Letting go of the pain caused by sexual abuse is difficult, painful and extremely hard to do, but it is not impossible to do!
No matter what happened when you were sexually abused, you survived, by whatever means, and you can overcome this trauma. Nothing is impossible, not if you want it that much.
So, here’s my version of how to handle it, and guess what? It works too!It involves you trusting someone, and telling ALL of the secrets you have hidden away for so long.
As you begin to tell, allow yourself to get in touch with all of the feelings, fears and emotions that arise.
Don’t be afraid to show the real you who has been hidden for so long.
Don’t be afraid of the emotions either, don’t be ashamed or afraid to be angry, sad, mad, or tearful.
You have the right to show those emotions, just like everyone else.
You don’t have to be a man, and ‘macho’ all of the time.
You don’t have to pretend to be a MAN all of the time either.
It doesn’t matter where you start, the beginning, middle or end is a good place to start, you can add to it as you talk.
From just the one issue, there are many issues that arise. It could be anger that you speak about on one occasion, then perhaps fear another time, maybe sadness, or the pain it caused you then and now.
Re-tell your story, and how it has affected you in different ways, until you know it has been exhausted. If and when it comes back, talk it through again and see it for what it is, just a memory that comes back
Don’t worry about the language you use either.Some counsellor’s say that by using 'crude', 'rude' or plain basic language feels like they are being abused.
Well here's some news for them. That's their problem, not yours! We need to feel comfortable with what and how we say things about our abuse history, and if that means saying things they don't feel comfortable with, they can always get another job in a supermarket!
Above all, begin to get in touch with your feelings, thoughts and fears towards the abuse, how you felt then, and how you feel now.
Try putting your feelings into words, other than expressing yourself with “I’m feeling like…..”
Take your time in doing so, even if those emotions seem unreal.
Whatever you do, don’t give up, otherwise “they” will seem to have won. THEY HAVE NOT.
To tell someone, perhaps a friend or partner, that you have been sexually abused either as a child or adult is extremely difficult.Even more so, if like many countless boys, you were told big boys don’t cry, or that you fear being seen as weak.
The fear you will be disbelieved or thought to have taken part in it willingly, is soul destroying and can prevent you from talking about it.
Listed below are some requirements that have to be honoured by you and the person you speak to before counselling can begin.
1. Being listening to, and believed, even the unbelievable.
2. Remembering the abuse in your time, not being rushed to recall everything.
3. Understanding and accepting that you were not to blame.
4. Letting go of the pain.
5. Expressing repressed emotions, e.g. pain, fear, anger, sadness, guilt, etc.
6. Identifying/reclaiming your sexuality.
7. Increasing self-respect/esteem.
8. Taking control of your life.
9. Stopping self-inflicted pain, e.g. alcohol/drug misuse, crime, self-harming, etc.
10. Looking at past relationships, forming new relationships.
Dealing with all of the above takes incredible courage, nerve, and determination to overcome the abuse, which in many cases has been buried or hidden for many years.
The journey you undertake is very empowering, healing, and will allow you to face up to what happened to you, acknowledge the abuse, but more importantly refuse to allow it live your life any more.
Sadly, you will never forget what happened to you, but the pain will and does remove itself from your daily thoughts.
If you are prepared to give yourself time to heal, you will live a life free from painful memories, and be able to move on from the painful memories that belong in the past.
Nothing is worse than letting those who abused you in the past, continue to abuse you NOW.
Let go of them and the memories of the abuse you suffered.
It will never go away, but you can and will be able to live YOUR life.
After all, you deserve more than a life full of misery and pain.
AN EXCERCISE TO HELP YOU MOVE ON:
If a lack of being loved, liked, respected, etc, is a problem, what could you do, in order to feel safer in yourself?
If the loss of innocence is a problem, is it likely to prevent you from gaining a perspective that is kinder to you and to those you meet?
If nightmares and the fears attached, are a problem, what could you do to overcome those fears?
What fears do you have that seems to be preventing you from moving on?
What could you do in order those fears?
Having started to wake up to the realisation that your life has been affected by the abuse you suffered, what are going to do about it?
What issues that you have not yet talked about do you consider to be the stumbling block to your recovery?
What do you need to do in order to ensure you are free from the thoughts that haunt you?
What could you do to leave behind the negative thoughts, and move forward?
What are your immediate thoughts, and feelings, when faced with a memory of the abuse you suffered?
How hard do you find it to be honest with yourself, and others?
Why is that, and where does it come from?
Why do you find it difficult to be free and honest in speech and manner?
Do you avoid having sex, or being intimate, because it reminds you of what happened to you when abused?
What could you do, to regain control of your sexual life? Its yours after all, and the memories that prevent you having or enjoying sex is your abusers way of stopping you live your life, but don’t allow them to control you any longer.
So, having read the above, here are three questions for you to consider:
1. Could you let all of this go?
2. Would you let all of this go?
3. WHEN would you let all of this go?
Make sure you answer all the three questions and then make the right decision!
Copyright Steve Bevan. AMSOSA UK