How To Heal From Sexual Abuse (Sexual, Physical And Emotional)
Written by Manashantii on 4th February 2013. Updated Saturday 23rd August 2014. Updated again on Monday 18th January 2016
How to heal from Abuse (Sexual, physical, and emotional) Written by Manashantii, A trained psychotherapist who is a healed survivor of sexual abuse in childhood and rapes in adulthood.
“Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.” Oscar Wilde
Realise, Empathise and try to understand that your abuser lacks Spiritual maturity. Manashantii
Leave it to God to Judge your abuser. Manashantii
Pray for your abuser and wish peace for your abuser’s inner peace or peace of mind, love and understanding. Manashantii
Forgiveness is the key that unlocks healing and blessings. Manashantii
Don’t deny your emotions, neither should you be controlled by your emotions. Speak the truth in love. Manashantii
Most relational problems exist because of lack of insight, lack of boundaries, lack of understanding and lovelessness. Manashantii
Insight, healthy boundaries, understanding and the ability to love and forgive makes you Spiritually mature. Manashantii
Reflection encourages insight into yourself. Manashantii
I believe that most tragedies in life is always the perfect opportunity for transcendence and for emotional and Spiritual healing. Manashantii
Learn to process your anger. Anger tells us that there is emotional pain and a belief that there is injustice in our lives. What we need is healing. Manashantii
Secrets oppress the secret holder, don’t keep secrets that may affect you or someone, tell and tell until you are believed, you will begin to heal. Manashantii
If you were abused sexually the first thing you need to know is that it was not your fault and the abuser is responsible for the abuse. If you had sexual feelings during the abuse then you must understand that your body reacted automatically and it doesn’t make you a bad person, no matter what you think. God loves you and forgives you and you must forgive yourself. I am so sorry that you experienced abuse. Abuse is de-humanising. I am living proof and I Manashantii testify that you can heal from sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
You can heal the memories by letting go off the feelings of shame, guilt and the feelings of disgust caused by memory triggers. Explore your sexual feelings during the sexual abuse through therapeutic writing or psychotherapy. Learning compassion for yourself helps you to let go off negative judgement towards yourself. Learn to listen to your body and physical sensations, do breathing exercises combined with body awareness exercises and grounding exercises.
If you abused someone physically, sexually or emotionally you must apologise to the person and make sure that you don’t do it again. Recognise that you have a sinful nature and that you need Jesus the unblemished lamb and King of Kings to save you from your past. You need to work on yourself in Christian centred psychotherapy to change your behaviour(s). Childhood trauma causes psychological fractures of the mind and the expression of emotions and the soul. Emotions are as present as breathing.
When a person experiences trauma in early childhood especially, it makes the person question the existence of a creator God who is loving. We are living in an imperfect world because sin entered the world due to Eve who was deceived and Adam who disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit. (This story can be found in Genesis 2 v9 and Genesis 3 of the Holy Bible). God is merciful and He chose to be born as a man who lived a sinless life. Jesus who is God died for all who believe in him in exchange of us dying a second death, which is the death of your spirit and He (God) will restore and balance our soul so that we can be reunited with Him in the Spirit.
The after effects of betrayal is that your perception becomes affected, you may not know who to trust, and may not trust your choices anymore.
People who have been abused may feel guilt, shame, fear, have lack of confidence and low self-esteem, until they resolve it through working on themselves psychologically and spiritually. The victim may have deep intense emotions of fear and love for the abuser. Victims are sometimes protective of the abuser but have no belief in the need to protect themselves, this is usually learned from childhood. They usually lack anger towards their abuser and transfer blame on themselves.
Remember the following:- When you blame it usually means that you are holding on to anger. Denial is a way of avoiding what you know is true consciously or unconsciously. People who have been abused sexually feel guilt and shame and then when the feelings overwhelm them they go into a state of emotional numbness and denial and block the memories. Forgiving yourself about the past is the only way to release yourself from the recurring intense guilt and emotional numbness. Forgiving yourself may help you the survivor to remember the abuse and to begin healing.
Trust yourself that you can make good choices. Don’t trust too soon or confide in people too early. Let people show that they are trustworthy and let them earn your trust. It is better to be distrustful and safe, than too trusting and a victim. I do encourage you to talk to friends that you know and trust and ask if they think you are too trusting or that you don’t trust enough.
