must I go back and dig up the past?
- Is the past haunting you?
- Do you at times have unwanted
scenes flash before you, or visit your dreams at night?
- Are you afraid of certain people
in your life?
- Do you have a satisfying
relationship with your spouse, children, parents, siblings,
and have friends as well?
- Are you comfortable with and
enjoy your sexuality?"
These are just a few questions you
may want to think about if you are in the decision process about
entering or not entering therapy or a support group. If you
answered yes to the first three and no to the last two, then you
have before you a major reason to take a look at your past, with
help, and face whatever is there.
Some people believe erroneously
that we get some pleasure out of rehashing the past and bringing
up old issues that we should just keep buried. Others believe
bringing it up only causes more pain and heartache. So what do we
Many of us who were abused in
childhood live in what we call 'denial'. That means that we either
don't remember what happened on a conscious level, or we remember
but believe it was no big deal, that it was 'only me', or that it
happened so long ago it makes no difference now. But denial is
deadly. Denial is what allows others, and even our own children to
also become victims, often by the same perpetrators. Denial is
what allows us to 'know' something may be going on, but we never
check it out. Or it causes us to ignore the cries of other victims
or even to lash out at them, calling them liars, troublemakers, or
blaming the abuse on them. Denial keeps the cycle of abuse going.
Denial keeps us from really seeing the damage abuse causes in our
own lives and in the lives of others.
I was one of those who didn't see
the damage in my life, although I knew I had been repeatedly
abused and raped. Some others saw it, but not me. I knew I had
problems, but didn't understand why. Once I saw the correlation
between sexual abuse and my symptoms, the journey toward healing
began. The denial didn't just disappear. I still had much work to
do to stop minimizing what happened to me, to stop blaming myself
for what happened, to end the shame, begin trusting others, and
making other changes in my life that resulted from my old coping