There are various stages during counselling.
For example, when your relationship with your counsellor has reached a point where you feel you are able to talk about what has happened to you, you may find reliving these memories is painful and overwhelming. This is usual, you are not going mad or crazy, you are just reacting normally in response to abnormal events in your life. Your counsellor will take you gently through this process. Tears can also be part of healing and if you feel like crying do so. You may also experience flashbacks or unusual physical sensations in your body or find yourself spacing out for a time in order to avoid these painful memories. Whilst all of these may be distressing at the time please remember they will not go on forever.
It is also important not to minimise what has happened to you and please don’t blame yourself instead put the blame where it belongs. You do not have to forgive your abuser. Instead, try writing down the following words and if you can, read them out aloud as many times as you need to:
I separate from you and your harm, your shame and your humiliation.
I trust that my higher power will reckon with you in an appropriate manner.
I hold you absolutely responsible for your actions.
I am strong enough to move beyond revenge
I let you go.
You may also feel anger towards your abuser(s) and if you do, you need to get in touch with this anger, let it go and move on. Your therapist will help you to do this. On the other hand you may be intensely ashamed of feeling rage because you believe that emotion could only belong to a ‘bad’ person or because you fear the consequences of expressing it. You may avoid anger and situations that evoke anger and perhaps when you do feel angry you recoil in shame and disgust. Perhaps you may also feel ashamed and disgusted when you have thoughts of being cared for and see this as being needy or dependant preventing you from accepting help for important needs.
Underlying your anger could be sadness. Many men and women who have had their childhood taken away from them because of abuse often experience this sadness and if this is happening to you, you may have to grieve for this loss before finally moving on.
Once the anger and sadness stage has passed you may find that you are nearing the end of your therapy and are looking to the future. Sometimes this can be the scariest bit of all because this is somewhere you have never been before – all that baggage you have been carrying around with you from the past has disappeared and for the first time in your life you are experiencing a wonderful sense of freedom. Realising that you are finally in control of your own life and now have choices is amazing.
Perhaps you would like to go to college and study all the things you would have liked to have done had your childhood not been taken away from you or maybe you just want to have some time out to reflect on your future – The choices are yours – you have completed your journey from hurt to healing.
During the course of your counselling you may hear your therapist or other talk about your ‘inner child.’ What is it? The inner child is the:
Little child you were who desired to be nurtured, cared for and loved. This child still resides within you because its needs were never met.
How to nature your inner child
Try to experience life through all of your senses, use sight, sound, smell and touch to explore and describe the experiences in your life.
Celebrate still being alive and acknowledge that you are an invisible hero.
Learn to love the person you are.
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