One of the most difficult impacts for women who have experienced traumatic child abuse in their past is the ongoing effects of their trauma. From consistent and disruptive mental, emotional, and physical manifestations of their abuse, women can also experience a variety of issues related to their ability to interact socially with others.
For many women, the relationships that they build with other women in their lives is vital to their healthy and productive growth and development. The friendships of a mother, other female loved ones, and friends are essential to helping them learn how to trust, invest, and relate to those in their lives.
Unfortunately, for women who have been the victim of child abuse, the cords of trust that build into valuable friendships over time can become frayed and loose. Sometimes, the trauma can be so severe that they are unable to maintain long-term, close relationships with other women at all.
In a survey of 192 women ranging in age from 18 to 25, researcher Alessandra H. Rellini at the University of Vermont studied the responses of women who had self-reported abuse in childhood. Asking questions that varied from their ability to regulate their emotions, commit to long-term adult relationships, and engage in healthy sexual partnerships, the study found that the more severe the trauma experienced in childhood, the more likely a woman was to report dissatisfaction with their adult relationships – especially those with women – throughout their lives.
Trauma is a powerful and tragic experience that can damage an individual’s ability to cognitively connect and build strong relationships with others. The fear and anxiety of being abused again – even when done subconsciously – can cause a wide rift between a woman and those in her life. Added to these difficulties are the realities of ongoing mental health issues related to child abuse and trauma – such as panic disorders, social withdrawals, depression, and manic episodes. All of these manifestations of a history of trauma can lead to ongoing struggles to build and maintain adult relationships for women.
Thankfully, there is hope for women who have been victimized as children. My practice is experienced in helping individuals with a history of abuse find hope and healing through proven methods of care.
In my years of working with women who are recovering from child abuse and neglect, I know how hard it can be to open up about past hurts. However, with the right steps in place, you can begin a journey of healing that will help you begin to regain lost time and build new relationships.
Are you struggling with finding and maintaining solid adult relationships due to past childhood trauma and abuse? Contact me today to learn more about how therapy and counseling can offer healing for your past and hope for your future.