The pain of child abuse is almost unbearable. Struggling with pain and a number of toxic mindsets are what may keep us from healing.
When you’ve experienced child abuse, you understand how each day is a challenge. Not only do you have to deal with life’s present responsibilities, but you also have to fight with the past. No, it’s never good to dwell on past occurrences, but being a survivor of child abuse is a whole other struggle.
Reasons why the victims of child abuse cannot heal properly
I’ve made many attempts at healing from my abuse as a child. I have written my story, stayed busy, and even poured support into my children. Nothing I do seems to quell the entirety of the pain that I feel.
Unbeknownst to me, I was in the wrong mindset in many ways. In fact, there are many negative mindsets which can hinder progress in this area. I recently learned this fact. So, I will share with you what I have learned in hopes that we can heal together.
1. No resolution
This first one is a tough one. I will just start by saying, “I’ve never reported my abuse to the authorities”. I believe this is my worst mindset and blockage when it comes to healing. Yes, I have told relatives, friends, counselors, and even strangers in my memoir, but I have not found closure.
Once upon a time, my parents told me to let it go. They said that my confession would only tear the family apart. So, since I loved my family, I let it go…for a while.
However, it never went away because it was not settled properly. I knew, that as long as I never contacted proper authorities, the abuse could possibly continue with someone else. I am now, once more, faced with the decision that I know to be right. How about you?
2. You feel dirty/crazy/inadequate
Depending on the type of abuse you’ve suffered, understanding the implications will help you understand how you feel about yourself. For instance, if you endured sexual abuse, you may feel dirty or less than human. If you endured emotional abuse, you may feel as though you are “crazy”.
Remember that these are lies. If you can come to terms with these lies for what they are, then you can start to heal in this area. Child abuse takes many forms and all forms damage your self-image.
3. Pain is comforting
Now, bear with me because this one might be a bit more difficult to understand. Did you know that you can be in pain for so long that grow accustomed to the sensation of pain? It can be so comforting that happiness will actually scare you. You then become trapped. You’re in torment, unable to fully heal from child abuse.
After all, the pain has been around for years, even decades of your life, so it’s understandable that this pain seems like home. Don’t let it fool you, the pain will eventually destroy you completely if you let it.
4. Trust is lost
If you suffered from child abuse, then you understand how hard it is to trust others as an adult. The reason why it’s so hard to trust is that you feel like everyone will be similar to your abuser. No matter what people say to you, you won’t believe it as long as it contradicts how you were treated as a child.
Trusting others when you’re a survivor of child abuse is one of the hardest things to do. Thus, healing never seems to happen.
5. Changes in brain structure
Adult survivors of child abuse also have trouble healing because of a literal mindset. I refer to the changes which occur within the brain after abuse. It’s different according to the type of abuse as well, as the cortex will show signs of thinning in regions of the brain which correlate with the emotions felt from the abuse.
Even more so, the amygdala can increase in activity, and there will be a noted decrease in the size of the hippocampus, cerebellum, and the corpus callosum. It’s outrageous how many areas of the brain can actually be affected by this type of behavior toward children. There’s no wonder why healing is so difficult.
How can we help, and how can we heal?
Survivors of child abuse have a hard road to travel. It’s true, healing from this horrific experience is never easy. We have to learn how to trust again, see ourselves in a positive light, and even seek closure during the healing process. And as you know, closure oftentimes temporarily opens old wounds before resolution.
If you know or love someone who has been abused as a child, you will learn patience first. The symptoms of child abuse with a person who hasn’t completely healed will be overwhelming. However, everyone deserves a chance at a good life, and so healing is important to all of us.
If you are a survivor of child abuse, I urge you to seek support and help. The road of healing is long and hard. It’s best if you have someone help you along the way. Let’s all take a look at these reasons for blockages in our own personal healing processes and find a way to overcome these obstacles. I send love to you all.
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