Think of the vulnerable child, who would wake up each day, afraid of what the day might bring, spending it hiding away or walking on eggshells, fearful for their survival. Perhaps the abuser was a caregiver(s), sibling(s) - or even several members of their family?
Abuse often isn't restricted to the home - both sexual abuse and bullying have been shown to be both prevalent and covered up - in many schools.
With so many households ending the month with no money for food, let alone anything else, did you have to live off whatever was in the cupboard, donations from kindly neighbours or go to bed hungry each night?
School trip letters went straight into the bin on the way home, there being no point you even passing them to your caregiver for fear of them kicking-off if you asked for any money?
Did you see as pipe-dreams what other children saw as normal? Perhaps you became quite proficient at mending your own clothes to make them last? Using a black marker on school shoes to hide the scuff marks, so you would not feel shame or be bullied by your peers?
Here at London Counselling Hub, we know only too well, that not all survivors of childhood abuse come from impoverished backgrounds or broken homes. Some come from homes whose caregivers sent them away to boarding school or they went to a fee-paying day school.
Abuse can happen in all manner of households, as well as at prestigious schools - both from staff and fellow pupils - especially older pupils who were themselves perhaps on the receiving end of similar abuse.
Abuse may have been dressed up as Rituals and Initiations, cloaked in the respectable veneer of "tradition". These acts - might have been words bandied around in school corridors and playgrounds or perhaps, whispered in hushed voices in corners, but for many children, it masked a truly terrifying dark place.
A lived-experience of sexual abuse, violence, intimidation, bullying etc which was carried out by individuals or groups was not only their childhood experience but it can continue to haunt their nightmares and thoughts to this day.
By-stander guilt of those adults and children who in many cases watched out of fear, it could otherwise happen to them. Maybe recent, memories are resurfacing in adulthood, and you want to talk about what you experienced in therapy?
Many adult survivors of childhood trauma who come for therapy at London Counselling Hub, may display symptoms, including anxiety, depression, suicide ideation thoughts, shame, humiliation, guilt, flashbacks, low self-worth, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence.
Being able to identify and acknowledge your true self-worth and what value you bring to the table by investing time, love and understanding of who you are could be one of the greatest investments you afford yourself in your lifetime. To do so is the ultimate form of self-care.
When our emotions are numbed from childhood abuse, a person may struggle to experience emotions in the here and now, often because they have thought or told themselves that, this physical sphere they were enduring and living in was not real. As such, they have questioned memories many times over the years in the fervent hope that maybe it was not real and not their true experience.
Deep down, however, most people know the truth - however much they try to block it out or for survival, pretend otherwise - but the pain is akin to gauging an open wound with a rusty nail. Whilst your head may be telling you, that it is best to leave it in the past, that doesn't reflect the reality that feelings are desperate to be heard aloud rather than silenced.
When choosing a therapist, it is essential that you find one you can relate to and who understands your individual experience of trauma. As a professional trauma-informed practitioner here at the London Counselling Hub, I understand the importance of the relationship - bond regarding trauma.
The relationship alliance between a client and their therapist is of paramount importance at all times. When a client is working through difficult thoughts and feelings in a safe, non-judgemental confidential space, that is the environment in which they can truly make personal progress and growth.
Author: Elle Heasman
London Counselling Hub
Contact me today if you would like counselling services in Peckham or at my office at the Borough in SE1 for any of the above issues.
You can email email@example.com or call 07492 332877.