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February 23, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Can I be loved?

Question:

Hi. I hope it is okay that I am writing this and I hope I can get a little answer from someone. I am 24 and I am feeling pretty hopeless at the moment. I don't know how to hold on. Right now if I stay alive it is because I have a wonderful psychologist and I love her so much that I wouldn't want to let her down. But when things are rough, or when I don't feel her close by I feel that I don't want to go on. I just don't know how to live like this.

After a year and a half, I was finally able to tell my therapist that my dad abused (it hurts to use that word) me for a long time. She said she knew but was waiting for me to be ready to share with her. I was able to share in a letter cause it was eating me up inside and it still is. She is the only person I've ever trusted enough to share with. No one else knows. I have a very big problem when it comes to letting my therapist get close to me... I need her close, I need to believe what she cares...but then I push her away even when I need so much to feel her with me. She told me that I somehow expect her to love the little girl I was before being abused in such a horrible way, that I want her to make it all go away and she can't, that she can simply love the person I am now... including that little scared, hurt girl inside of me. I need to believe that she loves me, I truly need her to love me, and I just feel like I am falling apart.

My therapist wants me to try to put into words all that hurts inside of me - and I just can't. I only have tears...and I can't share. I feel I just want to end it all cause I can't handle the pain I feel inside, the fears of not being loved. I feel as if I were a little girl who just needs to be held and rocked to sleep and told she's safe and loved, that's me now, that's how I feel every where I go... ashamed of myself... of my body. I feel this deep, deep need of closeness and love and safe touch and hugs but I am so afraid that no one can love me... cause I have such a deep needs... needs of a little girl. When I first told my therapist about the abuse I cried and she held me. After waiting a year I was craving a hug from her and when it happened, I surrendered to the feelings inside... to the tears and I cried and cried and cried safely in her arms. The little girl in me just wishes I could stay safe like that without anyone touching me or hurting me bad... she held me and reassured me that no one could touch me or hurt me now... that I am strong enough to face this and that I am not alone. She told me that she is willing to walk through this path with me. I want so much to believe her but I don't know how so I shut down and I keep everything inside. I don't know how to share... how to talk.

I feel I am falling apart in my every day life, at work and at university. I can't have a healthy sexual relationship with my boyfriend cause every time he kisses me or touches me I feel dirty and I feel rejection cause I feel my dad in me. My therapist told me that my dad didn't let me be a little girl and that now I want desperately to let that little girl out but the truth is that I am an adult. I can't face life as a child but that is what I do cause all I want is to be loved and held safely and to be told that nothing bad is going to happen anymore.

I guess my question is, can I be loved in spite of having been hurt by my dad in this way and if I share with my therapist and tell her what happened will she stop loving me or will she leave me? Will she feel I am bad? Are tears okay? Will I ever stop feeling my dad in me? I love him and I feel tears right now, it makes me cry, he died now and I feel so confused - scared that he might be angry that I've told. I am just so confused... thank you for listening.

Lilbutterfly (24 year-old woman)

Answer:

Dear Lilbutterfly,

First know that you did nothing wrong and you did not deserve the terrible abuse that your father did to you. You were an innocent child and you were terribly taken advantage of. Sexual abuse is a terrible abuse of soul and it requires the most severe psychological defenses in order to survive. Good for you for having the courage to speak the truth and the courage to heal after holding in the terror all those long years. Trust yourself and seek strength anywhere you can find it. Seek honest, loving, safe people who will empower you over time. It sounds like you have one in your boyfriend, and in your therapist. Your psychotherapist should have knowledge and expertise in counseling you through sexual abuse healing.

What you are doing is grieving a long held wound. Recovery is possible and the memories and feelings will lose their power over time. But it depends how severe the abuse was. While all sexual abuse is severe, it depends how frequently the abuse occurred and what was done to you. This will affect the level of grief you need to move through.

Grief is a natural response to any loss or trauma. It includes moving out of denial and feeling shame, sadness, anger, rage, depression... but the end result of healing and grieving is acceptance and feeling inner peace. I know it sounds impossible that you could ever feel acceptance from something so horrible, but it will come to you over time. Faith in a Higher Power gives hope to many moving through such pain. However, our notion of a Higher Power or God comes from our relationship with parents and your trust was shattered by you father. If you have a faith in God then use whatever spiritual practices you get strength from such as prayer, or going to religious services. The use of meditation will bring up feeling since you are going inward so you may find prayer more comfortable. If you are so shut down around God or spirituality, that is OK and is quite common among survivors. But if you are open to God, God will carry you through and heal you from what you feel you are incapable of being healed from. God is absolute unconditional love.

Follow the guidance of your qualified therapist who is hopefully a licensed Family Therapist, Psychologist, or psychiatrist. Many people find 12 Step recovery to be helpful. There are groups such as Incest Survivors Anonymous, or Sexual abuse survivors anonymous. It can be helpful to be with others who are moving through a similar healing journey. There are so many feelings to be sorted out. Love, and all the rest, tangled up in a mass of confusion. Do you best to tell the truth with safe trusted people. There are no guarantees in life.

It sounds like your Therapist is there for you. Tell her your fears about her leaving and see how she is there for you. Also you may find reading helpful in order to understand what you are moving through. Courage to Heal by Bass and Davis is an excellent starting point. Most of all, know that you are a good person. It was not your fault. And you can recover goodness and love in your life. Again, Be sure you have a qualified health Professional to support you in this difficult time. Be Good to yourself, try not to fall into the trap of abusing yourself because of what was done to you. You deserve the best of everything. If things get too difficult for a period of time to work, you can explore the options around temporary state disability with your therapist. Do whatever is best for you. Try to stay away from people who bring you down. You deserve only the best and most loving people in your life. Over time you will learn to surround yourself with people who are good to you and who nourish your soul.

Blessings,

John Prindle

This question was answered by John Prindle, MA. He has a Masters degree in Transpersonal Psychology with a specialization in addiction medicine and works out of Oakland, California. He practices spiritual counseling honoring all religious and spiritual paths with a focus on career and life transformations.

For more information visit the site or contact information page on QueenDom.

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