Counselling for childhood abuse
Abuse in childhood brings many adults to counselling support and quite rightly, but often not until many difficult years of trauma through denial and lacking understanding of the impact of it.
If this is you, take that necessary step now.
Talking to someone - a professional who has no agenda for you in their life other than to help and support you. Someone who can gently draw those harsh memories out to the light of day and help you to understand how they impact you now, so that you can learn ways to reduce the negativity and ongoing pain this causes you today.
It will affect your self-esteem - value to the world, as you believe you deserved it in some way because carers, parents who should have loved and protected you, didn’t.
It will affect your self-confidence because you were prevented from exploring your own abilities and potentially using your natural talents and preferences effectively in your life.
It has affected trust in relationships - thwarted the opening up and sharing that is necessary for a healthy relationship (for fear of being hurt again) or a twisted revenge relationship that hurts everyone involved and cannot be happy e.g. controlling, narcissistic, bullying, co-dependency with other toxic people again.
Abuse in the past holds you back from trying new things, needing to feel safe and familiar rather than exploring and even calculated risk-taking. You have already been through so much with your defence mechanisms, the fight/flight reactions and constant stress that as a teen and then adult, has become a part of your everyday life.
It also, therefore, affects your physical health and well-being mentally.
A counsellor may be the first person you have trusted with your feelings and memories, the emotions evoked by the reminders and the fear of overwhelm that comes with that. Many people will feel scared of what the 'fall out' will be if or when they open up these wounds.
Yet counsellors are trained and generally, naturally able to support this and 'hold' these difficult problems with you, in a safe space, for a time, so that you can pace the opening up of it in a more controlled and comfortable way. The lack of agenda that family or friends can bring is daunting too, unable to share such private, personal things and fearing judgements of yourself or your tormentors; and also, the fear of upsetting them and causing them 'harm' through what you share causes you to hold it inside where it 'eats away at you'.
That phrase of 'eating away at you' actually relates more than likely to the effects of stress on your body and mind - the constant chemical/hormonal changes that the fight or flight reaction brings with it, the impact of these 'eating' away at your body causing problems on your organs and muscles, (ulcers, heart attacks, panic attacks and eating disorders); your support mechanisms and protective reactions that you need to survive are restricted and the onslaught of thoughts whirling through your mind constantly create anxiety over and over again.
It's not a good place to be. You can pace this step towards counselling support by first, as you are now, thinking about it and looking at how you can manage it.
Then choose someone locally or via an online platform that offers the chance to read therapist's profiles before you approach them, even with advice there too.
Pick up the phone, or if that is still too hard as yet, e-mail them to make the initial contact - or they won’t know you want support and need their help. A short quick note to explain what you need and find out their costs and locations, availability that they can then contact you about. This gives you the chance to 'get a feel' for the fit between you - what they offer is what you want and need, a chance to start to open up and get that initial fearful step out of the way.
Then you can choose a timescale you want - day or evening appointment, online, telephone or face to face, and maybe how many sessions initially you want to commit to. The cost will need to be considered, but the value will actually be priceless.
You are never the same when you learn something new, when you have a different experience than before, so each time you take steps forward you are growing stronger and more effective, as well as in knowledge and understanding yourself and your needs to be met.
Don’t just 'wrap it again and put it away' when you are not first understood. Part of the therapy is to unfold it slowly, carefully and lovingly - loving yourself for once - and bring it out each time to share a little more so that you both understand what you've suffered and struggled with.
Keep going. It will be worth it in the end.
You deserve the peace of mind and body that counselling can bring for you.