Group Discussion

Healing from Abuse

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My Healing Steps … FREEDOM FROM PAIN include:

The following are a few of the steps I used to break away from pain and self destructive thoughts and repeated negative behavior.

The Survivor Diaries

– A day to day diary to keep you on track, help you heal, help you take care of yourself, and help you acknowledge the painful emotions you are feeling.

Where Was God When I Was Abused?

– Have you ever asked yourself that question without finding the answer? It is important to re-unite your personal relationship with our Father/Mother God and understand how certain religious training paints an unrealistic belief regarding the power of God’s Love.

Finding Your Voice:

– Learn how to recognize “triggers” that cause fear, suppress your true feelings, and cause you to feel unworthy and afraid of authority.
– Drawing a new line of boundaries that help you learn how to take care of yourself.
– Learn effective ways of communicating

Survivors Bill of Rights

As a Matter of Personal AUTHORITY You Have the Right …

…to manage your life according to your own values and judgment

…to direct your recovery. You do not need to answer to anyone or place an expectation on the offender in regards to your moving forward.

…to gather information to make intelligent decisions about your recovery

…to seek help from a variety of sources, regardless of someone else’s opinion.

…to decline help from anyone without having to justify the decision

…to have faith in your powers of self restoration, sovereignty, and to seek allies who share it

…to trust your self, your own intuition, to think for your self and trust your ability to create healthy relationships

…to be afraid and to avoid what frightens you

…to decide for yourself when and how to confront your own fear

…to learn by experimenting, which includes making mistakes and learning from them

…to know you are NOT a victim and have the right to stand up for your own beliefs

For the Preservation of Personal BOUNDARIES You Have the Right …

…to be touched only with your permission, and only in ways that are comfortable

…to choose to speak or remain silent, about any topic or at any moment

…to choose to accept or decline feedback, suggestions, or interpretations

…to take appropriate action to end any trespass that challenges your boundaries.

In the Sphere of Personal COMMUNICATION you Have the right …

…to ask for an explanation of communications you do not understand

…to express a contrary view when you disagree

…to acknowledge your feelings without having to justify them.

…to ask for changes when your needs are not being met

…to resolve doubt without deferring to the views or wishes of anyone.

Specific to the DOMAIN of Psychotherapy you Have the right …

…to hire a therapist or counselor as coach, not boss, of your recovery

…to receive expert and faithful assistance in healing from your therapist

…to be secure against revelation of anything you have disclosed to your therapist, unless a court of law commands it

…to have your therapist’s undivided loyalty in relation to any and all perpetrators, abusers, or oppressors

…to receive informative answers to questions about your condition, your hopes for recovery, the goals and methods of treatment, the therapist’s qualifications

…to have a strong interest by your therapist in your safety, with a readiness to use all legal means to neutralize an imminent threat to your life or someone else’s

…to telephone your therapist between regular scheduled sessions, in urgent need, and have the call returned within a reasonable time

As victims of childhood sexual abuse it’s important to know:

1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.

2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which either holds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.

3. Sexual abuse has influenced all parts of our lives. Not dealing with it is like ignoring an open wound. Our communication style, our self-confidence, and our trust levels are affected.

4. Putting thoughts and feelings related to our abuse “on the back burner” does not make them go away. The only way out is to go through these emotions and process them.

5. Our interest in sexual activity will usually decline while we are dealing with this early trauma. This is because:
— we are working on separating the past from the present.
— pleasure and pain can sometimes be experienced simultaneously.
— it is important for us to be in control, since control is what we lacked as children.
— sometimes we need a lot of space. Pressuring us to have sex will only increase our tension.

6. We often experience physical discomforts, pains, and disorders that are related to our emotions.

7. We often appear to be extremely strong while we are falling apart inside.

8. There is nothing wrong with us as survivors — something wrong was DONE to us.

9. Sometimes others get impatient with us for not “getting past it” sooner. Remember, we are feeling overwhelmed, and what we need is your patience and support. Right now, it is very important for us to concentrate on the past. We are trying to reorganize our whole outlook on the world; this won’t happen overnight.

10. Your support is extremely important to us. Remember; we have been trained to hold things in. We have been trained NOT to tell about the abuse. We did not tell sooner for a variety of reasons: we were fearful about how you would react, what might happen, etc. We have been threatened verbally and/or nonverbally to keep us quiet, and we live with that fear.

11. Feeling sorry for us does not really help because we add your pain to our own.

12. There are many different kinds of people who are offenders. It does not matter that they are charming or attractive or wealthy. Anybody — from any social class or ethnic background, with any level of education– may be an offender. Sexual abuse is repetitive, so be aware of offenders with whom you have contact. Do not let them continue the cycle of abuse with the next generation of children.

13. We might not want or be able to talk with you about our therapy.

14. We are afraid we might push you away with all our emotional reactions. You can help by: listening, reassuring us that you are not leaving, not pressuring us, touching (WITH PERMISSION) in a nonsexual way.

15. Our therapy does not break up relationships – it sometimes causes them to change as we change. Therapy often brings issues to the surface that were already present.

16. Grieving is a part of our healing process as we say goodbye to parts of ourselves.

You are NOT alone and have the right to heal each and every fragmented piece of your identity.