There is our life before trauma, then there is the trauma that happened to us and then there is life after the trauma.
Most trauma (including sexual abuse) is followed by post-traumatic stress. It is important to understand that you are not doing anything wrong. It is a normal human reaction to experience post-traumatic stress when we have experienced severe trauma to our psyche or our physical body. Most of us checked out or disassociated during the times we were being sexually abused. Disassociating or checking out helped us avoid having to experience the horror we were going through. This is normal. It is the way we survived what was happening to us. We survived by mentally/emotionally avoiding our attack.
In order to survive, we delayed experiencing the horror of what happened to us until we felt we were in a safe environment. We didn’t consciously make this decision. It is an automatic mental/emotional response. Many of us describe this as stuffing it down, putting it behind us or locking it away in a box. However, once we begin to feel safe, even if it is many years later, that trauma that we pushed down, locked away or put behind us, begins to bubble up. This is when we begin to experience the memories, flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, and more. This is PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It can feel terrifying when we first begin to experience PTSD. However, PTSD does not have to be a lifelong sentence. It can be a temporary experience on our healing journey. In order to not live in a lifetime of PTSD, it important to seek professional guidance. You want to be in the presence of a professional who can hold a safe space for you to re-experience the trauma and the emotions you had to avoid in order to survive your abuse. Working with a professional that holds a safe space for you to experience the emotions that went with your trauma will allow you to release the trauma and the PTSD.
For many survivors the thought of re-experiencing the abuse feels totally and completely terrifying. It feels worse than death. I would like you to consider that it feels this way because when we were sexually abused we could not avoid the psychological overwhelm of what was happening to us. But now, as a capable adult working with a professional, we can handle dealing with and releasing the trauma. In fact, it is necessary to do this work of non-avoidance as part of our healing journey. Learning how to process and release pain is critically important. Otherwise we are locking ourselves into the role of the victim where we continue to feel hopeless and out of control suffering from the pain of our own emotions.
Holding a safe space for you to revisit your abuse, experience the emotions of your trauma and release that trauma is something I can help you do. I can hold that safe space for you as experience the emotions that went with your trauma. To learn more, simply schedule a complimentary coaching session with me at: www.CindysCalendar.com