Moment of Clarity: I’m a Survivor of Abuse
We understand. Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships, friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice every Tuesday.
You can submit your own question via our contact form and don’t fret, we’ll keep your name and identity confidential. First up, we have a question from a reader we’ll call “Don’t Want to Live in the Past.”
Question: I was abused as a child and I am paranoid that someone will do the same to my children. I have to rely on child care because I need to work. How can I manage my fear? –Signed, “Don’t Want to Live in the Past”
Jinnie’s Response to Don’t Want to Live in the Past:
Dear Don’t Want to Live in the Past,
You are a survivor of abuse and are not alone. I want to commend you for having the courage to ask for help and the insight to know that something needs to change in order for you to better care for your children. One of my areas of specialty is working with survivors of abuse and trauma. As a survivor myself, I can relate to your experience as can the majority of other survivors; it’s part of the process of healing.
The key to managing your fear is to become more grounded and emotionally calm; especially when it comes to ensuring the safety of your children. Here are four things to consider:
1. When you begin to feel paranoid, acknowledge the feeling. Take a few moments to breathe deeply and then ask yourself, “What about this situation is making me feel this way?” Try to be specific. When you begin to get clarity on what is stirring you up, then you can better determine if 1) you are responding to a real or perceived threat, or 2) the trauma of the abuse has been stirred up.
2. If you determine that something is afoul – a real threat, trust your instinct and do what is best for your children. Their safety comes first and in those cases it would be appropriate to find alternative care.
3. If you determine that there is not a real or perceived threat, then remind yourself that what you are experiencing is normal and that it take time to heal from any trauma or abuse. You will probably experience emotional tugs for a good portion of your life but they become less intense over time and easier to manage. The good news is, the more your heal from your abuse and trauma, your instinct will serve more as a gift, of sorts.
4. Now, for the hard part. If you find it difficult or are unable to determine if you are being stirred up or if there is a real threat, the trauma may be too overwhelming. In those cases, it is best to find someone to talk with so you can heal; and there are no shortcuts to healing. The more you heal, the better your ability to assess your situation and circumstances.
There are great therapists all over the country and I suggest survivors work with someone who specializes in abuse and trauma. A great resource is www.PsychologyToday.com or obtain a referral from someone you trust.
With Love and Light, I wish you pleasant journeys …
Do you have a question for Jinnie? Submit it to us via the contact us form. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:
Her site at International High Achievers.