In the Bible, Proverbs 4v23 says Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Guard your heart whilst you talk about the painful past by praying preferably before and after Therapy or conversation. Talking about painful experiences can reignite the painful past. I am not saying don’t talk about your past at all. You need to acknowledge your feelings about the past before you can forgive. Once you have forgiven you must protect yourself from re-experiencing the trauma. Use prayer, confirm to God and yourself that you are no longer going to carry the pains of yesterdays and the past. It takes time to forgive yourself and to forgive your abuser. Forgiveness is very possible it just takes time, please be patient. To guard your heart is to set boundaries.
Victims of emotional abuse, physical abuse and or sexual abuse become enslaved in a cyclical pattern of abuse. The victim may be coming from a history of trans-generational trauma. If this is you, then I recommend that you seek help in the form of Biblical Counselling and take a permanent break from the abusive relationship(s) if possible. The victim of abuse may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D) .
Victims of abuse sometimes have loss of memory of the abuse experience in varying degrees, and or emotional detachment. Statistics shows that generally abused boys grow up to become abusive men and abused girls become victimised women in their adult relationships and in some cases (but not always) are abusive usually emotionally to their children. (This is because they didn’t have a good parenting examples from childhood and they don’t practice self-parenting).
It is important to stop the cycle of abuse. So long as you remain in the chain you will not be able to function in a healthy way. If you don’t have healthy relationships then you won’t have time to resolve your problem and heal. Stop the recurring theme of you hurting others and you being hurt. Although others have hurt you in the past and you have hurt others also, please don’t live in the past. Do recollect the things that happened but always with the aim to come to a resolution in the present moment. Be solution focused and work on your self-esteem.
Victims who have been abused usually have not had positive examples of love in their lives, and therefore don’t know what love is and how to love. Abuse can affect how you view race, gender, sexuality, your identity and other peoples identity. Abuse can destroy your ability to trust and influence your relationship preference. Victims of abuse may also have experienced so much hurt and can’t cry. I mean they are emotionally numb or emotionally detached. Victims may be detached from their emotions this is usually a coping mechanism which helps them to cope with abuse, further abuse and day to day living. The victim may cut themselves physically (self-mutilation) as a distraction and relief from emotional pain. Physical pain is sometimes easier for some people to bear than emotional pain. Other coping mechanisms may be denial of the abuse, memory loss of the abuse and or minimisation of the seriousness of the abuse. These coping mechanisms helps them to survive the trauma but does not offer the opportunity to recognise the cycle, step out of the cycle, and heal. Most people find it hard to face their pain. Some people who have been abused often mistake abuse, passion, possessiveness, obsession and lust as love.
Emotional detachment from past abuse and lack of memory recall of the abuse experience can be psychologically draining on the victim.
People who have been victims of abuse have the following list of issues :- 1. Bad parenting in childhood. 2. Exposure to severely mentally ill people (or person) in childhood who were abusive to the victim. 3. Victim has shattered trust. 4.Victim uses Denial in order to survive past traumatic experience. 5. Victim has abusive memories that he or she can’t recollect. (memory block) 6.Victim uses food (anorexia, bulimia, overeating, food addiction), gambling, sex, alcohol, drugs, self-mutilation as a way to numb and detach from the emotional pain. 7.Victims of sexual abuse in some cases have problems with sex and or sexual orientation. This could mean being celibate, avoiding sex or Asexual (non-sexual) if they are traumatised and feel guilty, having sexually degrading relationships if they lack self esteem such as abusive sexual Sadism, masochism, promiscuity, working as a prostitute and or being promiscuous if you under value the meaning of sex and you are detached physically and emotionally, and sometimes but not always people become homosexual if they have been abused sexually.
Some abusers test the victims initially to see how much they can abuse the victim. The longer the victim stays in the relationship the more abusive it becomes. The abuser likes to reinforce his power over the victim. The abuser uses fear and guilt to control the victim. The longer the victim stays the more manipulative and cunning the abuser becomes. Most abusers get pleasure and an adrenaline rush from seeing the victim suffer. The abuser also breeches the victims boundaries. The victim usually (but not always) has insufficient boundaries.
The abuser constantly abuses the victim’s trust, honesty and respect. The abuser may use manipulation, abuse and false affection to control the victim. Abusers in a domestic violence situation sometimes isolate, financially abuse and use degradation. Abusers who rape or sexually abuse usually want physical and psychological power over the victim.
Lack of remorse is a form of denial that abusers use to avoid feeling guilty and to justify their actions. The abuser may even get the victim to feel guilty for being abused by telling the victim that it is his /her fault. Abusers are in summary dominating, abusive and unremorseful then at times the abuser may be abusive and then asks for forgiveness and is apologetic. This is usually common in domestic violent relationships.
