Posted On 25 Jun 2018
Have you ever experienced sexual abuse? Do you know that the negative experience you had may still be affecting you in the present?
In my practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I discovered that many women, and even some men, experienced sexual abuse. As I counseled the clients, they became aware of the negative decisions they had made from their sexual exploitation. In fact, many years later those painful thoughts were still affecting their lives in negative ways.
Some of the symptoms that it still influenced their lives were low self-esteem, avoiding dating, struggling in their relationships, not enjoying their sexuality, hiding their physical beauty, shyness, and doing everything to please others.
I included 14 hurtful thoughts that caused the above symptoms that I heard from many of the clients of all ages. Can you relate to any of them?
14 Negative decisions based on sexual abuse include:
1) I feel shame.
2) I am bad and dirty.
3) I am not safe in the world.
4) I can’t trust men not to hurt me.
5) My parent or parents betrayed me because they did not protect me.
6) I can’t trust people I love to be there for me.
7) I should have stopped it.
8) Sex is painful, dirty and wrong.
9) Men want me only for my body.
10) I feel guilty because it felt good.
11) I feel different than others; I am an outsider.
12) I have to hide my secret so people do not judge me.
13) I have to do what others want me to or I am not safe or loved.
14) It is not safe for me to get attention from men.
For example, Susan was molested by her father. As a result, she hated men and that affected all her relationships with the opposite sex. She also was very cute, free- spirited and loving as a child and that is when her father started to molest her. Her decision was many of the above negative beliefs, as well as it is not safe to be free, happy and shine. She just did what people wanted to stay safe. Her self-esteem was very low and that affected her social interactions and professional success. To stuff her pain, she overate and was obese.
Her mother knew but did nothing to protect Susan. (Mothers often cannot deal with the rejection so they deny it, and may also be afraid of their partners.) To help Susan, I suggested that she imagine her mother in front of her and say, “You did the best you could with the information you had, I forgive you.”
Then I helped Susan release the other negative thoughts based on her negative experiences, and she felt much better, began speaking up for herself, and her relationship improved.
By the way, sexual abuse is one major cause of weight issues. Nancy told me that whenever she was thin, men made sexual comments and she did not feel safe. The weight is her wall of protection. “Helene, she said, “I have to make myself unattractive with my unattractive hairstyle, baggy clothes, and fat, for the men to leave me alone!”
Can you relate to Susan or Nancy? If you do, it would be very beneficial to release those hurtful decisions, so that you can enjoy a healthy and happy life.