Recovering from an experience like sexual abuse isn’t an easy path. The effect that such a traumatic event has on your well-being isn’t regained overnight. However, with enough patience and work, you can learn to heal eventually.
The trick to rebuilding yourself after experiencing sexual abuse is to remember that whatever you’re feeling is a normal response to trauma. There is no right or wrong way to react to sexual abuse.
There may be moments when you question everything. You may even blame yourself. However, your feelings of helplessness are symptoms of what happened to you. You can learn to take back control by putting the following techniques to use.
Tell Someone That You Trust
A common reaction to sexual abuse is feeling ashamed about what happened. It’s not unheard of for victims to feel like not talking about the incident will make it feel like it didn’t actually happen.
However, the truth is that you can’t move forward if you hide what happened. The first step to moving forward is to tell someone who will be supportive of you. In some cases, people may not have anyone that they feel they can trust. If this sounds like you, then consider telling a therapist. They’ll have the tools to be able to give you the support that you need.
Join a Support Group
One of the most common reasons why you may be feeling helpless is because you feel like you’re alone. Joining a support group with other people who have experienced the same trauma as you can help you feel less isolated. Not only does it provide an accepting environment of people you can identify with, but you may find that they have valuable advice and information that will help you cope.
If there are no support groups in your area, then you should consider joining an online community. Even a digital community can provide incredibly valuable support.
Prepare Yourself For Flashbacks
When you experience something like sexual trauma, it’s normal to have flashbacks that trigger the event. You may find that certain people or places bring you back to the moment you suffered the assault.
In some cases, it may just be an unsettling feeling, whereas, for some victims, it’s much more intense. In more serious cases, victims may develop long term conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you notice that you start to feel flashbacks in particular situations more than others, prepare yourself ahead of time, and watch your body for clues when you’re starting to feel unsafe.
Give Yourself Time
To recover, you need to give yourself time to heal. Rushing into life again without giving yourself a moment to readjust could be disastrous. Not only does rushing yourself into recover, put yourself at risk, but others as well. Take your time!