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Sexual Abuse Recovery-Freeing The Hostage covers the popular myths about sexual abuse, how to face the abuse and learn to deal with it, and how to move on to recover a normal, healthy life.

Sexual Abuse Recovery-Freeing The Hostage

As survivors of rape or child molestation, it's normal to suffer for several months to a few years, depending on the severity and duration of the abuse.  This suffering can include flashbacks, nightmares, impotence, overactive sex drive, depression, anxiety and much more.  Add to this suffering, the fact that, as an adult, you're expected to engage in normal sexual activity which is almost certain to bring back frightening and sickening memories.  Unfortunately, due largely to the popular notion that people can't recover from such sexual trauma, many sexual abuse survivors suffer years and even decades beyond what is necessary for healing.  This article is for survivors who were abused in the past and are ready, not to face their suffering and deal with it, but to put it in the past, so they can live a happy, normal life.  Here are some recent popular books on sexual abuse recovery.

Three Popular Sexual Abuse Myths:  The most popular myth is the one that says people don't recover from sexual abuse.  It isn't true!  Millions...easily the majority of sexual abuse survivors recover to live a normal, healthy, satisfying life...even a normal and satisfying sex life.  I'm one of them!  So are most of the abused people I've counseled over the years...both men and women.  One woman I counseled was still suffering at age 60 for a single molestation that happened in her early teens.  It isn't necessary!  I have a scar on the bottom of my foot from when I dropped a glass jar at the age of five.  I jumped up to avoid the broken glass and landed on a large piece, driving it deep into my foot.  I remember the incident vividly, as anyone would, although it was 47 years ago.  Just because I have a scar and emotional memories of the trauma, doesn't mean I haven't healed.  It's possible to heal from sexual abuse, too, but if you believe you can' won't.

The second popular sexual abuse myth is the one that goes, "You have to pull the scab off, re-experience the pain and drain the emotional wound, in order for it to heal without festering."  This may be true for the first year or two after a severe trauma but, years later, it isn't any more healthy to revisit that pain than it would have been for my Mom to keep pulling the scab off of my healing foot.  It prolongs the pain and opens us up to complications, like infection.  The only case where reopening an emotional wound makes sense is when the trauma wasn't faced and dealt with at the time, so it's reappearing as a new dysfunction (like when an adolescent who was abused as an infant begins acting out).  Even in these cases, you face and deal with the problems and emotions and get them behind you.  If I think about it hard enough, I can still see my mother's bruises and bloody face...still see my father beating her...still hear the screams and feel the fear and hurt from over 40 years ago. How does reliving all that heal me from those emotional wounds? Sure, I had bad dreams for a few years and get a flashback every now and now, but those emotions are well in the past and I'm going to keep them there. I will not trade in my scar tissue for open wounds.  We'll get to how you move on in a moment.

The third popular myth says, "if you confront your abuser, you'll get closure and be able to move on."  I only know of 2 families where the abuser has voluntarily sought forgiveness and received it.  In every situation I've heard about or counseled, confronting the abuser has resulted in more pain and suffering for the survivor, more strife in an already dysfunctional family, denial and/or more threats and abuse by the abuser.  Except in extremely rare cases or relatively minor abuses, the only interaction between the abuser and survivor should come in a courthouse, to keep the abuser from hurting anyone else.

Facing And Dealing With Abuse:  Now that we've discussed the myths, facing the fact that you were abused and learning how to deal with it are much simpler.  Now you know you can heal, you don't have to constantly replay the pain and you don't have to experience the trauma of confronting your abuser  in order to heal.  There are 3 things that you need to drill into your mind so you're ready to move on:  It happened!  It's not my fault!  I will recover!  That's really all there is to facing and dealing with the fact you were abused.  Just because it's simple, doesn't make it easy.  It could take a few weeks to a year or more of constant effort drilling it into your head before your emotions start lining up with these three facts.  In very severe cases, professional counseling and anti-depressants are needed for you to begin accepting these as facts.  Once you've gotten to the point where you accept that it happened, it isn't your fault and you will recover, you're ready to move on.

Concluded at Sexual Abuse Recovery-2 

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