The long term psychological effects of childhood abuse – whether sexual, physical or emotional (verbal) – can contribute to making you feel ashamed, bad, unloveable, and in the case of sexual abuse – dirty. When you’ve been a victim of childhood abuse, it can be difficult to trust anyone or to give or receive nurturance. You repeatedly test people. You feel different. It’s as if there is something terribly wrong with you, and if people knew the real you, they would flee. You may be drawn to relationships that are abusive because they feel familiar. Perhaps it’s not even possible to imagine a healthy relationship.
If you recognize any of these feelings – you are not alone.
Childhood abuse – whether it’s sexual abuse, physical abuse or emotional abuse – can affect your self image, self confidence and your ability to have intimate relationships as well as your ability to enjoy sex and/or your need to use sex as a weapon. It can affect your work. In fact, childhood abuse can permeate every area of your adult life.
You do not have to feel shame, guilt or anger anymore. You can learn to trust your emotions and feel safe in the world – perhaps for the first time. Healing from abuse is not an easy journey. It takes enormous courage. But the alternative is a life of self-doubt and emotional isolation. Let me take this journey with you. I understand.
Recognizing Abuse In Children
For those of you who think that your child or another child might be a victim of abuse, there are signs of abuse to look for. If you suspect a problem talk to your physician or call the Department of Children and Family Services.