For adults who have a history of abuse and trauma from their childhood, one of the leading reasons that few are able to seek help isn’t due to a lack of access to resources. Instead, many suffer from a lack of clarity regarding their abuse history, or wondering why they don’t remember periods of their childhood at all.
Many abuse survivors are slow to come forward with their child abuse experiences, neglect, and trauma due to a common cognitive issue that many face: confusion.
Trouble With Defining Child Sex Abuse
Commonly, many believe that childhood abuse and trauma is strictly related to the act of sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, this limited understanding of child abuse experiences can lead many victims to believe that they were never really abused because they were never victims of sexual acts.
However, as child abuse survivors continue to report their experiences to mental health professionals and medical experts, the definition of child abuse continues to grow. When working with adult patients, I define child sexual abuse as any contact between an adult and child for sexual stimulation that results in gratification or pleasure of the older party at the minor’s expense.
Within this definition is the sexual act itself, but it can also include exhibitionism, child pornography, and fondling. As the definition broadens, many child abuse victims will begin to realize that they have experienced a range of abusive behaviors – and have never realized their abuse took place.
OTHER FORMS OF ABUSE
Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that sexual abuse is only one form of Childhood Abuse… Not being cared for by parents with an open loving heart is serious for a child … it leads to severe feelings of unworthiness and profound sense of aloneness. Talking harshly to a child, striking out physically or emotionally can undermine their proper development. Children who are not treated with respect, kindness, compassion, warmth and reliability may feel miserable in adolescence and adulthood and have no idea why.
Coming Clear From Abuse Confusion
The reality of confusion surrounding past abuse is not the abused person’s fault, but rather the fault lies with the abuser who developed manipulative behavior and communication with a child who was unable to recognize what was occurring. In many cases, the abuse that occurred caused no pain or discomfort for the child as they recognized it due to strong defenses – instead, the victim only realizes that the abuse occurred once they are exposed to other abuse examples. In other instances, the anger and threats to hide the truth from others can severely inhibit a child – leading to a child desiring to please the abuser to avoid further anger, or it can lead to the victim feeling overwhelmed and confused and not knowing why.
Overcoming confusion and helping victims healthfully move through their abuse experiences is an essential part of the healing process. My practice is focused on helping individuals with a history of abuse find hope and healing through proven therapeutic methods that address confusion to help those who are discovering their abuse occurred.
The discovery of child abuse in your past can be a difficult, shocking, and often traumatic experience for individuals who have been victimized. The process can be hard to move into and through, which is why working through your past experiences with the help of an experienced, licensed mental health therapist is vital to the healing process.
Whether or not you have discovered that you may have been victimized as a child, but do experience a sense of confusion related to your history, I hope you will reach out today. I am ready to help you work through the stages of healing from your abuse. Please feel free to contact me today to set up an initial consultation.