75% (Seventy five percent) of both the abuser and the victim usually come from an abusive childhood background or a broken family and or violence in the home s/he grew up in. The abuser may have killed a pet or someone’s pet during his or her childhood. 90% of mentally ill people have an addiction and an addictive personality. There are many forms of mental illness the abuser could have, but I have chosen to talk about the emotional nature of both the victim and the abuser for the reason that I want to simplify the mind of the abuser and victim.
You must thank God daily for all that He does in your life. Despite the pain you have been through, your pain and suffering could have been worse. Possess a committed heart to God, be a humble servant to God. Allow God’s plan to manifest good things in your life. Start to know God today, develop a daily prayer life. Trust the Holy Spirit. Let peace reign in your mind and give all your problems to God. God is your judge and the protector of your whole being.
It is not easy to stop blaming and judging those who hurt us, but it is possible to let go and forgive. Don’t curse your abusers, don’t judge your abusers if you curse and judge you will not be able to emotionally move on and be in the present moment. Let go off the past.
You must understand that every trial and or tragedy in life is a perfect opportunity to develop in the spirit and also psychologically heal. Trials are character forming. Have faith that you will overcome this experience and remember that God loves you. Letting go and forgiveness of the past makes it easier to heal from an abusive past. Be humble and know that forgiveness is possible, trust that God will heal your hurt. Experiences helps you to grow.
Deliverance begins when you read the Holy Bible daily, forgive yourself and forgive your abuser. Have faith in God to help you heal. Your goal should be to heal and forget the past, let God help you let go off the past. Learn to be a pacifist. Pacifists give lovingly, forgive truly, and love peacefully. Emotions are your decisions, choose to love every moment. Pray against the evil spirits that motivated the abuser to cause you this pain and spiritual attack. Pray against any spirit of lust, dehumanisation spirits associated with the abuse you have experienced. Pray against the evil spirits that are causing these attacks on your life. Pray against the sexual demons that motivated your abuser to dehumanise you. Pray against all negative soul ties caused by your abuse. Pray against every psychological problem that the abuse can bring.
Learn to value yourself and respect your sexuality by protecting yourself and by asserting healthy boundaries in all relationships. Learn to process your anger. Anger tells us that there is emotional pain and a belief that there is injustice in our lives. Increase your patience, understanding and love for people. Hatred kills. The devil wants to see you hurt and angry. Love and Forgiveness destroys the devil’s weapons.
Write your thoughts and feelings down and then express it afterwards. Either keep your writing in a safe place or destroy what you wrote and only keep written positive thoughts and action plans. For writing skills see Manashantii’s writing method which is on this website. Reflecting on your past too much lets negativity pour into all aspects of your life. Prayer and the word of God in the Bible develops you Spiritually. Forgive yourself for everything that you believe you have done wrong on your part.
There is no one perfect in the world and there is no perfect family, because everyone loves imperfectly this is because of original sin. It takes most people quite some time to forgive. The more you are in touch with your pain, anger and blame, the longer it takes to forgive. Letting go off the past and accepting that nobody is perfect helps to heal and ease the pain. Letting go of judgement helps to begin the stage of letting go off hurt. It takes time but you can let go off grudges and bitterness. Jesus is an example of perfect love and Christians aim to show mankind a better way to love.
Psychotherapy is an opportunity to talk and reflect over your feelings, thoughts and problems. Writing down your thoughts and feelings regularly and exploring them with a Counsellor, friend or therapist can facilitate your healing. I recommend a Biblical Counsellor who has knowledge and experience of healing trauma, is Spirit led and encourages the Holy Spirit to facilitate in the counselling sessions.
I believe that conventional psychotherapy can affect the mental health and the well being of the abused victim. I know this from experience as a psychotherapist and also from having received 34 years as a client in conventional psychotherapy for the treatment of abuse, which I fully healed from just over two decades ago. (I the writer of this article is a survivor of all kinds of abuse and I started receiving Psychotherapy from age 9.) Dwelling on the past constantly in conventional therapy can be like constantly re-opening a wound, this does not allow space and time to heal adequately and deal with issues of the present moment effectively.
I believe it is important to come from a point of view of pacifism, be loving and solution focused. Psychotherapy is usually client directed and as a result of this if the client lacks insight into the problem and is unable to see the best solution then the client will be stuck in a state of despair, frustration and will feel lost.
Sitting quietly and listening to your feelings (without emptying your mind) will help you to develop your intuition if you do this daily. Trust your intuition and your instincts. Your intuition is a quiet voice in your head, the more you listen to it the louder it will become, trust your intuition. Victims of abuse usually don’t trust or listen to their intuition. The Holy Spirit will talk to you as you read the Holy Bible. God’s love will fill your soul eternally, if you open up your soul to God.
