BY: Janine Mitchell
Comments: No Comments
This time of year is meant to be a happy time, full of joy and fun. However, it can be particularly difficult for some. It can be a time when old wounds can come to the surface. A time that is now now hyped to be a happy time, for families, for get togethers, for peace to all. However this time of year for many to feel stuck, lonely or in a dark place. It can be a time where many feel they have nowhere to turn or no one to speak to. Familiar feelings can often come to the surface. Feelings such as guilt, shame, fear, anguish – to name but a few.
Many who have suffered some form of abuse, whether that be physical, sexual, or any other type of abuse can often experience feelings of guilt, shame, low self worth, to name just a few. Given these feelings, it is easier to not talk about abuse, so often many keep it hidden, for years. After all, why would anyone who has suffered from abuse want to revisit these feelings, or be re traumatised in any way?
What I have found in over 15 years of experience of working with those who have been abused either as adults or children is that if these feelings are not spoke about, this will often lead to other maladaptive behaviours. This could include addictions, self harm, suicidal thoughts, mental health issues and other presenting problems. Often, it is much easier to use these as coping strategies on oder to block the feelings or push it below the surface, than it is to speak about abuse, or open up in any way.
If either you or someone you know has experienced some form of abuse, you will know that by opening up about what has happened won’t change the past. It won’t allow what has happened to go. However it will do the following. It will allow you to begin to acknowledge or understand that non of this was your fault. Whether you were abused by someone you know or know, or by a stranger, it will often be easier for the abuser to direct blame, often towards their victim. Much manipulation will take place, often without the victim even realising it. And then the victim will come to a place where they think or believe that they are in the wrong. They are also likely to think they allowed this abuse to happen, so it is their fault.
I am here today to tell you that none of this was your fault. You did not ask for this abuse, and this was not your doing. When we remain silent about abuse, it often becomes the abusers biggest weapon, as it allows the shame and guilt and abuse all to continue.
Once you are able to open up and speak about your abuse, this can often lead to big changes. Whether it is someone close to speak to that you trust, or a professional. There is always someone there to listen to you. It is also likely you will feel a big sense of relief. I have often been told time and time again, once that abuse is spoken about, it is like a big weight has been lifted. Rather than the worry of ‘opening up a can of worms’ the opposite effect can be had.
In addition, speaking about abuse leads to a ceased silence of abuse. This can be the biggest killer of abuse. The more we are open to and open talking about abuse, then we can feel free from previously being the prisoner of our own past. But please remember, I am saying be comfortable with what is right for you. You don’t need to go into the in’s and out’s, or re traumatise the situation by regurgitating the past. Even the simple acknowledgement of understanding this was not your fault can be a massive relief for many. A stepping stone to move forward.
I would also like to add, if you have not received any professional help at this time, you do not need to ‘relive’ your abuse in a therapeutic setting. There are amazing techniques that can be used, where you do not need to return to or revisit the trauma of your abuse in any way whatsoever. Such techniques can be used in a very powerful way whereby you would not be expected to revisit or be re traumatised my this abuse. These can be used to free you from the past, and to remove any relating maladaptive coping strategies that are being used also. This will allow you to move forward without even having to go back there. So you can lead a life that you completely and fully deserve.