Childhood Sexual Abuse:
The Choice to Heal
By Dawn Damon, author of When the Woman Abused Was You:
A Guide to Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse
(material adapted from When the Woman Abused Was You)
Some women live for decades unaware of their abusive past. Others who were abused as children live in the shadows of shame, afraid to confront the monsters of the past. Still other women let their abuse define them.
But there is another choice: the choice to heal. The choice to heal can be difficult, yet it is the only choice that brings healing and new life.
So what things hold us back from making the choice to heal?
Potholes on the Road to Recovery
- Fear: We are afraid we will slip into an emotional “hole” and never get out again. Or we’re afraid to give up our old coping mechanisms or to be seen as “weak.” Or we may fear going crazy, losing a relationship, or facing the truth or allowing ourselves to feel. No matter the fear, denial is destructive. Ignoring a wound only brings festering. Commit to honestly looking at your past and grieving your losses.
- Pride: We’re unwilling to admit we have a problem. We’re not one of “them.” We don’t want to be identified as weak or a sexual abuse survivor. Everyone else has a problem. We default to control and manipulation, and we are afraid to trust people.
- Negative Attitude: We develop a victim mindset. We stake a claim for what we believe we deserve and build a case for ourselves. But our attitude is our choice and the basis of self-control. We can refuse to think like a victim by refuting “thought saboteurs.”
- Thought Saboteurs: anger, apathy, blame, criticism, depression, dishonesty, fear, guardedness, hatred, indifference, intolerance, irresponsibility, jealousy, mistrust, pessimism, pride, resentment, revenge, sadness, self-pity, shame, skepticism, suspicion, and a victim mentality.
Are you struggling with pain from your past? With childhood abuse? Is it time to take steps toward healing? Pray through the areas above and ask God to help you face your fears and recognize pride, negative attitudes, and thought saboteurs. You’ve taken your first steps toward healing, and your life will never be the same.