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By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC

Finding the words to say you were sexually abused can be extremely difficult. Describing the events that happened to you can be painful and heartbreaking. However, I truly believe you should tell your story and that sharing your story will significantly impact your healing.

First of all, you must tell your story in a safe place. A trusted family member or friend, someone who will respond with empathy – that is, thinking of you, not them – is a great choice. I also have had the privilege to hear many client’s abuse stories over the years. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone in your daily life, perhaps counseling is the place to let your story out.

What happens when I tell my abuse story?

1. You are no longer alone. We were never meant to carry these heavy heartbreaks on our own. I really believe that a huge part of healing is connection. We need emotionally healthy relationships with each other. Abuse isolates you, it shames you, it keeps you cut off from others. Don’t let that shame win. Reach out and allow someone to be with you in your healing.

2. You will realize not everything you think about your story is true. I don’t mean you are remembering what happened incorrectly. I mean that your interpretation of what happened is likely skewed. All of my clients that have told me their abuse histories need to hear me say, “It’s not your fault.” Looking my clients in the eyes and getting to state this truth is one of the best parts of my job. I hate seeing abuse survivors live crippled by this lie. You might be holding on to thoughts like the abuse was your fault, or you should’ve known better, or why didn’t you tell sooner? You are not to blame for any of these things. If you tell me your story, I can help you pick out these lies and throw them away!

3. You can start to completely heal. If you cut your arm and don’t clean it out, it doesn’t heal well. It probably gets infected, which just leads to more pain. The same is true with your abuse story. Healing comes from cleaning out the dirt, the infection, the pain. If you don’t get the bad stuff out, you can’t fully heal. Your abuse experience is likely affecting your own sex life now, your relationships, and how you trust other people. Tell your story to allow yourself the space to heal and heal deeply.

I understand telling your abuse story can be scary and overwhelming. I am here to help you find the words and strength to let it out. I don’t want you to live stuck in the loneliness, lies and pain anymore. Please call me today to schedule an appointment and let’s get starting telling your story.

For further reading check out these articles:

3 Mind Altering Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse on the Brain

Living Lonely: We Aren’t Meant to Be Islands

How One Woman Found Freedom From Emotional Abuse in Her Marriage