Remember that God’s plan for sexual relations is in a loving married relationship. Talk lovingly to yourself every day and do at least three nice things for yourself everyday. Start the process of forgiving yourself, today. Remember also that grieving helps to heal trauma and the release of tears brings a feeling of peace afterwards. You must grieve for what you have lost so that you can let go quickly and heal.
Pray to God daily to give you strength and direction to help you overcome and heal. Always remember that God is the King of Love and a Powerful Healer, trust in God’s ability to heal you in every way. God is your Creator and He understands your mind more than any psychotherapist ever will, trust in Him. You need self protection, resolution and complete recovery.
Abused victims should not accept or tolerate abuse. Asserting yourself and expressing your anger as a way to protect yourself from further abuse is vital. Victims should gain skills in assertiveness and skills in setting boundaries with people. Assertive people who set boundaries are less likely to be abused continuously. However anyone can be a victim of abuse as a once experience.
The Holy Bible says that we are all born in sin and that we have a sinful nature. Remember that if you are Christian the blood of Jesus has set you free from bondage, pray, apply your faith in action and believe.
When you get to know Jesus the Son and God the Heavenly Father through the Bible you will learn and experience God’s love through the Holy Spirit. Express what is in your heart to God through prayer and you will know God’s heart through reading the Holy Bible. Jesus died on the cross in order to set us free from bondage and abuse. The blood of Jesus broke all curses and eternal sin. Jesus died so that we would all have access to heaven regardless of our past sins. God is a loving and forgiving God that is why He offers the gift of eternal life in heaven if you believe and worship Him.
Forgiveness comes at the very end of a grief process. Forgiveness is the purest form of love. Love is an ancient remedy that heals hatred, soothes pain, melts grudges, grief and hostility, this is an eternal truth. Our thoughts forms our soul. Our thoughts forms us physically, emotionally and Spiritually. Seek knowledge that brings you true peace. The more you can empathise the easier it is to forgive. Empathy builds trust in the receiver. Letting go off judgement helps you to begin the stage of letting go off hurt, grudges and bitterness. I believe abuse is spiritual warfare. Learn to fight war with Peace and Love. Acceptance of your past experiences is the healing salve which helps you to leave the past behind. Anger and revenge or desire for revenge is a true desire for Justice.Your desire for justice through revenge will never heal your pain. Revenge does not change the past, revenge can never give you justice. Revenge gives temporary satisfaction, revenge does not heal the pain. The best way to gain justice is to heal from the past and make a success of your life. Leave it to God to judge your abuser’s actions, remember in the Bible God says the following:-
Deuteronomy 32v 35, Leviticus 19v18, Psalm 94v1, Romans 12v9, Romans 12v14, Hebrews 10v30 and Ephesians 4v32
Forgiveness is a decision to accept the past, it is a decision to let go off the need for Justice and instead focus on your Healing and practice Self-Forgiveness. Forgiveness of your perpetrator is an act of love to someone who may not deserve it, but remember we are all sinners. During prayers ask God to help you to forgive. Forgiveness can neutralise emotional, mental and physical pain. During your therapeutic journal writing time or psychotherapy time explore the struggle between your pacifist self and your hurt, angry and wounded selves, pray to God and ask Him to take your feelings of pain, disgust and guilt away. Write a plan for how you are going to heal. There will be times when you are in touch only with your hurt, pained and angry self but you can develop your pacifist, forgiving and loving self. Unhealed pain and reflecting on the past will bring fresh anger and pain so pray with a pure heart and a passion in your spirit every time. Set time daily to pray for your heart to soften to those who have hurt you, and forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness cleanses emotionally, psychologically and Spiritually. Letting go off the past. Seek joy from The Holy Bible and support from trustworthy friends or church friends. Seek counselling from the pastor or counselling team. Be Spirit led and passionate for God. Forgiveness cleanses. A clean heart of forgiveness welcomes the Holy Spirit. There is no peace without forgiveness. Remember God forgives. Spiritual maturity is the ability to forgive. There comes a time when you must move on from the past. Heal your pain, reclaiming your inner peace and making a success of your life is the best revenge.
9 out of 10 people who hurt us think they are innocent. Jesus said “Father forgive them for they no not what they do ” Pray that you forgive and learn to fill your heart with love. Forgiveness will give you a feeling of peace in your heart. People want to be loved, but don’t know how to give and receive love, people also lack understanding, and don’t know how to be a friend. Let go off the cycle of blame, guilt and denial. Live by love, let go off blame. Choose to forgive. Love means forgiving completely. Forgive yourself and you will start a loving relationship with yourself which leads to self acceptance and self forgiveness. Break the cycle of denial, guilt and shame. Depend on God’s strength and you will succeed.
