotionally cut off they don’t have the capacity to be there for us. This makes us feel misunderstood, alone, and even confused.
It’s important to recognize that relational traumas don’t just happen between parent/caregiver and child within the family but often include others such as extended family, platonic, romantic, friend, work, religious, etc. these people often have the power of reinforcing our ideas of worthiness and whether or not we matter.
When we have relational traumas, especially those early attachment traumas with parents/caregivers, we struggle with feeling like we are worthy or like we matter. We struggle with showing up truly believing we have intrinsic worth and value and instead place our beliefs around our worthiness in the things that we can accomplish such as work or school. Even whether or not we can land a partner and/or have kids can often be a reflection of our worthiness and value. If there is an absence here then we are unworthy.
Even worse when we question the messages or reflect on how these individual relationships make us feel we often feel “crazy” and have trouble trying to figure out if they have harmed us or if we are just “being sensitive”. Especially when we look around and others in our family or in our religious institutions don’t seem to be bothered by what is going on. It’s like we are the only ones to “see” or “experience” the harm. When we question it people either don’t believe us or they are condescending which only reinforces our fears that something is wrong with us.
The result of these experiences is a constant questioning of who were are and our value. We may feel feel bad about ourselves and not like who we are. This then leads to a struggle with connecting with other people because we constantly feel uneasy uneasy when we are around others. There is often an internal conflict about wanting to be close with others while not trusting that they won’t cause us harm in the end. This also leaves us feeling exhausted.
The exhaustion coupled with feeling unworthy often leaves us losing our zest for life. We feel numb, detached, and bored. Often even robotic. Emotionally we are stuck between numbness and overwhelming sadness, and sometimes anger. Joy or happiness are hard to come by. Contentment is absent. In this terrible state everything is hard and everything is tiring.
In therapy you will learn about the patterns that keep you stuck in freeze-where that life’s energy is trapped because of the traumas you’ve experienced. Whether those traumas are relational attachment wounds, sexual abuse/mother-daughter sexual abuse, religious traumas, or other traumas caused by interacting with people who have harmed you, the energy that your body would have used for fight or flight is trapped. We will unlock those trapped energies and help you learn how to engage in healthy fight or flight behaviors. Using your empowered voice to set boundaries with others. Creating distance or separation both psychologically and physically from those people or institutions that have caused you harm without guilt or shame. While at the same time you will learn how to internalize the things you want and need. That make you feel settled, at peace, content, and happy.
As we work on these things you will find that you begin to shift and trust your instincts again. To reconnect with your body and trust in the wisdom of your nervous system. Again this will help you feel good in your body, maybe for the first time ever. You will find that your relationships also improve and feel better.
As you heal from child sexual abuse and/or relational traumas you will have access to your energy that brings you life. Energy that will help you to engage in life and to connect. This connection can be with people or with hobbies. Hobbies as a means of expressing yourself. Of having fun and expanding your emotions of joy through play. Our hobbies are a form of play. Of curiosity and interactions in this world. Things that bring meaning to our life and often can express things more than words can.
The 5 Ways Sexual Abuse During Childhood and Relational Trauma 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 discover the patterns that keep you stuck in life and creating a plan that will help you replace those patterns that don’t serve your needs with ones that do
- Supporting you with reconnecting to your body, so you can learn to trust and feel strong in yourself (again).
- 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 complex traumas
- Support and guide you on your path to healing and recovery
- Learn to Love yourself and have better quality relationships with others
- Have a happier, more fulfilling life
Have more questions and want to make sure its a good fit for us to work together?
Expert tips from trauma therapist that will help a sexual abuse survivor live a better and happier life
DISCLAIMER: Jessica Lang, LMFT is not affiliated with Betterhelp, Talkspace, Caredash, or any other corporation affiliated with them.