You're Way More Than Your Past Trauma
This horrific thing happened to you. And now what? Questions are swirling through your mindframe. Or maybe instead you're trying to shut it down, pretending like it never happened. That's okay too. That's our brains going into survival mode, protecting itself from the foul and possibly seductive experience of sexual abuse and assault.
Having to survive is incredibly adaptive, but it's not healthy to live that way forever.
If you've experienced a trauma then some of the common perceptions can include the following:
"The world isn't a safe place"
"My body equates to my value."
"It was my fault. I didn't do __X__ enough, Or had I just done __X__ this never would have happened."
"Pain must equal."
"Love is supposed to hurt."
"I'm not strong. There's something wrong with me if I can't just get over with."
These are simply not true. But unfortunately with trauma, typically there's shame associated with the experience. Shame that somehow it was our fault, or we asked for it, or because it felt good in the moment we wanted it... These beliefs are also untrue.
In addition to our brains going into survival mode, so do our bodies. Our bodies store the trauma. Our brains, again to survive, send cortisol (stress hormones) to our bodies to alert that danger is happening. We move into fight/flight/freeze mode. While this is completely APPROPRIATE & AMAZING in the moment, the downside is that our brains and bodies do not completely shut off from the survival mode following the trauma.
So even though the traumatic incident is over, certain sounds, smells, and even places trigger a fight or flight response. We might even notice an increase in irritability or fear showing up during certain times of the year. These are called trauma reminders. Again, our brains are trying to survive.
I invite you today to thrive. Because I know as a trauma survivor, you've been taught to smile, function, and "get over it" even when you're feeling horrible inside. You survived the brain injury, now you will thrive in recovery. You may have days where you thought you were over it, and then a big wave hits you all over again. You're not weak, healing is messy. There is no timeline for healing.
If you've experienced sexual abuse in childhood. You may find it also hard to show up intimately in partnership. An experience of childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault can impact on sexual relationships in the following ways:
Confusion during sexual and emotional intimacy.
Discomfort with touch in certain areas of the body.
Limiting the type of sexual activity considered okay or enjoyable.
Requiring certain circumstances to be in place. For example, lights on or off when sex occurs.
Experiencing difficulties in achieving sexual arousal.
Feeling distress, shame or guilt about a sexual response, interest or fantasy.
Avoidance of sex and low libido.
Excessive interest and validation through only sex.
Engaging in sexually compulsive behavior.
‘Checking out,’ disengaging emotionally.
Requiring the use of pornography to achieve arousal.
Difficulty trusting partners.
Experiencing panic attacks, disassociation or flashbacks during sexual activity.
Confusing sex with love, care-giving, abuse, pain, with being powerless or being powerful.
We at Love Discovery want to support you if you are experiencing any of the above mentioned challenges. We are offering both individual trauma therapy and a support group, specifically for adult female survivors of sexual abuse and assault. We support each other through our past and present experiences, and uplift one another.
The group meets twice per month, and is run by a licensed trauma therapist, Janet Bayramyan. Registration to the group is required to attend. For more info, please contact email@example.com.
Janet is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the states of California and Florida. Janet works from a trauma focused and attachment oriented perspective, supporting individuals and couples through their healing of past and current distressing events.
She's trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Havening Techniques. EMDR and Havening Techniques are psychosensory modality that supports individuals in de-traumatizing stressful memories in the brain. Janet sub-specializes in sex therapy, supporting individuals and couples in their relational and sexual wellness by providing effective tools that can support in managing conflict, and increasing intimacy and connection.