Abuse Survivors

If you were abused as a child, you are not alone! An estimated 20% of adults in America experienced abuse as a child.  Being abused affects everyone in different ways, but many survivors of abuse experience some similar things.  Some of the most common reactions to abuse are:

  • Not believing it happened (denial)
  • Denying that it affected you (minimizing)
  • Trouble trusting people
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling damaged or like something is wrong with you
  • Having a hard time establishing healthy relationships
  • Difficulties with emotions – can be too intense or you numb yourself to them
  • Feeling disconnected or tuning out of life (dissociation)
  • Drug, alcohol or other addictive behaviors
  • Thoughts of suicide

This list may be overwhelming, but it may also be comforting.  Many survivors of abuse don’t realize that some of the struggles they are experiencing now may be related to being abused.  The good news is that the worst part is over – you lived through the abuse!  The best news is that you can get better.  Being a survivor of childhood abuse does not mean you are sentenced to a life of pain and suffering.  You can create a happy, fulfilling life for yourself!

The most important first step in recovering from a painful past is to build a support system to help you through this journey.  This can be a close friend, a family member, your partner, whoever and whatever feels supportive to you.  Sometimes this is the hardest step for people, especially when they feel like they have no one to turn to or they keep trying to build relationships that always fall apart.  Sometimes a great place to start building support is through counseling with a supportive therapist.

Another very important part of healing is to take care of yourself!  I often hear survivors talk about how difficult this can be, or that they don’t even know how to take care of themselves.  Start by doing something you enjoy every day, whether you spend 5 minutes or 5 hours.  Below is a small list of things some people find relaxing and pleasant.  Remember, choose what you enjoy!

  • Play your favorite song
  • Light a scented candle
  • Go to the gym
  • Take a walk
  • Call a friend
  • Watch a good movie
  • Play a game
  • Take a warm bath
  • Play with an animal
  • Go to the beach
  • Volunteer
  • Buy yourself a toy or gadget
  • Engage in your religion
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Go fishing
  • Sit in the sun
  • Ride a bike
  • Go to the museum
  • Breathe deeply
  • Write in a journal
  • Have a daydream
  • Kiss someone special

If you are ready to see a counselor to begin healing from you abuse, please feel free to contact LINKtherapy.

If you feel ready to see a counselor but are not sure if we are the right fit, please visit the following links to search for a counselor in your area: