Self abusive behaviors and abuse survivors. What are they?
| Self Abusive Behaviors and Sexually Abused Women
Hurt yourself? Why?
Self abusive behaviors? Suicidal? Sounds strange doesn't it? After you have already been abused, but self abusive behaviors including suicidal thoughts are common among survivors of sexual abuse due to underlying feelings related to their abuse.
I will talk about the self abusive behaviors in three catagories: Self Mutilating or "Cutting", Self Destructive Relationships and Alcohol / Drug Abuse or any type of Addiction.
The first self abusive behavior is self mutilation or "cutting" on yourself.
Why would you do this? Well, when someone is abused, the abuser attempts to take away the persons power, leaving the victim feeling powerless.
I have also mentioned before that another coping mechanism for abuse is dissociation. This is a method of mentally "checking out" or "spacing out" as some people refer to it.
Basically, the abuse experience is so traumatic that the person can not emotionally handle it so the brain shuts down and the person actually mentally "leaves" the situation during the abuse.
The brain is really amazing! Sometimes, people can forget their abuse all together because of this coping mechanism, at least on the surface. Subconsciously the abuse is still there in the memory, later to be recalled.
There are many levels of shutting down emotionally. People who cut on themselves have told me that emotionally, they could not feel the pain from their abuse and they needed to feel it physically.
They felt "numb". By cutting on themselves, and seeing the actual action and seeing the blood from the cut, it was a physical release of pain from the inside.
Just the image of the cutting and the blood made the pain "real" to them because they could see it. Many people have told me that they get a sense of relief ater they cut on themself..but only for a short time.
People who do this many times feel that they have this under control., and generally it is about having a sense of control over themselves that they lost during their abuse. What these people need to know and remember is that it is a FALSE sense of control. There is NO CONTROLLED CUTTING!
There is a strong need for professional help because this behavior is extremely dangerous and can be fatal if not treated properly.
The next Self Abusive Behavior is dangerous relationships.
Many women, especially, cycle through unhealthy relationships with men (or women) who continue to emotionally, physically or sexually abuse them. This can also be friends that you hang out with.
This is the most common behavior that I saw when I was a counselor.
After you are abused, especially if you were a young girl, you were left with no self esteem and no sense of what a healthy relationship looked like for yourself. Your power had been taken away from you.
Your logical mind, your family, your friends, your church friends, literally everyone you know may tell you that you deserve a healthy loving relationship...but unless you have addressed your sexual abuse issues, that little abused girl inside of you says to you that you are not good enough or pretty enough to deserve a healthy relationship,,and that is who you are going to listen to.
Abuse of Alcohol, Drugs or any type of Addiction:
People turn to chemicals or things to alter their moods in order to numb their feelings and cope with life after abuse.
It is really the same issues again. Anything to avoid dealing with the painful feelings related to the sexual abuse. Again, this can and will create more pain in the long run.
It works pretty well, for awhile..until you run out of money, or the drugs and alcohol, or the addiction becomes a problem in and of itself!
You need to be sober in order to deal with your abuse issues! Unfortunately, it requires feeling pain to heal. Only by walking through the pain can you truly be free and find peace.
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