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 and rescuing others we try to do what nobody did for us. We wish there was someone to rescue us when we needed help.
- We sometimes feel sad for no actual reason. This happens because our life is a constant internal fight and a battle that we cannot win(because we cannot really forget).And this is just so exhausting,so sometimes we don`t need a reason to be sad right now,because we have bunch of reasons in our minds already.
- We often feel angry, even we can be aggressive-verbally or physically because so we become stronger, empowered and by becoming aggressors ourselves we think we control everything, we are finally in charge of our own live (and of others). And then we are the person in control, not victims any more.
- We often hate authority and all authority figures because they represent the power and the rules,which we don`t want to follow, we don’t want to obey any more. And becoming revolutionists we are in control, we chose our fate and we are empowered.
- We actually just want to forget the abuse,we wish there was a “delete memory button.” We wish we could turn back the time like the abuse never happened, and in a way to do this even without realizing we use psychological self-defense mechanisms such as denial. We deny it happened for years. We don’t admit it happened even to ourselves by just not thinking about it. By repressing the memory for it, we bury the abuse deep in our mind, knowing it is there but because we don’t want to remember it. One day it becomes almost “forgotten.”
- We are likely to repress the memory so deep that we are sometimes completely not aware of it for years. Sometimes a “red flag” reminds us the whole thing-this can be a smell, a song,a photo, a sentence, a movie, a life situation or whatever makes the memory about the abuse to surface.
- We are likely to pretend that we are someone else. We sometimes try so hard to make others believe we are the “super-image of ourselves-the ones we actually want to be.This can be a mask of happiness, power, control, success, faith…but the truth is this is not the real self, this is not who we are.Sometimes behind the mask of a happy,powerful or successful person is hiding the same suffering child who we still are.
- We are sometimes afraid to become parents ourselves because we are likely to believe that if we were unable to protect ourselves in our childhood, then we will not be good parents and we will not be able to protect our children as well..
- We often believe we can win this constant battle only by seeing the abuser punished-behind bars,rejected from the community, suffering, hurt or even dead. And because we rarely can see this happening we are never really able to get peace and to believe in justice.
- We sometimes have nightmares – in our childhood and in our adulthood too such as that we are being hurt, stalked, abused again…or that we are jumping off the bridge for example – this represents the constant battle, our unconscious trials to escape from the monsters of the abuse that we carry.
- We are likely to be unfaithful because we can easily get emotionally involved but also so easy we can be unable to keep this feelings.
- We are likely to give up when we have difficulties-at work,in education, in relationships, or in other life-situations. We are somehow tired always to fight and sometimes we just don’t want to fight any more.
- We are likely to victimize ourselves in everything – love, friendships, work, etc. It’s that we don’t believe we are strong enough to win every battle because we have one battle we have never won-with the memory of our childhood abuse.
- We are likely to get detached from family and friends because the secret, the shame and the guilt make us think we don’t deserve their support, or we we just will never admit to them about the abuse, which will distance us from our loved ones as well.
- We often blame the people who didn’t support us when we needed to be rescued. We blame them for the abuse because we believe they had the power to prevent it from happening or make it stop. But actually if they were not aware, they cannot be blamed. And we know this, which leads us to blame ourselves, but not the real abuser only.
- We are likely to misunderstand emotions, or to recognize the real emotions and intentions of others-for example we can misunderstand a small gesture of attention and comprehend it as a sign of love and attraction. The reason for this is that we deep within need a life-saving boat to escape from bad times and to bring us like a magic to happiness, love and good times. Or on the other hand – we minimize acts of violence or aggressive behavior towards us or others, For example, we think a bad word is nothing compared to the abuse we suffered so we don’t think it’s too bad (while in fact it is said with bad intentions).
- We are likely to be very sensitive to everything that happens around us. And we can get really sad or depressed even because of something not so important, something that other people will just not give attention to.
- We are likely to try to prove ourselves in everything and to create ”competitions” in our minds – we sometimes try to be the best in everything and when we cannot achieve that, that makes us feel really down and disappointed of ourselves.
In some of these statements I recognize myself, and if you are a survivor of child sexual abuse,in some of them you’ll recognize yourself too.
It’s very important to comprehend that these issues are common issues for most sexual abuse victims .
You are not alone.
And you can win this battle. Like I won it too.
When you admit the truth and when you admit the issues that you might have as an aftermath of the abuse you suffered, you do the first step to healing.
You cannot solve a problem if you do not face it.
Now, face it and fight it, you are empowered to do it.
Like I did it too.