Rollercoaster emotions and traumatic thoughts may seem impossible to deal with after surviving a physical, sexual or verbally abusive experience. Healing a wound this deep and understanding what you are going through is one of the most challenging aspects in recovering from any type of abuse. Know that you are not alone throughout this journey and there are support systems waiting to help you build back your resilience.
Abusive victims have short term and long term reactions that vary but are easy to identify. In a long term sense they may have a fear of being alone, suffer from insomnia and have difficulty concentrating. Dealing with depression and sexual dysfunction is a common occurrence; especially, when it is the result of sexual abuse. Abuse victims are challenged with identity issues, trust issues, anger, flashbacks, hypertension, substance abuse and self harm. There are many who develop post traumatic stress disorders and have a hard time simply getting through the day without dealing with fear and flashbacks. By approaching this issue using a forgiving state of mind, the victim will release burdensome pain and find relief within themselves.
Challenges Faced by an Abuse Victim
Surviving severe emotional, physical or sexual abuse can leave wounds that are most difficult to heal. Whether or not the abuse occurred as a child or an adult it is a trial to simply lead a satisfying live. They may be unable to express and let go of confusion as the result of an abusive experience. Survivors may have a difficult time being intimate with another let alone maintain a relationship. It's common to experience traumatic memories or flashbacks. Challenges depend on the nature of the abuse although the reaction is often compulsive or suppressed.
It's common that people who have been victims of abuse feel numb, almost as if everything is an out of body experience. It may have begun during the abuse to avoid pain and fear. Memories may be repressed so that the victim doesn't have to deal with them on a conscious level. Others must be cautious toward the victim in speaking about an abuse that occurred because they may not have clear memories of the ordeal at all.
How Abuse Affects Other Relationships
When a person who is closest to you is the same individual inflicting pain it can be difficult to deal with at a later age or in future relationships. Abuse can affect the victim in a physical manifestation and take a toll on current relationships. The pain of abuse occurs on such a deep level that it shows up in patterns during relationships. If the victim has learned not to trust anyone at a younger age, it creates a fear of intimacy as an adult. If the abuse occurred as an adult and persists in a current relationship there may still be painful emotional bonding.
Regardless of the current circumstance, abuse survivors are subconsciously aware that how they feel isn't right. After getting through an abusive experience the victim may be attracted to this negative energy or loss of control. It can actually become an addicting experience and victims may choose to be with people who are continually abusive. It's hard to become aware of themselves and take an unbiased look at relationships and partner. Victims become easy targets or emotionally disconnected and their walls are either invisible or apparent to other people in current relationships with them.
How Therapy can Help
For survivors, support is essential throughout the healing process. With compassion and validation the survivor can become aware of what is happening to their body and mind and open up to someone who truly cares about their wellbeing. With abuse victims, peers may have a difficult time knowing what to say and it's okay for them not to have all the answers because therapy is available as not only a form of clarification – but support system. Although there isn't any easy way to heal from physical or verbal abuse it's important to find support in someone who is going to teach you how to manage who you are. If you ever find yourself feeling out of control due to intense feelings, know that therapy is aimed toward treating this shock and devastation. By first recognizing the impact that the abuse has had on your own life you'll then understand that seeking outside support is going to assist you in taking care of your needs and also help you create healthy relationships with people who truly care about you. Don't be hesitant toward getting professional help because it isn't hopeless. By acknowledging that something is wrong your intuition is telling you that you are a wonderful person worthy of love. As a survivor you'll speak about suffering and become aware of it on a conscious level. Know that there are a high percentage of people who have been victimized just as you have. Therapy will not only help you find relief but make you realize that your past does not define you. You are in control and therapy brings that strength out from within you so that you can tackle any life task with the utmost inner courage and tenacity.
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