It’s Not Easy to Love a Sexual Abuse Survivor

It’s Not Easy to Love a Sexual Abuse Survivor

The sexual abuse survivor. He is never there for you because he does not know how to be close, how to trust, how to belong, how to love and receive love. He knows no real closeness. He is afraid to expose himself to new strong emotions. All this is frightening to him. He has enough to deal with, and why should he risk to get another disappointment? How does he know you will always be by his side and never betray him? And he is so afraid to risk for love because he has been betrayed way too many times in life. He thinks you don’t understand him sometimes because he cannot understand himself most of the time. It is difficult to live with such a burden on your shoulders. The life of a sexual abuse Survivor is a never-ending struggle, never-ending fight to prove to others, never ending circle of pain and disappointment, and dealing with it is not easy. The sexual abuse Survivor doesn’t understand himself sometimes and cannot find the words to describe all the emotions and feelings he is going through. He wishes he doesn’t feel this way and he wishes just to wake up one day and forget everything, and start over his life. Impossible, right? With all this on your mind, it is not easy to believe someone else understands you really. He seems to be so distant from you sometimes, and even like he is not present. Why is that? The self defense mechanisms work like this-not thinking about the problem, or not talking at all and not getting attached to anyone saves you from pain and disappointment again. This is of course not a real solution of the issue, but a victim of abuse rarely realizes it and keeps it going on for years. He doesn’t really believe you love him for who he is because he doesn’t really love himself and cannot accept the person he had become. The image of who he could have become if the abuse never happened to him is always on his mind. He wants to be that imaginary person without a painful past, he wants to turn the time back and do something to prevent the abuse, to rescue his own life now knowing what followed the abuse, knowing what kind of a life he is living and what kind of a person he is. Admitting or not, he blames himself for what happened to him and even though he knows it is not his fault he does not really believes he deserves to be loved or that he is going to be ever really happy. This is all the aftermath of the abuse. Only...

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Moving Beyond Child Abuse Without Alcohol

Moving Beyond Child Abuse Without Alcohol

RISE welcomes Melissa, Public Relations Coordinator for St. Jude Retreats, a residential retreat program for those looking to overcome alcohol and drugs. Melissa offers her perspective on why so many survivors use alcohol to escape the trauma of abuse and how to break this cycle. Experiencing child abuse, whether sexual or physical, can perpetuate trauma throughout a person’s life. In their teen and adult years, the abused child may display acts of outrage, anger, or even act out abusively toward others. Can these acts of violence against a child cause them to become alcoholics? According to a recent study, 31% of the 196 patients in an alcohol treatment program were exposed to child abuse at some point in their lives. So why do victims of abuse turn to alcohol? Child abuse victims often drink to seek relief from their troubled lives. People can have very high expectations of alcohol – it can remove stress, take away problems or make them forget their sorrows. Unfortunately, these effects are only temporary leading people to drink to oblivion in an attempt to permanently numb themselves to their pain. In many cases, people justify this choice to turn to quick relief–based solutions rather than tackling their emotional issues head on. Over time, this expedient method of addressing painful situations becomes their practiced method and thus the “alcoholic” is born. By turning to alcohol at those crucial, difficult moments in life rather than fully solving their problems, few adequate paths leading out of their current situation are ever created. Some will begin to actually define themselves by their fight against the injustices of their painful lives (while remaining unwilling to change it). Mentally, it may be hard for child abuse victims to talk to a therapist about incidents that occurred in the past. The memories may be too vivid, or cause extreme stress or anxiety. Turning to alcohol, or other “addictive” behaviors, creates a self-limiting perspective that can keep the person at a constant low level of satisfaction or happiness. Often this “low value happiness” creates an empty feeling of wanting more while offering the person a simple, temporary happiness that allows them to avoid dealing with the larger issues. They give up looking for problem-solving options and cycle endlessly through painful emotional events, relationships and circumstances and accept this as the standard. Relief is truly the counter force to pain, whether it is physical, emotional, or mental. This cycle of low value happiness can be broken. It is possible to move past these destructive habits and attain a better level of happiness, creating new possibilities and an overall better outlook on life. The person must be willing to change, mature and problem solve...

