Recovering from Childhood Sexual Abuse
Common Beginning Questions:
I think I might have been abused but I’m not sure. Does that mean that I probably was?
Not necessarily, but maybe. In a way, your job is the same whether you were abused or not: I would recommend you get into therapy (with someone who has experience with survivors of sexual abuse and who clicks with you) and do the therapeutic work about what ever is interfering with you having the life you want now. If there was any abuse, and you are ready to deal with it, it will come up into your conscious awareness and you can address it.
What does it mean to be ready to work on abuse?
Readiness has to do with being in the right place, internally and externally, so that when you find out the reality of your own abuse, you will profit from the therapy work and not be unduly beaten down by it. Abuse that you had to repress (forget happened) is likely the experience from your childhood that was the most destructive to your self-esteem. Being ready to deal with this and having it be a healing experience takes readiness. Left to your own devices, you very probably won’t remember anything you aren’t ready to deal with. This is why I don’t use hypnosis with my clients who want to remember what happened to them.
So being “ready” to work on abuse means that the relationship you have with yourself ( your internal environment) is strong: Your resources inside are lined up PRO YOU. You spend more time supporting and validating yourself than putting your self down. No matter what else, in the end you basically like yourself, enough anyway, so that you can help yourself through this process. You can remember painful things that happened to you and heal from them rather than being over whelmed or becoming self-destructive. The good news is that once you are through this work, you will like yourself, love yourself, more than you ever have.
What is this “outer environment” part? This could be about relationships and if you have good support, for example being in a good relationship or out of a bad one. It can be about finances and when you have the money for baby sitters or transportation or the therapist’s fees. It is probably also about timing so that you can afford an occasional day off when you truly need a mental health day. Therefore it’s probably not when you are a single parent of young children and working part time and going to school at night.