Session 8 focused on Emotions & Trauma
I’ve been taking part in a Ten weekly group therapy course for men who have suffered sexual and/or physical abuse, in session eight we examined the relationships between trauma and emotions. In particular, we looked at anger and shame; loss, forgiveness, and letting go; and emotions and the brain.
This quote come up which got me thinking…
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Watch this clip of Dr. Brené Brown who talks to Oprah Winfrey about Shame.
Secrecy, Silence and Judgement
Firstly the fact that I am writing about shame today is proof to the fact that I am going through a process of weakening my shame. I am a survivor, I was sexually assaulted as a child and had my innocence robbed, I was manipulated into Secrecy, Silence and faced Judgement from the age of 4, today at the age of 32 I start the process of melting my shame away.
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”. – Dr. Brené Brown
Thankfully I am learning that;
Healthy Shame is necessary to survival as it tells us that something is wrong about an experience or behaviour, that Shame acts as a prompt to seek help.
I am learning that Healthy Shame also guides our behaviours so that we do not hurt others, its not about you deserving what happened, it’s about my abuser planning, grooming and abusing me – the responsibility lies solely with him and nobody else.
This doesn’t stop me feeling shame, i’m looking forward to the day when i am stable in a home so I can start one to one sessions focusing on the shame that I feel every day which is;
- I’m not good enough
- Why didn’t I make people listen
- My appearance and sexuality
- Why me? Why didn’t I fightback?
- How people think of me, do they think I will be an abuser one day?
- I feel shame that I struggle to show emotion.
- I feel shame that I have to suffer in silence
My shame lead to me actually getting help, I was sofa surfing for three years, after a mental health breakdown, I became addicted to drugs, then one day I walked into my room, looked around at all the drugs and mess and broke down. It was that day after I recovered that I got the help I needed, I was suffering this shame in silence, scared of judgement.
I kept my addiction secret from friends and family, work and colleagues, I literally had that addiction put on me, it wasn’t the event that got me addicted, it was the shame, It swallowed me up into a dark abyss. I did find the light!
My therapy teaches me that In abusing me the shame lies solely with my abuser, however because my abuser was not connected to their shame, I had no choice but to take on the shame he should have felt.
I will update this section when I learn more.
I do believe as a society we need to take a long hard look at ourselves and start talking more about shame, admitting the historic abuse that has happened, for too long families, churches, schools, care homes, people and society have brushed child sexual abuse under the carpet.
I am proof that with the right early intervention we can educate, rehabilitate and counsel previously looked after kids in society, we need to give them hope for the future and not sit in judgement which helps to keep the shame hidden.
There are millions of people in this country who have been sexually abused, its happening right now, it happened all throughout our past, but we can help to stop this in the future, If we talk about these issues slowly but surely we can start bringing the abusers to justice and help the abused, like me and you too move on.
As a society we need to ask ourselves is it right that someone who was sexually abused as an innocent child like me who is now 32 and living in Emergency Accommodation, Its a prison sentence this, and I am in this position because society wont talk about shame.
Shame on you for not taking the fight to the government to change opinions and prospects for people like me, shame on you for voting for a government who are putting more interest into taking the kids away, when they should be tackling the wider issue, and shame on you for paying you hard earned money toward an unfair emergency housing situation whereby my future is in the hands of a private limited company making millions from the tax you pay.
An Adult Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse?
If you are an adult who can access Brighton and Hove, we are lucky enough to have a charity located in the city which provided counselling and therapy groups, I’ve found Mankind’s Counselling Service invaluable. Check out Mankind’s Counselling website for more information on their services.
Worried about a child?
If you are a child or your have concerns for a child’s safety then I would recommend you contact the NSPCC NSPCC for assistance, don’t let innocent kids suffer in silence anymore, early intervention is key to giving the abused hope and healing.
Remember there is no shame in telling.