Another important part of the healing process involves coming to terms with how the abuse has affected your attitudes towards yourself and others. During your abuse you would have received messages about your lack of worth or value. These messages could be subtle or direct but all will serve to reinstate your low self esteem. A friend of mine was jokingly told he would end up walking down the high street in high heels and a hand bag, whilst his sister was told she would end up playing football for a profession. This, combined with his abuse, left him confused about his sexuality and lowered his self esteem. Although quite a strong character he often quietly questioned his sexuality and always tried to prove his worth – he became a bully at school and eventually ended up in prison for actual bodily harm. He has now learnt to deal with his feelings and can see how his attitude of himself affected his out look on life.
If you experienced these negative messages, they will still be running your life now.
Subconsciously you will be aware of an inner voice. We all talk to ourselves – it helps us make decisions and think things through. Sometimes however the inner voice will put you down: ‘you’re too fat, you’re ugly, you don’t act like a man’ etc. You must learn to reply to this inner self and tell it your worth. Don’t worry it sounds crazy, but it works on the same principle as the ‘mirror theory’. If you stand in front of a mirror and repeat several times out loud that you are a confident person, after a time your brain will accept this definition. If you don’t believe me try it, I don’t recommend you doing it in the office toilets though!!
During the healing process you always need to remain positive about your abuse. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, however take a look at the rest of this section and see for yourself.
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