You're wearing a mask to hide your shame and feelings that you are marked or tainted.
Your walking through life with hidden scars. The wounds you received as a child from adults who were suppose to love and support you but instead they hurt and made you feel unsafe. They claimed they loved you, and at times they showed you love, but the next instance they were hurting you. Sexual Abuse is very confusing for a child, trying to make sense of this as an adult can be overwhelming.
As an adult you continue to struggle. At work you are seen as competent and intelligent, but in your personal life you struggle. You are constantly getting into relationships that are toxic and bad for you, but you can't seem to stop choosing "the wrong person". Your friendships are meaningless, filled with gossip, lack of trust, and support. Every day your battling, on the verge of "losing it", emotionally, feeling a rage just below the surface. You're exhausted and lonely.
Sexual Abuse, Incest, Molestation and other Complex Traumas are more common that you think.
Unfortunately in the US 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused as a child. This runs across every racial, cultural, and socioeconomic background. Many of these children never have a chance to speak out. They carry the burden of holding this family secret, afraid of how their family will fall apart if they tell.
Often they receive love and comfort from these adults, who are often parental figures (fathers, mothers, religious figures, mother's boyfriend, etc) who make them feel "special". These children, including yourself as a child and all children, are seeking out love, nurturance, protection, support and guidance. These adults who sexualize them, turning the relationship into something insidious, use their power to hurt these children, leaving lasting effects that continue long after the abuse has stopped.
Feeling Alone, like an outcast, and misunderstood:
For many of these girls they cannot confide in their mothers, feeling as if their mothers must know what is going on and is failing to protect them any way. It's not uncommon to feel like your mother was a rival of yours, which has the lasting effect of making you feel that your female peers are also potential rivals who you cannot trust. For many a girls they view their mother's as weak, whether that's due to their own illnesses (physical, mental, or substance abuse related) that they are struggling with or their overall demeanor when interacting with others. You can't relate to her, thus you feel disconnect from her and you overly identify and connect with your father (figure).
This leads to whole cascade of difficulties now that your an adult. You find yourself drawn to aggressive men who intimidate or physically hurt you sometimes. Past relationships are filled with unsatisfying sex, where you find yourself feeling smothered, like the perpetrator is hurting you all over again (flashbacks). You find it hard to stand up for yourself in your relationships as well as at work, you avoid conflicts at all cost, even if that means what you need takes a back seat. It's also very common to have no idea what it is you need so you cannot vocalize this to someone else. You have little to no female friends. You don't just trust, connect, or understand them. Yet, at the same time, you crave female companionship.
You don't have to struggle alone, there is hope for you to find peace and happiness in life. Counseling/therapy can help you heal from these early wounds.
So just maybe there is a link between your childhood that is affecting you now that needs to be addressed. Your starting to realize there is a link between the highs and lows of your childhood which make coping as an adult more challenging than you would like. So your ready to get to the root of it all and work with a therapist.
As your therapist I want you to know that you, the individual, your story drives the treatment. I use my knowledge and skills to collaborate with you on a course of treatment that focuses on your goals, not my own goals. My knowledge and treatment frame combines attachment, neurobiology, and sensory integration. Yes all of this therapy speak might sound intimidating. But really it just means that through our safe and trusting relationship we begin to explore the areas in your life that you are struggling with, focusing on the mind-body connection. I will help you learn to feel safe in your body again so you can reclaim it and feel empowered.
My skills include an assessment tool called the NMT ( brain mapping), which looks at your whole developmental history, comparing family and relationship connections with adverse or harmful experiences. This tool will help identity the areas that are strong and which areas of your brain need a little more focused attention. I will honor what you bring and what you want to do.
No matter where the journey takes us, I will be there with you. Through the highs and lows, with patience, nurturance, and no judgement. I focus on the goals you've set and everything leads back to achieving those goals. Therapy is not forever but rather to give you the tools you need to sustain the changes you desire.
"I am really afraid to share my story, what will you think of me?"
You are probably very nervous about starting counseling because you've never done it before or maybe you had a bad experience in the past. As a trauma survivor you have had your boundaries violated and your sense of safety and trust eroded. You have learned to protect yourself and letting someone in is very scary because you don't want to experience that pain again...the pain of someone not coming through for you. You also carry a lot of shame around your sexual abuse because you believe you should've done more to stop it. The physical sensations might have felt good in the moment, the love and the affection you also received outside of the sexual encounter made you feel good and "special".
These thoughts and beliefs are very common for survivors and don't mean you deserved to be violated. Yes your body may have betrayed you but now you can reclaim your body. Also this part of your childhood is not your identity. You are more than a trauma survivor and together I will help you express and love all of yourself.
As you begin to share your story in therapy you will realize that in the past your behaviors were (unconsciously) about keeping you alive. From this moment forward you have the ability to write a new and happy ending which eliminates the shame, guilt, and disgust you have for yourself. Your a survivor, not a victim.
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