You're not a victim, you're a survivor. You've been through a battle which you didn't start yet you have scars and wounds that won't heal.
Trauma usually comes in three forms, physical, mental or sexual. Of course it could be a combination of two or all of them but unless that trauma is resolved then you could be left feeling vulnerable, fearful, struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. You may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again or you might be emotionally stuck at the time of the abuse making it difficult to move on with your life.
An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:
It happened unexpectedly.
You were unprepared for it.
You felt powerless to prevent it.
It happened repeatedly.
Someone was intentionally cruel.
It happened in childhood.
Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood, sustained abuse or struggling with cancer.
Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Sometimes abusive behaviour does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it’s still unhealthy. Examples of physical abuse are:
Scratching, punching, biting, strangling or kicking.
Throwing something at you such as a phone, book, shoe or plate.
Pulling your hair.
Pushing or pulling you.
Grabbing your clothing.
Using a gun, knife, box cutter, bat, mace or other weapon.
Smacking your bottom.
Forcing you to have sex or perform a sexual act.
Grabbing your face to make you look at them.
Grabbing you to prevent you from leaving or to force you to go somewhere.
Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.
There are many behaviours that qualify as emotional or verbal abuse:
Calling you names and putting you down.
Yelling and screaming at you.
Intentionally embarrassing you in public.
Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family.
Telling you what to do and wear.
Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you.
Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behaviour.
Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from breaking up with them.
Threatening to harm you, your pet or people you care about.
Making you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activity.
Threatening to expose your secrets such as your sexual orientation or immigration status.
Starting rumours about you.
Threatening to have your children taken away.
Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do. It can also refer to behaviour that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including oral sex, rape or restricting access to birth control and condoms.
It is important to know that just because the victim “didn’t say no,” doesn’t mean that they meant “yes.” When someone does not resist an unwanted sexual advance, it doesn’t mean that they consented. Sometimes physically resisting can put a victim at a bigger risk for further physical or sexual abuse.
Some think that if the victim didn’t resist, that it doesn’t count as abuse. That’s not true. It still is. This myth is hurtful because it makes it more difficult for the victim to speak out and more likely that they will blame themselves. Whether they were intoxicated or felt pressured, intimidated or obligated to act a certain way, it’s never the victim’s fault.
Some examples of sexual assault and abuse are:
Unwanted kissing or touching.
Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity.
Rape or attempted rape.
Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.
Keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed “yes” or “no.”
Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity.
Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex or perform sexual acts.
Repeatedly using sexual insults toward someone.
The response to unresolved trauma / abuse
Here are a few commonly experienced symptoms of trauma:
Shock, denial, or disbelief
Anger, irritability, mood swings
Guilt, shame, self-blame
Feeling sad or hopeless
Confusion, difficulty concentrating
Anxiety and fear
Withdrawing from others
Feeling disconnected or numb
Each unique individual has coping mechanisms for the trauma/abuse they have suffered. These can include drugs, alcoholism, intense fear, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, weight fluctuations, withdrawing from society, feelings of helplessness, inability to sustain a relationship, poor relationship choice and others.
Can you change?
YES! I'll say it again, YES! The way you are feeling now is not fixed - with the gentle and effective techniques we use we can release your trauma and help you move forward to a healthy, productive life, a life which you DESERVE!
So don't wait a moment longer. Take your first steps to being the amazing person you were born to be!
Everything that you share with us is treated with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity.