Self-expression Is Therapy

downcastIt has been a much longer and harder road to write my book on the long term effects of sexual abuse than I realized, especially since I am including personal accounts that require an emotional connection that I did not allow myself to feel as a child. Each time I find myself working on the manuscript, I want to eat something in order to plug up my uncomfortable feelings.

It’s not just the re-exploration of old feelings that sends me into an anxious state. Anxiety sets in as I recount a once-hidden memory or a new insight. The challenge is that these are issues I thought I had already worked on.

Chair in waterRight now I’m writing on the fear of intimacy. At one time I thought this only applied to romantic relationships. Now I see how it applies to any kind of relationship, whether impersonal or intimate, long term or brief. My fear of intimacy is generally due to my fear of rejection and abandonment, when I’m overly concerned about filling the need for acceptance and approval. Trust plays a huge part in the process for me, and all these components are more ingrained than I realized.

On the upside, I feel like I no longer want to be anchored to my past with a ball and chain, but with gratitude that I have learned valuable lessons about myself and my relationship to others. I am willing to look at the issues I thought I dealt with, the uncomfortable areas in my life where I didn’t have integrity, and blame that I imposed on others without being accountable for my part in a negative experience. Of course, I hope to do this all at my own comfort level, but does that really happen for anyone?

With completion of my abuse book this year, I am hoping that, although I know it won’t be the Broken Chainsend of the journey, it will mark a positive transition into a much more emotionally enjoyable and manageable life experience. Here’s to healing through writing.

What can help set you free from a painful past?

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About Carole Avila

Carole Avila is an award winning author in short fiction, memoirs, and poetry. Eve's Amulet, Book 1 and Death House are both published by Black Opal Books. Her non-fiction work, The Long Term Effects of Sexual Abuse, is under contract. When Carole isn't writing, she loves reading, walking, visiting her daughters and grandsons, and enjoys a hot cup of chai tea with a spot of cream.
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6 Responses to Self-expression Is Therapy

  1. Not sure if that was a rhetorical question…but my answers are writing, mind-body therapy, yoga, my kids, my hubby finally knowing and understanding and horses/dogs/cats.

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    • Carole Avila says:

      Not a rhetorical question at all! All these things are validation that you are on the right road on your healing journey. These things are about you and what you love, because you’ve given yourself permission to love yourself. Through these activities, people, and animals you receive joy and remind yourself that you are valuable and worthy! Keep your needs first, children and husband second–this way you will always be healthy enough at every level to take care of them in the way they need. Your children will see your example and will do as you do. If they see mom as happy and healthy, but still available to them, then they will love themselves the same way.

      Just a reminder on children—remember, abuse is generational. We might recreate the circumstances for our own kids in an unconscious effort to correct the past. By giving your kids the gift of high self-esteem, you can give them the strongest tool available to put an end to generational abuse. With high self-esteem, they will say No to the people who try to take advantage of them.

      God bless you on your journey. Please feel free to contact me if the need ever arises. I may not be an expert, but I am an abuse survivor. info@caroleavila.com

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      • Thank you so much for your insight. And yes, the generational thing was finally broken. We’ve talked about the generational aspect in therapy…that my mom wasn’t born messed up…that something bad happened to her as well. That is such a terribly difficult concept for me.
        I was able to share with my therapist and hubby that I was fearful that my mom might abuse my kids or that my oldest son might abuse his brother. It was all crazy…this overwhelming thought out of nowhere. I know intellectually that it’s untrue but I feel so responsible and protective. My therapist told me I am NOT my mom. LoL,I’m know this. We are all safe now. Indeed I am not my mom.

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      • Carole Avila says:

        In the past I had a tendency to treat my oldest daughter as a friend. It wasn’t until after she was well into adulthood that she pointed out that I allowed her to date in her teens with men much too old or mature for her. She had engaged in sexual activity that I was unaware of. Without realizing it at the time, I set her up in relationships that would consequently lead to sexual activity. I had recreated my abuse on an entirely subconscious level through my daughter and never realized the obvious until she pointed it out only in the past few years.

        I really felt she was mature for her age but a lot turned out to be an act on her part, in addition to my extreme ignorance on men and dating. (Then I started a new round of guilt, a new round of forgiveness.) So it seemed the way generational abuse was created wasn’t what I thought or expected. As you’ve learned, the long term effects of abuse are many and varied, and some effects take us years to recognize.

        Both my parents were sexually abused, as well as all of my mom’s sisters. My mom was abused by her brother, me by my brother (my sisters were abused, too), and some of my cousins by their brothers. “Brotherly love” took on an entirely different meaning in our family.

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  2. I so admire your honesty and forthrightness.

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    • Carole Avila says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you stopped by. One of my 2015 goals is to work through uncomfortable realizations. Admitting mistakes and being accountable is quite humbling and it feels great to let go of the things that have held me captive to the past. It makes forgiving myself so much easier, as well as seeking forgiveness from those who I didn’t serve well, like my children.

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