Sexual abuse touch the deepest parts of us. Without earnest, preserving effort, healing will not be possible.
The journey can start with therapy, retreats, self-help books, help from the community and friends.
The potential for healing is enhanced when undertaken in a safe place with a trained professional.
I have listed four reasons many struggles to embark on the journey.
Shame has different presentations at different ages and stages of our lives. Sexual trauma is perhaps one of the most significant areas that influence shame. Many negative emotions are the fruit of shame.
You might experience shame because your body responds; This is a natural process, but because shame is grounded in lies, you have to go in search of the truth. However, it will take time and help to deconstruct, process and separate what is the truth.
Practice – telling yourself the truth often, don’t distance yourself from people. Sometimes they reflect positivity that can help to combat shame. Learning how to receive and use the feedback can be a source of healing.
As they say, the devil is in the details, and this is also true for survivors of sexual trauma. Sometimes there is an overarching obsession with more information, there can be a constant rehearsing of the details in your mind; this can produce anxiety and other conditions.
Practice. Learn techniques that help you to relax whenever you are tempted to rehearse details. Try to stay present, enjoy simple activities that will help to build positive memories and give the brain something where else to focus.
The neglected child
Learning to love your wounded self is essential to healing and emotionally healthy life. However many struggles to love and accept the wounded child. Getting to know and love her is a critical part of overcoming. Sharing is crucial because you have information that is vital to her healing. You can share love and acceptance with her that perhaps no one else has ever had.
Practice: sharing information with her that will help to soothe her in times of difficulties. Speak to her with kindness and sympathy. Use a gentle tone and compassion to give her information. Tell her that you will keep her safe.
Avoidance might be easy as the people that are around you pretended it never happened. At times they would prefer it if you do the same. Avoidance shows up in many ways, self-neglect, not eating, failing to access support or telling yourself you can do this without anyone.
Practice: talking to yourself about it. Use journaling as a way of externalising feelings. Getting feeling out in the open will help you become more comfortable with acknowledging things to yourself.