Some child abuse survivors are so used to believing certain things about themselves that, although they want to heal, they also don’t want to try new strategies to heal. To quote Dr. Phil,
If you keep doing the same things that you have always done, you will keep getting the same results that you have always gotten. ~ Dr. Phil McGraw
If you want to change the course of your life, you have to make changes. You cannot choose to keep thinking the same thoughts and doing the same things but still expect to change the course of your life. To change the direction of a ship, you need to turn the steering wheel. It might take a long time to see that your course is changing, but it isn’t going to change at all until you choose to do some changing yourself.
The big picture view of how to heal from child abuse is pretty simple – You need to love and accept every part of yourself (your memories, experiences, emotions, feelings, etc.). It really is that simple. Unfortunately, simple is not the same thing as easy.
If you are on a course that keeps you moving away from this goal, then you are not going to achieve the healing you are hoping for. You have to find a way to change direction and move toward this goal. What that means in the details is going to be different from person to person. For me, this means carving time out of each day to do yoga and meditation. I am setting aside daily time to do something loving and healing for myself.
For someone else, doing yoga might be the worst possible idea, but perhaps taking time to do expressive art is the way to go. For another, it might be committing to therapy, talking about what happened, or going for a trip to an amusement park. It might be something big like fulfilling a lifelong dream to climb a mountain, or it might be something as simple as allowing yourself to enjoy an ice cream cone without telling yourself that you are a terrible person who is going to get fat by eating the ice cream.
You might have to try different strategies to find the one (or, more likely, a combination of several) that work for you. You might come up with something for yourself that nobody else has even thought of. For example, I knew one child abuse survivor whose need to be rocked as a baby was never met. She bought herself a hammock and experienced a huge leap in healing by rocking herself in it.
The important thing is that you risk trying something new. If you keep doing the same things you always have, you are not going to see much progress in healing from child abuse.
Photo credit: Hekatekris