Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Memories From Sexual Abuse

There are a number of effects that stem from sexual abuse: aggression toward others, dis­trust of others, poor social skills, emotional with­drawal, running away, criminal behaviors (such as prostitution), depression, anger, fear, anxiety and suicidal tendencies. As the victim of sexual abuse, you likely have been emotionally injured in one or more of these ways. You need the lov­ing help of others to be healed. If you have kept your abuse a secret, some more than 20 years, or have not sought the help and counsel of others, now is the time to speak up and get the help you need. It is incredibly painful and difficult to cope with the memory of sexual abuse. There are a couple of things that may be helpful as you face the pain of your own sexual abuse.

You may experience a wide range of emotions as you recall the pain of your experi­ence. You may feel false guilt, shame, hopelessness and even anger because of what happened to you. You may cry like you have never cried in your life when you first admit to being abused. You may feel emotionally drained and exhausted. And you may get intensely angry at the situation, at the person who abused you, at the person(s) you think should have protected you (a parent, an older sibling, etc.), or even at God for allowing it to happen. It is important to understand that all these feelings are normal and natural. It is the way God wired you. Your emotions are a built-in release valve to help you handle the deep inner pain. Of course, there are both productive and unproduc­tive ways of expressing these emotions.

Victims of sexual abuse should be encouraged not to bottle up their feelings, but to let the grief flow out. This response reflects Jesus' words in Matthew 5:4: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Mourning is the process of getting the hurt out. You admit how bad you feel and let your tears flow so others can share your pain and weep with you. This is God's design for blessing you and beginning to heal the deep pain that accompanies a painful experience. It is good and necessary that you experience the different emotions that come at this time.

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