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Common Questions about Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. How would the world be different, if we could rid the world of Child abuse ?

If there was no child abuse what a different world it would be indeed. There would be a great decrease in substance abuse since these individuals would not have to bury their feelings behind drugs. There would be a significant decrease in teen suicide, teen pregnancy., juvenile crime, divorce, and mental health issues in adults.

  1. What are the 3 most important things that someone who has been abused should know ?

Three things I would say: You are someone who deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. You are a survivor which means you are strong and capable. You can get better and have the good life you have dreamed of. 

  1. Could you break down some of the medical terms that are found within treatment for people that have been abused ?

some are:

EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

DBT: Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Amygdala: Res[onsible for the perception of emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness as well as the controlling of aggression. Helps to store memories of events and emotions 

Hippocampus: Part of the limbic system, regulates motivation, emotion, learning and memory

Limbic System: Structures and interacting areas that are involved in motivation, emotion,  learning and memory. Key for Fight or Flight responses

  1. What thought processes function differently with someone that has been abused and how does it influence one's life ?

The thought processes differ in multiple ways.

a) Core beliefs: The individual may feel not good enough, used, dirty, and may feel that bad things will continue to happen. Anticipates nothing will work out

b) Alarm/Numbing response: gets trigger by feelings that are similar to when being abused, this could simply be any state of physiological arousal or when triggered by emotional, olfactory, sensory, or cognitive triggers. The individual ends up in fight, flight or freeze mode

c) Memory issues: When trauma occurs, things slow down, time stands still, time sequences may be altered. Trauma victims may have memory issues, lapses in memory or sequencing issues

d) Lying/Manipulative: Individuals who have suffered from developmental trauma develop habits of lying to change reality. They lose the ability to tell fantasy from fact in severe cases. They tend to get their wants and needs met through the back door rather than simply asking for it. 

e) They may feel that they will not live a long life. They do not  have a strong sense of self-efficacy.

  1. How can we better understand the actions of someone that has been abused ?

Most of the actions of an abuse victim come from being a victim. Severe abuse is about survival mode. Each day the core inner drive is to survive another day without getting injured. If we can understand their behaviors due to being in survival mode, it makes it easier to have patience.

  1. What do you wish you could tell someone that just found out their spouse was abused in the past ?

When you know the whole story and how it impacts your spouse, you will have an ah ha moment where their behaviors start to make sense.

  1. How can a spouse help someone that has been abused to find healing/closure?

It is a therapist's job to complete the healing process. You can't be your spouse's therapist. What you can do is develop understanding, compassion and learn to support without triggering. You should also be in your own therapy to address your own anger and hurt feelings. 

  1. How do you go about finding the right therapist ?

The meta analysis of all the therapy techniques still come to the old belief - it is about the relationship. So finding someone knowledgeable about trauma and abuse but also someone you connect with.

  1. How to support healing at home ?

Support at home includes: creating a predictable schedule and routine, allowing time for self-care including quiet time, healthy food, a place to sleep adequately, and a peaceful home environment. Setting rules for engagement and family rules, ie. if the person needs some time away, that should be stated clearly and then respected. A time to open the conversation should be set, like in 20 minutes or an hour. 

  1. What are things someone that has been abused can do by themselves in order to heal ?

Pretty hard to do this work by yourself. You can't, You need the support of a professional.

  1. How is it that those that have been abused feel guilty for being abused or that it is their fault ?

There is often guilt around "allowing" the abuse to happen, not saying no, being complicit in the events, enjoying the sexual aspect, and not telling sooner.

  1. How should Parents react when a child tells them they have been abused ?

The parent should believe the child, validate them, keep their emotions in check and freak out later. Child Protective Services should be called to investigate. Let the child know how sorry you are that it happened, how proud you are that they told, and how you are going to support them. 

  1. What clues are there that could indicate that your child is being abused ?

Bedwetting, anxiety around certain events like bath time, going to bed, being alone, the dark, sexualized behaviors such as excessive masturbating. Sudden changes in behavior: loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, social withdrawal, isolation, crying. Sometimes there are no signs. 

  1. What to do if your child was abused ?

If your child has been abused, get your child into therapy and get yourself into therapy. Be sure that your child feels safe, valued, and that you can accept anything he or she has to say. 

  1. Is there a difference in who the abuser is ? How does the relationship to the abuser influence the impact abuse has ?

I think any adult in the position of trust has a big impact on the child. Because it makes it so that the child and later adult can question who can I trust? I think it has long term impacts. With a rape by a stranger, it has more of the impact of being safe but you can still trust people in a position of power and trust. Probably a parent being the abuser would be the biggest impact because it is the biggest breach of trust. 

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Our  Team  consults  with  Therapists ,  Doctors,  Lawyers  and  others  that  have  been  abused  to  find  answers  to  every  Question  we  get.