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The Aftermath – You Can Win This Battle Too

The Aftermath – You Can Win This Battle Too

What happens to us – the sexually abused children – while and when we grow up? How does the abuse affect us? We often have difficulties trusting other people and we are always cautious. We sometimes cannot really love another person, because we just don’t know how. We are likely to use drugs, alcohol, pills etc. just to forget the abuse and to escape from the stress and pressure in our life. We can easily fall in love (with our image of love actually) because deep within we want to be loved too. We are likely to go into casual sexual relationships because we want to have positive sex experience and to forget the bad one. We get easily depressed, frustrated or desperate because we don`t really powerful and strong enough to manage the life challenges. We are likely to hate sex sometimes because we connect the thought of it with the abusive sexual experience in the past. We often think that nobody understands us because we cannot be completely honest to anyone. We often think we are not pretty/handsome or clever or strong enough and this is the reason for our low self-esteem sometimes. We often feel helpless and we are likely to believe that life is unfair because the abuse happened to us in the first place. We often end up in bad or abusive relationships because we are always looking for love, and sometimes in all the wrong places. We are likely to be abused again in our adulthood because we already have the “victim-thinking” and we think nobody can help us, or we are sometimes just promiscuous which leads us to dangerous social relationships again. We often do not understand what’s the reason for the many mistakes we have done in our life. We often live our life feeling guilty for what happened or because we didn’t tell about it. We are constantly afraid that probably our silence made others to suffer (other possible victims of the abuser), and that we didn’t prevent this from happening to others. We are likely to feel constantly ashamed of ourselves in case our body actually responded to the abuse, not realizing that this is just a physical body response to sexual stimulation. We often don’t think that it was really an abuse, especially if it was not physically painful. We are likely to minimize the damage and the facts. We sometimes try to forget the abuse by trying to keep our minds busy – reading, writing, movies, sports or other causes. We are likely to get involved in “bigger” causes – political, animal rescue, Red Cross volunteering etc. – and this is something like a “rescuer-syndrome.” When helping...

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Why Children Don’t Tell

Why Children Don’t Tell

There are many possible reasons why children do not report the sexual abuse. These are some of the reasons why sexually abused children never tell, and in fact the silence is what empowers the abuser. Children don’t have the language for it, they don’t know what is sex, touching, penetration. All this is a completely new thing for them and they just don’t know how to describe it. Children don’t make a difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Children are usually warned by their parents not to trust strangers, but in fact only 5-6% of the sexually abused children are abused by strangers. In all the other cases the abuser is someone who the child knows, a parent, a relative, a family friend, a teacher, a coach, a priest. Children don’t realize this is an abuse and a crime if it does not cause them physical pain. Children feel guilty if they feel physical pleasure, which is just a natural body response to the sexual stimulation, but physiological pleasure does not mean an emotional pleasure, and this is difficult for children to understand. Children are ashamed of the abuse, and of themselves in general. Children are afraid that if they tell everyone will blame them for the abuse. Children believe the abuse was their own fault, because they did not do anything to stop it. Children think this is something that happens to all children. Children think no one will believe their story. Children are afraid of being punished, rejected, or not believed. Children believe they might be hurt even worst by the abuser if they try to resist. Children are afraid for themselves and their families, in case that the abuser is aggressive and threatening. Read more blog articles… Read our Commenting...

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How They Made Us Remain Silent

How They Made Us Remain Silent

If you are a survivor of a child sexual abuse, you will recognize the words of your abuser in some of the following sentences. All abusers use a range of tactics to keep children silent and to make sure they will never tell. “This is our secret.” “I would never hurt you. I love you.” “This is just a game, there is nothing wrong with it.” “You make me do this.” “It is your fault.” “You want this.” “You enjoy it, see – you like it.” “Nobody will believe you if you tell.” “You are not innocent any more.” “You are not God’s child any more.” “You belong to me.” “Your parents will hate you and will leave you if they find out.” “You or your family will be hurt if you tell.” “You will be taken away from your family to a foster care where this will be happening to you again.” “You will ruin your family if you tell.” “You can trust me. I am the only one who cares about you.” “I love you. This is why I do this to you.” “This is how you express your feelings when you love someone.” “You are old enough now, every child have to go through this in a way to grow up.” “We are friends. All friends play such games.” “Everybody will think that you are gay if you tell.” “Everybody will think that you are a whore if you tell.” “Nobody will love you ever if they know your dirty secret.” “You are dirty now, you have to be ashamed of yourself.” “If you do not tell, I will stop.” “If you tell, I will do worst to you.” “You deserve this, you have to be punished for being a bad child.” “I am only trying to protect you from others like me, because out there there’s worst than me, so you can be only safe with me.” “I am the only one who understands you.” “I am the only one who loves you.” “If you do not obey, you will be hurt.” “Do not be a bad girl/boy. Do what I tell you.” “If you don’t do what I tell you, I will tell your parents/friends/family/teachers etc. ” There are many reasons for children to justify their silence. Depending on the tactics used by the abuser, every child sees things differently but the common thing is that usually children don’t tell anyone about the abuse until they grow up. And even then most victims remain silent. And it is a fact that most of the child abuse cases are never reported and are kept in the shadows of victim’s mind forever because of the ”successful”...

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