By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC
As a trauma counseling specialist, I see again and again how easy it is for people who have experienced abuse to get stuck in their pain. Often people aren’t even consciously aware how the abuse effects their lives today; they just know they are hurting and lonely. Many abuse survivors don’t share their story. Either they tried, and no one believed them, or the fear of saying the story out loud is just too overwhelming. By the time they come to our office, they know they need help, they can’t continue to live with the pain.
Sadly, most abuse survivors believe they are worthless, unlovable, and fear being close to other people. These are all normal responses to any abusive situation. However, to live stuck in these lies essentially lets the one who abused you have the power. You can’t change what happened to you, and it absolutely was not your fault. You do have control over what you do now.
What should you do now? You need to take steps towards healing. When you choose to work on healing and learning how to enjoy your relationships, you take back your power. Whoever abused you does not win. You go on to have an emotionally healthy life, you overcome, you find joy again.
I understand if you think this seems impossible. Part of experiencing a trauma is feeling like you have no control. However, I know you can take your power back. Here’s how:
1. Tell your story. Your story matters, it’s important, and a major step in healing is letting it out. Find a trusted friend or family member, and tell them your trauma story. If you aren’t sure who to tell, find an experienced trauma therapist. Any quality therapist will be glad to talk with you on the phone to make sure they are a good fit for you. You need to share your story.
2. Identify the lies on repeat in your head. Experiencing an abusive situation leads people to believe lies about themselves. Most often these lies are it’s all my fault, I brought it on myself, I am unlovable, bad things will keep happening to me, I couldn’t protect myself, I am unlovable, or other related thoughts. You will likely need the help of a PTSD counselor to help you in this process.
3. Consider how these false beliefs effect your relationships. If you believe bad things will keep happening to you, you likely struggle with anxiety, and maybe even skip out on doing things you would normally enjoy. If you believe people will always hurt you, you might retreat and keep yourself cut off from others. We were made to truly connect to each other, so isolating yourself from others is not how you were made to live.
4. Learn new skills to change those false thoughts and your behavior. A PTSD specialist can help you learn to see things from a new perspective and pull those lies out of your head. With the help of a safe relationship with your therapist, you can take small risks to learn to reconnect to the people in your life that matter most. You will experience new levels of healthy relationships, and experience joy again, or maybe for the first time.
Start PTSD Treatment in Montgomery County, PA
At Lime Tree Counseling, our quality therapists specialize in PTSD & Trauma recovery, including emotional abuse (also narcissistic abuse) and sexual abuse. Katie Bailey also offers EMDR, which is a specialized trauma therapy. We want to help you on your healing journey, and will work with you at your own pace to reclaim your power. Contact us today to set up a free phone consultation or to schedule an initial appointment. Don’t wait another day to take back control of your life.
Our team at Lime Tree Counseling also offers anxiety therapy & marriage counseling.
We are here to help you!