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Overcoming Abuse – emotional, physical, sexual

Experiencing abuse as a child, young person or adult can leave deep wounds, which can lead to feelings of despair and difficulties in our present life and relationship experiences.

It can be a lonely and confusing experience – usually abusive situations have been inflicted on the individual by someone known to them (family member, friend or career) and expressing this has been shut down by the group e.g. family dismiss or minimize the experience. This deepens the emotional and psychological pain for the individual.

Often the incredible hurt, sadness and anger is suffered in silence as experiencing abuse is accompanied by difficult feelings such as shame about having experienced a shame-inducing event. Part of the healing is letting go of self-downing ways of speaking to ourselves and finding a more compassionate internal voice. It is also about coming to terms with very difficult situations without personalizing them (holding ourselves responsible for actions that were not our responsibility). In so doing, we let go of the feelings of shame, which are not ours to carry.
 
Counselling can support you in healing from abuse – in the following ways:

  • Sharing your experience can free you from the sense of being locked into someone else’s secret and shame
  • It helps to process the experience so that it becomes less emotionally charged
  • The individual is no longer stuck in denial and feels more true to themselves
  • Mindfulness can support the individual to manage the physical symptoms which can be associated with sexual or physical abuse e.g. vaginismus
  • The individual establishes a more self-compassionate and supportive way of taking care of oneself
  • Avoidance behaviours used to numb out of the difficult feelings associated with the abuse are lessened (e.g. binge eating or abusing alcohol)
  • You may support others who can then openly share their experience (though this is not the goal of therapy!)
  • You re-connect or connect for the first time with your real sense of self – physically and emotionally (Ann is also a qualified EMDR Trauma therapist and integrates the work pioneered by trauma recovery specialist, Dr Peter Levine in her work)
  • It leads to making better choices for healthier (non-toxic or abusive) close relationships
  • It leads to less co-dependent behaviours with others
  • Sharing honestly about our hurt and our loss tends to lead to an increased feeling of self-empowerment

 
Ann Bracken is an experience trauma recovery psychotherapist. To book your e-counselling with Ann Bracken, MA, Grad. Dip. – Click the button below

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Helpful Support Numbers – for crisis support

United Kingdom
Rape Crisis Centre – Freephone 0808 802 9999
Lines are open 12noon-2.30pm & 7pm-9.30pm every day of the year
http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/centres.php

Ireland
24 hour help-line support for individuals in distress
www.samaritans.org/your-community/samaritans-work-ireland/samaritans-branches-ireland

Australia
Website outlining support lines for adult and children. http://www.health.nt.gov.au/hotlines_and_helplines/index.aspx
America
Call 1.800.656.HOPE
www.rainn.org is the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network website for information & help