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.

A Shift In Thinking For Abuse Survivors

A big part of my healing from child sexual abuse was about shifting my thinking about myself and how I viewed the world. It was extremely difficult because I had been brainwashed as a young child to believe that I was only allowed to act and think in a certain way. I am going to describe two cycles of behavior.

When my stress became too great for me to handle at the beginning of my therapy, often I would revert back and view the world as if I were still living at home. This is what I thought and felt.

“I have a lot to share and as long as I am nice about it, people won’t hurt or abandon me. When I do try and express myself and get put down or verbally attacked, I feel I can’t protect myself.” At that point, I would usually withdraw and my deep loneliness would be tapped into. Another part of me would get overprotective and start analyzing everything. My inner child would feel pain and anger. And then I would start punishing myself by eating too much and depriving myself of what was good for me, thus continuing the behavior I used when growing up.

After a lot of therapy, I began to understand that there was a different way to deal with my problems. This is an example of my new way of thinking. “I am a human being who, despite the horrible circumstances with my family, has not abused others, always want to learn and grow, likes to have a good time, has strong morals and integrity, and am not afraid of hard work, am empathetic to others, has suffered terribly and paid a heavy price. I have also exhibited the classic symptoms of someone who was tortured. I am going to focus very strongly on staying in the present, enjoying life, and changing the old, self-defeating patterns into new, nurturing ones.”

By shifting my thinking, it gave me strength and confidence to continue to evolve into the healthy person I am today.

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Comments 1

amritamaat on Monday, 08 July 2013 08:40

If I may please respond, I not only believed that my thinking was wrong but that my being born was wrong. I went through my childhood feeling guilty for being alive and disrupting the life of my mother. I cannot speak as a victim of sexual abuse; however I endured significant emotional and physical abuse.

In recent therapy sessions, my take home message was I was so desperate to "fit in" with others that I would "dumb down" to feel welcome. I frequently changed my belief system and personality to meet the needs of my environment. The steps I took to overcome this behavior is what prompted me to write my memoir, Wearing a Mask Called Normal.

Really good therapy is essential to healing the scars of our pasts. But, we should not ignore our spirit and sometimes therapy does not address this part of us. It was my personal spiritual work that enhanced therapy and brought me to a place where I have shed shame. I can now comfortably seek others that have similar experiences like you, Ms. Champe.

I appreciate the work you do and the healing that comes from it.

Sincerely,
Amrita Maat
http://www.maskcallednormal.com
facebook: Amrita Maat

0
If I may please respond, I not only believed that my thinking was wrong but that my being born was wrong. I went through my childhood feeling guilty for being alive and disrupting the life of my mother. I cannot speak as a victim of sexual abuse; however I endured significant emotional and physical abuse. In recent therapy sessions, my take home message was I was so desperate to "fit in" with others that I would "dumb down" to feel welcome. I frequently changed my belief system and personality to meet the needs of my environment. The steps I took to overcome this behavior is what prompted me to write my memoir, Wearing a Mask Called Normal. Really good therapy is essential to healing the scars of our pasts. But, we should not ignore our spirit and sometimes therapy does not address this part of us. It was my personal spiritual work that enhanced therapy and brought me to a place where I have shed shame. I can now comfortably seek others that have similar experiences like you, Ms. Champe. I appreciate the work you do and the healing that comes from it. Sincerely, Amrita Maat www.maskcallednormal.com facebook: Amrita Maat

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