Getting Help After Abuse
In light of the recent attention brought to abuse, specifically sexual abuse, most notably from the Jerry Sandusky trial and his conviction, maybe it is time to seriously address the long term devastation abuse causes in the lives of millions of people around the world. As has been highlighted in the Sandusky case, young men now in their late 20s and early 30s are still feeling the guilt and shame of the abuse they suffered at the hands of their abuser. Much of this pain surrounds their knowledge that they made a choice to keep silent and this silence possibly led to other young boys experiencing the same abuse. These thoughts, this guilt, this type of shame are very difficult to overcome. Peace of mind and a clear conscience is what abusers/perpetrators steal from their victims forever.
Abuse is never forgotten. (More after the video!)
As we have seen in the video clip, abuse comes in a variety of forms. Abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, or in the form of neglect. Typically, abuse will incorporate a number of these forms simultaneously and the effects are devastating. Especially when abuse is inflicted on a child early in life, children learn how to cope, make sense out of the abuse in order to survive their reality. Human nature’s instinct to survive is a powerful one even to the point of making excuses for the abuser or believing that it is somehow the fault of the one being abused. Our need to belong and to know that we matter is a powerful driving force behind our willingness to accept the abuse as if it is something we deserve.
Perpetrators of abuse know this fact to be true and use it to satisfy their own selfish desires and needs. While it may be true that many abusers were abused themselves, this fact does not in any way justify the actions of the abuser. The damage and long term detrimental results on the abused person continue long after the abuse has stopped to affect the life of the recipient of the abuse. For example, girls that grow up seeing their fathers verbally abuse their mothers tend to marry men who may verbally, emotionally, physically or emotionally abuse them. On the other hand, little boys who grow up in these types of homes tend to grow up and become abusers themselves because of the behavior modeled by their fathers.
Individuals who have suffered any form of abuse may have difficulty being in intimate or close relationships as a direct result of having their trust violated by a person in a position of authority or by someone they felt was supposed to be in a protector role. Both males and females who have experienced sexual abuse, either overt or covert, may begin to see their sexuality as the only way to establish an identity and therefore become promiscuous or predatory as a way to connect with others.
It is vitally important to remember that there are no degrees of abuse. ABUSE IS ABUSE! And the effects of abuse will manifest in some dysfunctional pattern of behavior at some point in the future. The most prevalent method people use to address their abuse is through the use of drugs and alcohol to numb or medicate away the memories associated with the abuse. Nine times out of 10, a person with a substance abuse problem or addiction has at some point in his or her past experienced some form of abuse, the trauma of which is trying to be medicated away.
Abuse and the resultant trauma are the source of much of the mental stress we see in counseling offices each and every day. It may be a simple as looking at the source of the issue a person may be experiencing to find the abuse or trauma that continues to create discomfort, pain, conflict, difficulty, unrest, and turmoil in a life. If you or someone you love is tired of fighting the same demons in life over and over again, call today to get the help you are looking for.