The most common type of negative self talk for victims of childhood abuse is self-blame for the abuse.

You may be blaming yourself directly by telling yourself or others, ‘I caused the abuse’. Or it may be more subtle, such as, ‘I was a seductive child’ or ‘I was always causing trouble’. Self-blame perpetuates feelings of depression, anger, shame, and low self esteem. If you believe you were somehow to blame for the abuse then healing will be very difficult. To break the pattern of self-blame you need to let yourself off of the hook. You can do this by telling yourself that you weren’t to blame for the abuse. You were a child at the time. There is no justification for an adult to abuse a child. This is why, today, child abuse is against the law.

If you are still having trouble believing this try this exercise:

Name a child you know now, that is of the same age you were when you were abused.
Now imagine the abuse happening to that child.
Do you hold that child responsible for the abuse?
No, of course you don’t. As adults we easily forget the abuse through the eyes of a child and remember it as though we were adults.

Telling yourself that you were not responsible for the abuse doesn’t mean you are not responsible for changing how the abuse affected you. As an adult you need to take responsibility for your problems by seeking help and changing destructive patterns of behaviour.

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