If you are a teen or adult who survived sexual abuse as a child, you may be confused about what happened.It may still be affecting your life in negative ways even if it was a long time ago.You may feel like you won’t get past it.If you accept what happened, seek help, and take care of yourself, you can heal from childhood sexual abuse.
Step 1: You have to admit that it happened.
It can be difficult to convince yourself that the abuse didn’t happen or that you are remembering things wrong.It can be hard to admit to yourself that you were sexually abused as a child.Sometimes sounds, smells, phrases, and words can evoke memories of abuse.It is possible that the memories are incomplete or confusing.Keep a journal.You might want to write about how you feel after being sexually abused as a child.It will help you heal if you tell yourself that you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.You should be aware of how prepared you are to recover from your trauma.
Step 2: Understand your feelings.
You may have differing feelings about what happened, your abuser, and the people that were in your life when it happened.You will heal if you useMindfulness techniques to process your feelings without allowing them to consume you.If you want to accept your feelings, you have to label them.You could say, “I am feeling scared.”It is not a good feeling.You should separate yourself from your feelings.You are more than what happened to you as a child.Don’t try to force the feelings to go away, just be aware of the process your mind and body go through.
Step 3: Don’t blame yourself.
People who have been sexually abused as a child feel ashamed.You may feel like you deserved it or that you could have prevented it.This isn’t the case.Regardless of what a child does, they don’t deserve to be abused.You can’t heal if you blame yourself.It is not the victim’s fault that sexual abuse occurs.Accept that guilt is a normal response to childhood sexual abuse, but it does not mean you are guilty of doing anything wrong.I am not to blame for being sexually abused.My guilty feelings are just feelings that will go away as I heal from this.
Step 4: Discuss your relationship with your significant other.
Sharing what happened to you with your partner can help you heal.They can support you in ways that you are most comfortable with if you talk with them about it.They will understand you better because of that.Try saying something like, “I need to talk to you about something from childhood that may affect me and our relationship now.”Tell your partner how you feel about being intimate.Discuss what is okay and what isn’t.They can help you if you say, “I’m okay with hugging and kissing, but I don’t want to do more than that right now.”When you attend a support group, be with you when you tell your family or cook dinner.
Step 5: Tell those who are close to you.
Childhood sexual abuse can make you hesitant to tell anyone what happened.You may be afraid that no one will believe you or that they will be mad at you.Don’t be afraid.Sharing what happened with them will allow them to support you and give you a sense of relief which will help you heal.Your friends and family love you.Professionals are available to help.If you want to build up your confidence, you need to practice what you say in the mirror.You might want to say something like, “I’m going to tell you something that is very difficult for me.”It is up to you whom you tell, because only you can figure out who will listen and help.It could be prevented from happening to someone else by telling others.
Step 6: You should seek a therapist.
People can be affected differently by childhood sexual abuse.Some survivors have a few negative effects.Depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may be experienced by other survivors.A therapist can help you process what happened and teach you how to heal from it.There are some successful treatments and strategies for childhood sexual abuse.There are effective strategies for addressing childhood sexual abuse.If you suffer from nightmares, panic attacks or other effects of sexual abuse, your therapist may prescribe medication.Whoever you confide in, whether a friend or therapist, should have an attitude of respect for where you are in the moment.There shouldn’t be any implicit demand that you get over your pain and realize you were abused.
Step 7: Community resources can be used.
There are many resources for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.These organizations, groups, forums, and websites help you heal by linking you with people that have experienced sexual childhood abuse and/or know how to cope with it.There are support groups for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.Check with your religious organization if they offer any services or resources.Links to websites and lists of agencies that support survivors of childhood sexual abuse are provided by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.
Step 8: Don’t forget to educate yourself.
It can help you understand what happened, why you feel the way you do about it, and what the long-term effects may be.It is possible to educate yourself and teach you techniques that can help your healing.You can read about how others have healed from childhood sexual abuse.Ask a professional what educational resources they recommend.
Step 9: You can increase your self-esteem.
You may have feelings of being worthless or bad.There are negative effects of childhood sexual abuse on self-esteem.Increase your self-esteem by doing things that make you feel good about yourself.You can keep a list of good and bad things in your journal.It’s a good idea to read over and add to the list on a regular basis.Look in the mirror and remind yourself that you are not a victim.When negative self-thoughts sneak into your mind, catch them and recognize them as a result of your abuse, not reality.
Step 10: Have compassion for yourself.
You may be angry at yourself for letting what happened affect you.Encourage self-talk and be patient with yourself as you give yourself a break and heal from the abuse.Think about how you would respond to a friend.How would you show that you care?What words would you use?How would you act?You should treat yourself the same way you would a friend.Give yourself the same comfort and reassurances.You are healing from a traumatic event.It will take time, but you are a survivor and you can do it.
Step 11: Take care of your body.
It can be hard to work through the trauma of being sexually abused as a child.Chemical changes in your body can be caused by the things you are remembering and feeling.Take care of your health so that you don’t have any problems.Balanced meals are good for you.Eating disorders can be developed by survivors of sexual abuse.Your body knows when it is time to sleep if you have a nighttime routine.It may be a sign of depression if you find yourself sleeping more than usual.It is possible to relieve tension, improve your mood and reduce stress by doing something active.
Step 12: Have fun.
Don’t allow your abuse to ruin your life.Do things you love.Having fun will help you see the positive in life, reduce stress and anxiety, and help heal from what happened.Research shows that laughing can relieve stress.Go dancing, draw a picture, get ice cream, hike with your sister, and enjoy your life.