Sexual abuse is something very common, even though not much spoken about. Until today there still is a certain taboo around the subject of sexual abuse, and it is often times related to feelings of shame and guilt. From what I have seen, this leads to the one of the main difficulties sexual abuse victims deal with, which is the confusion around boundaries and what is right and what is wrong.
Symptoms and Signs of Sexual Abuse
A lot of people who have suffered from sexual abuse, experience flashbacks, difficulty sleeping at nights, signs of depression, a feeling of helplessness, lonelyness, emptyness and have difficulty functioning in their daily lives. Often times they walk around with a feeling of being overwhelmed by life and even daily tasks can be difficult to impossible to deal with. At times there can be a sense of constant overwhelm and severe difficulty of dealing with everyday life, whether at home, in relationships, or at work.
From my experience, the sexual abuse, like all trauma, is not only stored and registered in the mind, but also in the cells of the body. The body remembers the abuse and has an automatic response to it, which means that the effects of the trauma will express themselves in different ways in your life.
I have seen that some victims of sexual abuse remember what happened to them, whereas others only have a sense, or knowing that something happened, but cannnot remember what. Others on the other hand, have no recollection whatsoever, but have a deep knowing that something has gone awfully wrong in their lives.
Case description from the clinic
Y came to me for treatment for a period of 9 months. When she first came in she had no recollection whatsoever of having been sexually abused. Her main complaint was that she constantly felt invaded from the people around her. She felt that she had no boundaries of her own and that anyone could control her with his thoughts alone. In return she also felt like she was crossing the boundaries with her thoughts regarding the people around her. She felt confused and scared and had the need to take herself out of social situations, as she felt unprotected and constant guilt and shame at the same time.
Already during her first session she recovered her first memory of her sexual abuse. Through breathing and relaxation exercises she was quickly able to relax and with the help of guided imagery then listened in to her body. I guided her to scan her body and tell me what she felt and what it looked like. Through the guided imagery and listening in to her body, she was easily able to access the trauma. Then I gently assisted her in recovering the memory, while she was able to release the pain and go through an extensive healing process.
Week after week she continued recovering more and more memories and with time was able to feel and set her own boundaries, both inside and outside. She started to understand and make sense of the dynamics in the relationships with her close ones and people from the past, and as a result was able to heal.
R came to me feeling completely disconnected and in complete disarray with her life. She was in an abusive relationship and felt helpless and confused. At that point in time she had no recollection of her childhood sexual abuse. Shortly after we started working she began to start making sense of her life and was able to leave the abusive marriage she was in, and take her life into her own hands.
M came in with feeling completely victimized by life. She had a knowing that she was sexually abused as a child, even though she had no memories at all. Throughout her life she had gone through 3 divorces and felt extremely helpless and hopeless.
During the treatment, with the help of breathing and relaxation and guided imagery, she was gently able to go back and recover the traumatic memories and events of her early childhood years.
The more memories she recovered and processed, the more peace of mind and strength she found to deal with her everyday life.
K was diagnosed with cancer and came to me for treatment. He felt scared, weak and confused. His mind was very busy working at all times and he had many stories to tell. During the treatment, I at first started out with a lot of healing work, while he lay fully dressed on the massage table. Furthermore, we worked a lot on breathing, relaxation, paying attention and listening to what was happening inside his body, both physically and emotionally. Eventually with the help of guided imagery and the listening skills he had acquired, he was able to access the traumas he had gone through as a child. After about 6 months his memory of the sexual abuse he had suffered, began to surface. He went through an extensive healing process and was able to recover and find renewed balance in his life.