We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Healing From Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

To have one’s inner sense of security shattered, particularly at a young age, disrupts people’s perception of a safe world. “A lack of predictability and controllability are the central issues for the development and maintenance of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)[1]. The intrusiveness of the memories of past trauma appears to orient people toward doing their best to numb their feelings, to get away from those awful remembrances. I experienced this as I became more in touch with memoires of my own childhood abuse. I paid attention to and learned that I was shutting down my feelings, overeating to self-medicate or numb out, and dissociating to escape my traumatic feelings.

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Survivors Learning Healthy Control

When growing up in an abusive environment, control becomes an important issue. Clearly, in the beginning, control rests with the abusive parents/caretakers, so children will adapt to their environment the best way they can. In the process, however, children become very attuned to high levels of stress—so much so that their autonomic nervous system is affected. They develop strong reactions to even relatively low levels of stress, and then it takes longer than normal to return to a restful state.

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Survivors Healing from Reactive Behaviors

One of the issues I dealt with in my therapy was I knew I sometimes exhibited childlike behaviors that were irrational, but I didn’t understand why that continued to happen. As an adult, I observed my behaviors and wanted to change them. It wasn’t until I understood the application of “introjects” that I could begin turning those behaviors around.

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Long-Term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

 If a survivor of child sexual abuse has not been in therapy or been helped along the way to cope with his/her abuse history, there is a range of effects that stem from the abuse. Depending upon each individual survivor’s trauma history, the following list provides the common effects many survivors must deal with as a result of their abuse.

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Survivors Using Self-Injury To Cope

The first time I met someone who used self-injury to cope with her distress was during one of my hospitalizations. I felt very sad for her because I understood the depth of the pain she must have been dealing with and how desperate she must have felt. I did some research to try and understand this coping mechanism and found that the root causes were very similar to the reasons why many of us develop other self-defeating behaviors as a result of being abused such as binge eating, prostitution, and drug abuse.

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