How to Come to Terms with Abuse
Have you hit a point where you're asking how to come to terms with abuse?
It can hit like a brick wall because depending on what we experienced, it seems impossible.
It's asking how to forgive, move on, and heal when we're still reeling from the shock and anger of how something like that could happen.
How could we have been so let down?
How could God - or any higher power - allow it to happen?
And why does it get overlooked so much?
I want to tell you that I feel you because the above questions ran through my mind a million times before. In fact, it was because of my traumatic past that I felt every reason to believe that higher powers didn't exist; because if they did, they sure as hell weren't looking out for me!
You know that thought already, don't you?
But that's just the point you're at now... which brought you here. I want to shift away from those dwelling thoughts and share what's helped me to come to terms with abuse so that I could begin to recover.
How To Come To Terms With Abuse
Step 1: Recognize the abuse for what it really is
There's a reason therapy/counseling is a good place to start. Talking through the reality of your experiences and getting comfortable with being honest about it helps you to come forward.
Did you know the cases of abuse are widely unreported across the board and across the globe?
The reasons for this vary:
- Not being in a safe enough situation to get out of an abusive home/relationship so that one can avoid potential consequences from reporting it.
- Being manipulated and controlled so that one is led to believe there is no abuse or mistreatment.
- Being threatened and abused anytime one uses their voice; leading them to believe it would all be a secret that they would take to their graves.
I could go on with examples, but all lead back to scenarios that ultimately mean there are many victims that are unable to speak up about it. In the case of a sexual assault, victims can't help but consider what their coworkers, friends, and family will think/assume when they hear this happened to them.
Even when victims know it's wrong, there's an emotional battle and internalized threat of what could happen if they report it.
That's why talking to a therapist is a good start! Not only can you be completely honest in a safe, confidential space, but they will help you to come to terms with the reality of your past. Any therapist will also be able to point you in the direction of resources that can help you with your particular situation, so don't be afraid to ask!
Step 2: Address the abuse in a way that works for you
Even when we get down the road to working up the confidence to report it, we often find out the entire process only revictimizes us. We have nothing to look forward to but years in court, battling it out, all while knowing that there's a possibility the assailant will never be charged with a crime.
A lot of people (myself included) back out of the process once we're briefed on this; albeit, with an assurance that this is another reason why a lot of abuse goes unreported and unrecorded. The police believed me. They took an hour-long recorded statement, on top of the interview I did, but all to come down to this final disclaimer. This is more true of reporting past crimes, but it's an unfortunate reality for all situations where there's no evidence and witnesses. And since a lot of abuse is of the mental and emotional capacity (another reason victims don't immediately register it as being "abuse"), we know full well that there are only compelling arguments to try and prove it.
This is why it helps to rope back around to any form of therapy that will help you personally.
Journal. Scream. Rally. Seek help for any addictions or bad habits you've needed as crutches. Don't stop - just do anything that works for you while being true to your personal truths.
As angering as it is, this is exactly why there are so many resource helplines and centers out there. At the end of my time with the police, I was redirected to these resources even though I had already utilized them.
And... this is exactly why I took the rest of the recovery journey into my own hands, which brings me to the last step.
Step 2: Open up to healing from abuse
I remember a time when I wondered how I could possibly move on when I couldn't officially address the problem. If your anger and rage has you wishing to lock up your abuser and see the key thrown away, then believe it or not, you're ready to heal!
What it boils down to is being open and honest so that you can do the healing work needed.
Speaking up and owning your truths? Check. Being ready to do something about it? Check!
Now we just need that final stage that will help you to break away and begin your new life - one where you're not looking over your shoulder and actually feel free.
Seems like a dream, doesn't it?
But it's not. It's not going to happen overnight, and it's going to take determination on your part.. because the reality is that this type of recovery includes peeling back layer after layer that's been placed on you. These layers - from emotional wounds, to physical & deep-rooted scars, to mental distortion and false beliefs - have prevented you from being your true self.
These layers can also prevent people from remembering certain experiences. But as you go deeper with healing, they are revealed as it comes up and gets addressed.
It might sound scary, but it's not... because complete healing is within reach!
And believe me - it gets easier and easier to heal each layer. I guarantee you that the next layer is easier to deal with than the last! And because you've already done one, you know what to expect with the others.
Open your mind to the possibilities of ALL options that can provide healing. Some may surprise you because they might not be abuse-based at all, but the experience alone will provide a revelation. Even simple, seemingly straightforward personal development will aid you in your abuse recovery.
And if you're ready for a holistic and spiritual-based approach to complete this healing journey, consider The Rise of the Phoenixes program! It has been designed based entirely on my own trauma healing journey and includes several courses of recorded classes, meditations, workbooks, homework, and - of course - my support. I would be honoured to be your mentor and shoulder to lean on. :)
Ashley Tilson is a Holistic Trauma Recovery Specialist that helps victims of abuse who are struggling with PTSD triggers, addictions, and the inability to safely feel free and happy. Her methods of guiding clients to heal their inner child, heal sexual wounds, rewrite their mindset, eliminate & reduce triggers, and realign with their highest potential see them emerge as phoenixes ready to start a new life!