Adult Survivors of Childhood Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse
Over the years I have helped many adults who experienced abuse as children. We generally begin the therapy by looking at the type of abuse the person suffered as a child. These include physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
What is Childhood Physical Abuse?
- Severe physical punishment
- Beating, slapping, hitting or kicking
- Pushing, shaking, throwing
- Pinching, biting, choking or hair-pulling
- Terrorizing with threats
- Observing violence
What is Childhood Sexual Abuse?
- Sexual Acts with A Child – Intercourse, sexual fondling, rape, oral sex, sodomy
- Child Pornography – Making a child engage in this practice
- Child Prostitution
- Violations of Bodily Privacy – Spying on the child in the bedroom or bathroom, forcing a child to undress inappropriately
- Exposing a Child to Adult Sexuality – Forced observation of sexual acts, pornography, dirty jokes
What is Childhood Emotional Abuse?
- Ignoring – Withdrawal of attention, rejection, neglect
- Yelling or screaming
- Belittling – Telling a child that he or she is “worthless”, “no good”, “bad” or a “mistake”
- Shaming – Humiliating or name-calling
- Habitual Blaming
- Using extreme forms of Punishment – Confining to a closet, tying to a chair, etc.
The above list is not neat or comprehensive. Abuse definitions can vary and certain forms of abuse can overlap.
Child abuse can have severe effects on the present day life of adults. Some of these are:
- Constant fear and anxiety. The world feels like a dangerous place
- A lack of self-esteem
- Difficulty with relationships, especially close ones
- Problems with normal day-to-day functioning
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Employment Problems
- Physical impairments, insomnia, eating disorders, gastrointestinal disorders
- Strong feelings of anger and shame – people feel the abuse was their fault
My Treatment Model
I have certain practices that have come from my years of experience, training and study of the research into childhood abuse.
Looking at the Unique Person – No two people are alike, and I gear my treatment model to the particular needs and resources of the individual.
Going Slowly – I usually go quite slowly with people who suffered abuse. Trust is necessary and going too quickly can make people feel revictimized.
Using the Strengths of a Person – During therapy I work together with a person see their strengths and develop them. It is these strengths that enable a person to recover from abuse
Telling the Story/Breaking the Silence – Again, I go slowly and encourage the person to gradually tell their story. Another part of this involves helping a person deal with the feelings that come up when they tell their story.
Linking the Present to the Past – I help a person understand how her or his past has affected their present life.
Developing New Coping Skills – Victims of abuse often find coping with life difficult. I help them develop new coping skills.
Teaching Calming Methods – Abuse victims suffer great anxiety. It is important to help them learn relaxation and calming methods. I teach them mindfulness and other self-awareness methods that promote calming.
My experience and research have shown me that there are many people who have suffered childhood abuse. For a variety of reasons such as shame, depression, despair or resignation, very few people seek help for this abuse. If you are one of these people, please consider that a better way of life is possible. Childhood Abuse doesn’t have to last for a lifetime