Abuse is a tragically common experience. People who survive abuse often have a different perception on life than people who have not been abused. On the surface level, they learn to fear other people at a time when they should be learning to discover and explore. At a deeper level, their very self-perception is distorted, and the way they perceive and interact with the entire world is fundamentally changed.
If you have been abused, you likely feel the effects of that abuse in all your relationships: with your spouse, your friends, your family, and your children.
Imagine what it would be like if you could be free from the memories of that abuse – if you could see the world the same as someone who had a normal childhood.
Love and Trust
Abuse teaches children that the abusive behaviour is normal. When children are abused by people who say they love them, they come to connect love with pain, fear, domination, and secrecy. As those children grow up, they encounter others who say they love them and want to comfort them. The very feeling of being loved is connected to the emotions of fear and dread.
Children are not able to distinguish between the behaviour of one trusted adult and another. If one adult is able to do hurtful things, it seems that all adults can do hurtful things. The abuse survivor learns to be suspicious and distrustful of all adult relationships.
When people are abused, they often don’t even realise how the abuse affects their interactions with other people. They think that people are only nice to them when they want something from them, but they think that this is true of everyone and that people who trust others are simply naive.
Abuse survivors often become self-destructive and isolationist, and many times they truly cannot understand why other people are not equally suspicious of others. The memories become so deeply engrained that the abuse survivors do not even realise that those memories are affecting their current beliefs and habits.
If you are someone who is surviving abuse, you might think that these habits and traits cannot be erased. The good news is, it is possible to take back control and to learn to trust the people who love you.
Psychologists have compared childhood abuse with the trauma soldiers experience in war. Just like soldiers, too, abused children develop survival skills such as resilience, courage, and inner strength. However, the skills they develop in surviving abuse come at a terrible price.
Abuse survivors see the family as a single unit, and they see suffering as the price that has to be paid for being part of the family unit. They often see adults as compassionless tyrants, and they feel powerless against adults, even once they themselves become adults.
As abuse survivors grow up, they may develop problems with authority, or they may find it difficult to gain the confidence and self-respect they need as adults to be able to function in the real world.
A Mother’s Love
Children depend on their mothers to make everything better, but this idea does not ring true those surviving abuse. Even when the mother did not know anything about the abuse, the child often interprets the abuse as a failure on the part of the mother to protect the child. This may grow into resentment as the child grows up.
Frequently, abuse survivors avoid being dependent on others in their adult lives. When they do have to depend on others, they often feel helplessness and anger, or they may even become depressed or develop panic attacks. Survivors of abuse survivors are likely to try to get out of any situation that starts to seem stressful or dangerous.
Hyperawareness after Surviving Abuse
Abuse survivors often believe that it is their fault they are being abused. They internalize the concept of punishment and think that they are suffering because they are bad people. This belief causes enormous harm as abused children become adults surviving abuse.
Because of their experience being punished, abuse survivors tend to become hyper-aware of other people’s moods. They connect heightened emotions in other people with the threat of punishment. They become distressed at even the smallest conflict or confrontation, and they want to remove themselves as soon as possible from such situations.
One of the most common coping mechanisms for survivors of physical abuse is the building up of psychological barriers. This process is known as dissociation, and it happens when people create a barrier (dissociation) between their “true selves” and their bodies. So someone else might be abusing their bodies, but their “true selves” are somewhere else.
Dissociation is a serious psychological problem, though it is completely understandable why it develops in abuse survivors. In adulthood, survivors are likely to have a psychological barrier between themselves and other people. This causes intimacy problems, can cause panic reactions at being touched, and ultimately can cause major problems in relationships.
If you are aware of having barriers like this in your relationships, you can take comfort in the knowledge that you can make choices now to remove those barriers and enjoy a better life starting today!
Difficulty Setting Healthy Boundaries
Many abuse survivors fear all people and avoid all relationships. Many others, though, find that the experience of surviving abuse makes it harder for them to set healthy boundaries. They are more likely to let other people treat them badly because they do not know what is normal and healthy in relationships. They are thus more likely to enter into abusive relationships as an adult, thus perpetuating the cycle.
Changing Your Outlook
If you are an abuse survivor, you are not doomed to repeat the same patterns that your previous abuse caused! You can change your outlook by changing the effects that your memories have on you. The first step is to understand that not everyone sees relationships and other people in the same way. This realisation can help you begin to develop non-destructive feelings toward yourself and others, and can help you start to change your outlook.
Abuse survivors already have persistence and courage to have gotten this far. These positive qualities can work for you and help you learn to respond to situations and people in new ways. This is a skill you can actually learn, which will help you no longer be trapped by your memories of abuse.
The Mind Resonance Process
Over a decade ago, a group of scientists discovered that it is actually possible to clear away bad memories and restore your mind to the way it was before the damage was done. Through this process, you can become free from feelings of shame and guilt. Any emotional scarring you have from past experiences of surviving abuse will no longer affect how you feel and act in the present.
You can completely eliminate the self-doubt and self-hatred that is so common among those surviving abuse. You can learn to judge yourself by a different, healthier set of criteria. When you talk to others, you will no longer respond based on your negative assumptions and your bad memories.
When you were a child, you depended on adults to help you learn right from wrong and true from false. As an adult, you are no longer bound by those lessons. You can learn the truth for yourself and take control of your own life. You can get rid of those negative memories that are holding you back, and you can give yourself a better future with the Mind Resonance Process.
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Felicity Muscat is the Founder of The Institute of Self Mastery which was created to help others fulfil the truest, highest, and most authentic expression of themselves in all areas of life.
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Felicity Muscat, former psychologist is now an international self-esteem, self-empowerment, and self-mastery life coach. Felicity is also a relationship and success coach, author of three best-selling books and Level 3 mind resonance coach.