Finding Your Authenticity and Inner Truth
Breaking Through the Veneer
In my last blog post, A New Chapter, I discussed the necessity of discovering your true authentic self, who you are at your deepest core. Childhood sexual abuse can often complicate matters by hiding your true self behind a veneer and pretending to be someone you are not to others.
But how do we find out who we indeed are?
When talking about authenticity and truth, I refer to our sense of self, active participants in what others see. Which is extremely important for men and women sexually abused as a child. Why? Because the pain and suffering sometimes cloud the self-discovery that an individual endures after abuse, it is actively shielding oneself from the rest of the world.
The shield’s strengthening occurs by trying to reconcile life before the abuse, when the abuse happened, and living life after the abuse.
Adults sexually abused as children typically live in two different worlds: a world where the abuse occurred and, in a world, where there was no abuse. The problem arises when the two worlds collide. And when they hit, authenticity and truth conflict. When an event or a situation occurs surrounding the abuse, it can be difficult keeping up a good front, especially when behaviors are a protective result of the abuse.
Many behaviors manifest themselves through our actions, appearing scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn, or more aggressive. Additionally, we might avoid conversations around the abuse, choose risk-taking behaviors, abuse drugs or alcohol, justify carrying a weapon, or seek inappropriate sexual encounters.
These behaviors are veneers that we live behind. They are our protective shields from reaching the child within – a discovery of our true self.
So how do we truly break through the veneer and re-discover the child within? We must begin to unravel our behaviors and emotions and look to the motivations behind them. Asking the question, “why?” When we choose to avoid looking at the causes, we accept that our actions are an accurate representation of who we are internally, even if they aren’t.
Begin to open up to those you trust. Permit yourself to talk. Examine why you are motivated to seek out a specific behavior;
- How is that behavior benefitting you?
- Is it immediate gratification, or is it a long term benefit?
- Is it serving you or someone else?
Take your needs seriously. If you need help, ask for it.
Try to be clear when you need help. Instead of saying, I feel scared, say instead when “this” happens, I feel afraid. That way, you begin to identify why you feel scared by pinpointing the actual cause of being scared.
And lastly, pay attention to everything about yourself. What do you like, dislike? What do you excel in or your struggles? Look at what is important to you, what your values are. Once the picture of yourself becomes clear, you will feel stronger, and your behaviors will begin to reflect the reality behind your internal veneer.
Being your true authentic self means that your actions in life are a true reflection of your inner truth. Suppose you are living behind the protective veneer. In that case, your actions are not representations of who you are but perceptions of a person locked in the emotional entrapment of a childhood reality.
Once you break through the veneer, you will discover who you are at your deepest core. Then, you will destroy living in two different worlds by removing the conflict of living in both.
Are you up for the challenge?