Survivors of childhood abuse are just that “survivors”. However, these survivors have not survived the abuse without wounds. There are several types of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Many people suffered as children form one or a combination of these types of abuse. Some were abused physically, emotionally and sexually by family members, friends of the family, and yet others have been abused by complete strangers. Some victims have experienced moderate symptoms that affect their relationships, careers and self-esteem. Other less fortunate victims have experienced serious trauma. The consequences of childhood abuse are both short term and long term. Some of the most common consequences I have seen are anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, lack of trust, sleep disturbances, acting out sexually or no sexual interest, and poor self-esteem. Abuse can, and often does, impact all aspects of the victim’s life.
When we grow up in households where there is significant inadequate parenting, deprivation and abuse, we learn to think certain ways and behave certain ways that may help us survive as children. However, many of these thoughts and behaviors are not useful long-term into adulthood, and, in fact,
can be detrimental to our functioning. I believe that relief can be achieved by challenging and learning new thoughts and behaviors. It is also important to understand patterns of abuse in your life and in the life of your family. Rebuilding a sense of self-worth and overcoming the overwhelming sense of guilt, shame, fear, and sadness is achievable. Resolving feelings of fear and depression while improving communication and clear boundaries in relationships with family, friends and co-workers are important. Eliminating the denial and putting the responsibility of the abuse on the perpetrator is a necessity. Increasing support will help you in your healing process. The final result will be you building self-esteem, a sense of empowerment and increasing your overall participation and joy in life. Healing the wounds of childhood abuse can help you move beyond survival. There is hope.
For information about group therapy for a adult survivors of abuse, please visit my Group Therapy