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BREAKING FREE FROM THE EFFECTS OF ABUSE

Thinking about seeking help to heal from childhood sex abuse can feel very overwhelming and you’re not alone in that.

Details of the abuse does not necessarily have to be discussed in order to heal. In some instances talking about detail is helpful but not always necessary.

The focus is more on your feelings and perceptions surrounding the abuse.

The good news is you've survived in the best way you could up to now. You have found strength to get through.

If you've not told anyone you'll have lived with the secret on your own for many years.

You'll have tried to make sense of your experience in a childlike way - children don't think it can be the adults' fault, maybe you believe it was your fault, something about you that invited the abuse?

Maybe you coped by minimising your experience - ‘maybe it didn’t happen’, ‘they didn’t mean to hurt me’, ‘it’s no big deal’, ‘I deserved it’.

Maybe you didn’t say no or maybe you didn’t tell anybody straight away, it doesn’t matter, a child tries to survive at the time.

What you learnt as a child stays with you and you can be left with a low opinion of yourself.

You might spend a lot of time helping others, seldom doing anything for yourself, you minimise your needs, you've accepted that you're not listened to, you don’t really need anything, you can cope with anything, you keep relationships at arm's length.

Maybe you stay in unhealthy relationships because of these beliefs.

If asked what you'd like to do for yourself, the chances are you wouldn't know the answer.

Common defence mechanisms are denial, minimising, numbing and avoiding in order to get through.  Addictions may have helped you cope - alcoholism, drugs, sex addiction, gambling or workaholism.

Taking that first step towards accessing counselling can be difficult and the journey through healing can be challenging at times. You’ve found the strength, resilience and courage to survive so far, so I know you have the strength to take that journey to thrive.  Telling your story in a safe and confidential environment is the first step.

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