The “Trust Problem”

The “Trust Problem”

Well, nothing new if I say that one of the aftermaths of child sexual abuse is the constant lack of trust and difficulty to open up to others. It’s a long battle with yourself how to learn to let people close to you, how to be honest and how to share. Yes, you are a grown up, but the abused child still lives inside you. And this child still remembers. The trust issue persists because that child’s been betrayed by those, whom it believed and trusted and they were the ones who hurt that child the most. Abusers are usually people who the children know and trust. Once betrayed this way in an early age, the abused person learns a lesson: “Don’t trust, don’t open up because nothing good comes from it. Protect yourself by not letting others close. ” And this belief stays in the adult’s mind. You may be 30 or 40 years old but deep within you are that child, and you don’t feel that self-worth that others feel. And you don’t feel so confident when you depend on someone, or when you open up to someone. You always have this little voice telling you: “Be careful you might get hurt. ” How can we change that? How can we learn to trust? By trusting. Yes, trusting and letting someone get close to our psyche can bring us disappointment. This happens also to people who have never been abused. And compared to the childhood trauma of betrayal we have once experienced, nothing seems to be so difficult to manage. Weird but what happened to us, as abused kids, can really make us in a way stronger than other people. Some issues and problems that others classify as a big dramas, to us are just much easier to get over with. Because we’ve already been through much more, and more difficult times. And we survived. And we are still here. And we function. So trusting others is not such a great challenge when you think about it. You just have to try. You just have to give it a chance. Meeting another disappointment may be unpleasant, but not risking and staying hidden in your shell won’t bring you happiness either. If you don’t risk, you cannot lose anything, but you cannot win too. And by risking to come out of your shell, you may win a lot. You may find great friends, you may find love, you may find understanding and companionship, unknown to you till this moment. You may find what was missing in your life. A shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold, a smile to brighten your day, eyes to see your future...

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Choose Love Over Hate. It’s Just as Simple.

Choose Love Over Hate. It’s Just as Simple.

The one you love: When you love him, you want to give him the world. You want to share the world with him. He IS your world. You want to be his world. You love him and you wish that he loves you back. You see his eyes in your mind when you wake up and you imagine his smile when you close your eyes and go to sleep, and you wish he does the same for you. You are willing to be his friend, his lover and his everything and for you he is just enough. You don’t need anything and anyone else to be happy. And you wish he needs nothing else but you too. He is the one you choose to love, he is the one you dream of, he is your love. And in life you can meet just one person who shows you why it never worked out with anyone else before. He is the One you love. It’s just as simple and it’s so beautiful. The one you hate: When you hate him, he abducts your world. You don’t want to share your world with him, he even doesn’t deserve to be in your world, but he is there, pretty much breathing the same air like you. You hate him and you wish he never happened to you. You didn’t choose him. You didn’t choose what he did to you. And you didn’t choose him to be that dark part of your past. You though see his eyes sometimes in your dreams and his twisted smile when he comes back to your thoughts. He is still there, and you know he will be never really gone. He is a part of you that you wish never existed. The thought about him is just enough to make you sad, angry and weak. The image of him is just enough to make you cry. The thought about how he stole the “possible you” is just unbearable. He is the person who abused you. And you hate him. He’ll be never really gone from your heart, and the pain will always be there no matter what you do. And in life you can meet just one person who can really break your heart this way, and forever. He is the One you hate. It’s just as simple and it’s horrible. Can we really choose between them two? Love or Hate? Can we just replace hating one, with loving another? Can we just fight and win over the one who broke us, just by having someone who makes us happy and loved? Can we just fill our hearts with love over the hate? Yes, we can. The...

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“I am Not What Happened to Me, I am What I Choose to Become”

“I am Not What Happened to Me, I am What I Choose to Become”

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung Studying for my upcoming History of Psychology exam I discovered this thought of Carl Jung, the father of Analytical Psychology. Though this quote made me think more about the Humanistic view, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers self-actualization theories, and this is how I apply this view to ”our“ issue –surviving child sexual abuse:   Yes, it happened to me. But does it need to determine my life, myself and my future? Humanistic theory in Psychology says that we all are who and what we choose to become, that we are capable of amazing things once we discover our full potential. This is the iceberg of a person’s life – the so called self-actualization, “the greatest motivating force in personality” like Carl Rogers calls it. Self-actualization is the highest level of psychological health. A psychologically healthy and fully functioning person is the one who is capable to open to all experience, the one who has a tendency to live fully in every moment, the one who has the ability to be guided by his instincts rather than by reason or the opinions of others, the one who has a sense of freedom of thought and action… So let’s face it-we didn’t choose to be abused, we can fight this and we can become who we want to be, we can live a great and exciting life, we can influence others and help them recover too, and all this only if we look deep inside in ourselves and find that motivation To Be! The humanistic view suggests that we are capable of amazing things when we realize our full potential, that we are capable of self-actualization when we choose our paths and face the life challenges trying to make the best of them, and grow from every set back. The self-actualization is the greatest goal of every person and every person builds his own “destiny.” Only then we can become fully-functioning individuals, capable of helping others too, and doing amazing things in our life. Dalai Lama says: “With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” Mahatma Gandhi says: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Charles De Gaulle says: “Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so.” William James says: “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” John Thomas Salley says: “Tough times never last but tough...

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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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