What help can I get from therapy if I’ve been abused?
A trained and caring therapist will give you a chance to be heard, believed, and cared about in a safe and non-judgmental setting. For me, figuring out my past felt like putting pieces of a puzzle together, and there were always missing pieces. I needed a safe person to help me. During my childhood and much of my young adult life, I worked very hard to stuff the pain, the rapes, the people, and the emotions inside. At about age 29, the memories and feelings started popping up like the Whack-a-Mole game at the arcade. It felt like I had the mallet in my hand and I was whacking it all back down, but my past began popping up faster than I could manage.
When I tried to check out what I was remembering with family members, there was either denial, blame, or a challenge. “You weren’t 3 years old when we lived on Grant St. You were 4.” I needed someone to remind me to be patient with myself and not get stuck on exact details. Some memories will be stored in strange ways and that’s what helped me survive.
Another benefit of counseling is having someone to help you challenge any lies you believe about your past. Abuse breeds shame and guilt. Lies take residence in our mind and a good counselor can help you challenge your false beliefs. The truth is, it was not your fault; you are not bad; you are not dirty; you are precious and most importantly, you are lovable!
The most important part of therapy is the intimate, yet safe, relationship. Make sure you find someone who you feel comfortable with and who has safe boundaries. You are precious and deserve to be well cared for.