10 things to know about healing from childhood sexual abuse

| April 23, 2023

Content preview: sexual trauma.

Survivors of child sex abuse (CSA) are inundated with untrue stories of their abuse, the aftermath, and what their healing journey should look like. The truth is those stories are a bunch of hot garbage.

Healing Honestly is a guide for survivors, written by a survivor, helping to break through the negative self-talk and debunk the myths that impact victims of CSA.

Below is an excerpt from the book Healing Honestly: The Messy and Magnificent Path to Overcoming Self-Blame and Self-Shame debunking the top 10 myths about healing from childhood sexual abuse that every survivor and the people who love them should know.

1. You are a real survivor.
UNTRUE STORY: There is a “real” survivor out there, and I am not it.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: Our pain is real and worthy of healing.

2. Our brains are protecting us.
UNTRUE STORY: We have to remember our abuse clearly in order to heal from it.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: Whatever we remember right now is enough for us to heal.

3. No one should dismiss our health needs.
UNTRUE STORY: Our health and trauma are totally separate.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: Our health and our trauma are inextricably tied together.

4. We are delightful friends.
UNTRUE STORY: We have too many needs to be a good friend.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: We can have needs and still have meaningful friendships.

5. Our bodies are wise about sexual healing.
UNTRUE STORY: We are having too much sex because of our trauma and are also having too little sex because of our trauma.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: Our sex lives ebb and flow with us as a part of our healing, and we have nothing to be ashamed of!

6. It’s unbelievable how fucking lovable we are.
UNTRUE STORY: We cannot love someone until we love ourselves.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: We are capable and worthy of all the love we desire.

7. Our healing journey invites our families to heal.
UNTRUE STORY: We are ruining our families.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: When we focus on healing ourselves, we are also healing our families because we are a part of our families.

8. We are great at spotting abusive workplaces.
UNTRUE STORY: We are failures because our trauma is showing up in our work lives.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: Our workplaces can replicate the dynamics of our abuse; the responsibility to fix that is on the shoulders of people in power.

9. We are the experts in our safety.
UNTRUE STORY: We are complicit if we do not report our abuse.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: We are never to blame for our abuse, and we need to make decisions around justice and accountability based on what’s best for ourselves.

10. We always deserve healing.
UNTRUE STORY: Healing is about transforming from a survivor to a thriver.
BUT TRUTHFULLY: Healing is a messy but beautiful nonlinear journey that requires rest, deep care, and celebration.

Excerpted with permission from Healing Honestly: The Messy and Magnificent Path to Overcoming Self-Blame and Self-Shame by Alisa Zipursky 2023 Berrett-Koehler Publishers: www.bkconnection.com