Posts Tagged ‘how to heal from child abuse’

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


Read Full Post »

I have been thinking a lot about the blog entries I wrote on Friday and Monday as well as the many comments that I received both in the comments sections as well as through email. I had an epiphany that I hope will be healing and affirming to all.

I think that the big picture of healing from child abuse is the same for everyone but that the specific details are as varied and individual as we are. Let’s start with the big picture …

I told my therapist my theory on the “big picture” of healing from child abuse, and he wholeheartedly agreed. The way that anyone heals from child abuse is by learning to love and accept himself and his experiences. The more you love yourself, accepting your experiences (past and present) as “mine,” and express your true feelings and emotions, the more you heal. Healing from child abuse really is that simple. Unfortunately, “simple” is not the same thing as “easy.”

Here is where the details come in. Each of us is unique. Not two people suffered the exact same abuses or reacted in the exact same way. So, it makes sense that no two people are going to heal in the exact same way. I have found yoga to be immensely helpful in healing, while Michael shared that yoga was not helpful to him but that Tai Chi has been found to be more beneficial to those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I found that therapy was absolutely crucial to get me through the early years of healing, but Lacey (as well as many others) have had unhelpful experiences with therapy. I found reading numerous books to be immensely helpful, but Michael did not – he found expressive therapy to be much more helpful. My faith has been crucial in healing while many others are triggered by religion and manage to heal without having a faith.

So, who is right? We all are!

To heal from child abuse, I think we always need to keep the big picture in mind and then ask what steps we can take toward loving and accepting ourselves and our experiences. I initially came at this from a more traditional left-brained approach – working with a therapist and reading lots of books, but that was not enough. I needed to branch out to yoga, meditation, and Reiki for more spiritual healing.

I think we need to think of the specifics as tools that we can put in our healing toolbox that we can use as we feel the need. My healing journey is not going to look like yours because I am going to use different tools than you are. The best thing I can do is share what works for me while all of you share what works for you. Collectively, the more tools we add to our healing toolbox, the more resources all of us will have available to heal.

This gets me back to the point that a few readers made about my Friday blog entry – that they felt that there was judgment because what worked for me was not working for them in the way or timeframe that it worked for me. We need to remember that each of us is an individual, and we are going to progress at different paces while using different tools to get there. Instead of  comparing the tools, let’s urge one another along our healing journeys by keeping our eyes on the big picture – Let’s do whatever we need to do to learn how to love and accept ourselves.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Read Full Post »