I never totally healed until I forgave myself completely and forgave the abusers. Forgiving your abuser does not mean you have to be friends with him or her. Forgiveness is for the benefit of your healing process. Abuse is an act of hate. Forgiveness is an act of love. Learn to understand yourself and learn to be forgiving to yourself and others. It takes strength to forgive without understanding why your abuser did what he or she did, but it is very possible to do so.
To summarise :-
Step 1. Accept your pain and grieve. Grief is a process, it will end. Write your thoughts and feelings down. Face your pain. It may take many years before you move on or think of forgiving. The more you work on yourself the faster you can heal.
Step 2. Learn to assert healthy boundaries.
Step 3. Rely on God to help take away your pain.
Step 4. Forgive yourself. Let go off the guilt.
Step 5. Stop Judging and Blaming the abuser and thinking about the past. If you do it, it will become easier with time.
Step 6. Leave it to God to Judge your abuser.
Step 7. Realise, Empathise and try to understand that your abuser lacks Spiritual maturity.
Step 8. Pray for your abuser and wish peace for your abuser if they are alive. He or she abused you because he or she did not have inner peace or peace of mind, love and understanding.
Step 9. Forgiveness comes at the very end of a grief process. Forgive your abuser. No one is perfect, even you have sinned before. Let go off the cycle of blame, guilt and denial. Live under the laws of love, peace, understanding and forgiveness.
Step 10. After a few years of forgiveness, seek trustworthy and loving friends and maybe a loving companion. Love heals.
Step 11. Pray against the evil spirits that are causing these attacks on your life. Pray against the sexual demons that motivated your abuser to dehumanise you. Pray against all negative soul ties caused by your abuse. Pray against every psychological problem that the abuse can bring.
Step 12. Forgiveness heals you. Forgive yourself. Forgive your abuser when you are ready. Forgiveness means you can move on from the past completely and the painful past will become a fading memory. Total healing begins when you forgive yourself and your abuser.
Summary. 1.Take time to grieve. God is with you read The Holy Bible. 2. Forgive yourself. 3. Assert healthy boundaries. 4. Build your Self esteem. 5. Self Acceptance. 6. Faith in God to help you heal. 7. Have Loving friends. 8. Write your thoughts and feelings down in a journal. 9. Be Solution focused. 10. Letting go of the past is a process. 11. Forgive your abuser, but don’t be trusting or friendly with him or her. Pray against negative spiritual forces that are causing you emotional, psychological and spiritual turmoil. Acceptance of your feelings and practice letting go off the past, Release, Bless your abuser(s) and Forgive. Manashantii
Written by Manashantii, A trained psychotherapist who is a healed survivor of child sexual abuse and rapes in adulthood.
Someone said : – In this world, people’s behaviour usually falls in two categories:- 1. A cry for love or 2. An act of love. It takes strength to learn how to love and forgive yourself and to love and forgive others.
Read the following Bible sections and verses:-
Deuteronomy 22v 25-v26 Clearly states that rape is the fault of the rapist or sex offender.
Psalm 147v3 E.S.V. Bible. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.
You are blessed and highly favoured (by God). Luke 1v28
I praise God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139v14 E.S.V. U.K.
Search me oh God and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties ; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139v23 -v24
Matthew 6v14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
MARK 11V24 and 25 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Jeremiah 29v10- v14 especially v11
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
New Living Translation (N.L.T,)
4 [a]We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
1Corinthians 10v13 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
2Corinthians 12 v9-10. 1Peter 1v7. Psalm 27. Psalm 27v10. Psalm 55. Psalm 56. Psalm 57. Matthew 11 v28. Psalm 35. Psalm 25v7. Psalm 51v9. Psalm 66v18. Psalm 199 v10-v11. Romans 3 v23. Romans 8v28. Proverbs 28v13. 1st John 1v9. Isaiah 64 v 6. Hosea 5v15. Hebrews 9v6-v14. Exodus 12v7-v8. Exodus 12v13. Hebrews 13v20-v21. Job 7v1 (N.L.T.) Is not all human life a struggle?
Please read other articles related to this on this website.
How to overcome Anger. How to forgive others. How to forgive yourself. Relating skills. Love and forgiveness. Trust. Relate to God. The Manashantii writing method. Reflective writing with prayer Forgiveness is an act of Love Sexual abuse books that I recommend Unhealthy Boundaries.