‘It wasn’t your fault, it’s not your fault and it never will be.’
I’m talking to you my dear sister, the one whose sacredness was abused as a child, the one who was sexually molested and touched due to no action of your own. I’m talking to you today and I want you to know that it wasn’t your fault.
I’ve talked to too many sisters who have at some point been sexually abused, mistreated or taken advantage of in their childhood and yet they find that no one addresses it, no one talks about it, no one mentions it and so they hide it within themselves.
Well, today if you’re one of those sisters then I want to honour you, I want to honour the pain you felt and still feel and acknowledge that it’s real, it happened, and I want to declare it openly that IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT.
Today, I want to talk about how you may be feeling and how you can very slowly begin to re-frame and help yourself.
I want you to know that no matter what happened, there is still an opportunity to heal yourself, to feel okay and to not carry this burden with you all the time. I want you to know that there is a way out.
You may feel:
-VERY GUILTY - you blame yourself, wonder why it happened to you and not to anyone else and you probably feel like a bad person but I want you to know that you don’t need to carry that guilt, you don’t need to blame yourself, there is nothing wrong with you, you are the same innocent soul you were the day ALLAH created you and you don’t have to believe anything other than that. You don’t need to carry all that guilt because it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the perpetrator, that person who did not control themselves, followed their desires and made the small sacred helpless child you a victim of their untethered desires. The guilt belongs to them - not to you. You can slowly try to give it back and release yourself from the burden of carrying it around all the time.
- VERY ASHAMED - you probably feel ashamed, disgusted with yourself and embarrassed that it happened to you. You probably never mention it, talk about it or tell anyone. You probably feel like you’re always carrying this big heavy secret as a burden inside yourself, never being able to put it down or let it go, but once again I want you to know that you were sacred, the child (you) was sacred and sanctified and that person who did that to you broke one of the sanctities that ALLAH has laid down. They crossed a boundary that they shouldn’t have crossed and I want you to know that you can slowly release that shame by allowing the child in you to express herself, to talk out loud what happened to her and how she felt and then you can as your new fully grown adult self soother her and love her. You can reassure her that there is nothing wrong with her, that it wasn’t her fault and that she is actually just a cute adorable child that she was meant to be.
BLAMEWORTHY - you probably blamed yourself, even though on some level you know you didn’t do anything wrong (or maybe you don’t know this yet).
ANXIETY AND OVERTHINKING - you probably couldn’t stop thinking about it or on the other hand you may have blocked off the memory to numb yourself from the pain.
CONSTANT FEAR - you may be fearful that something bad is going to happen any time because it was the pattern that occurred for you in childhood.
OTHER SYMPTOMS YOU MAY EXPERIENCE:
- having trouble sleeping
- withdrawing from relationships and finding it difficult to connect on an emotional or physical level
-as a child, you had no way of escape, so you probably disconnected from your body to cope with what was happening and this may have lead to dissociation from your body, numbing body experiences, you may find it difficult to have a massage or you may not enjoy bath time like others, if you’re married you maybe fearful of physical intimacy
- nightmares and flashbacks of the events from time to time that leave you feeling anxious, sad and depressed
- you may have told someone who helped you emotionally and physically
- on the other hand you may have finally built up the courage to confide in someone but they didn’t believe you or support you which may have resulted in more shame, guilt, anger and self-hatred
These are all common and general signs and after-effects, you may see some of them in yourself and not others because each individual responds to trauma in their own way.
As a child you were scared, unsure of what to do and probably overpowered or sworn to secrecy by someone you may have trusted. In that situation your conscious or thinking brain switches off and the reptilian brain which is at the base of the skull takes over and manages the body. The reptilian brain responds to emotions with reflexes and without logic. This would result in three responses: flight, fight or freeze.
Your body and the reptilian brain will remember it’s response and will remember the cues that lead up to the danger and so whenever it comes across these it will automatically respond in the same way; without you using your brain and sometimes you may not even understand why you are behaving in a certain way.
So, for example, if someone tall harmed you in small dark spaces you may have a fear of tall men or dark spaces but you may not understand why that is.
During these times you are not using logic. The part of your brain that recognises DANGER automatically goes into HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF mode and you will respond in ways you may not understand or that may not make sense.
This is important to know because it tells you that as a child you couldn’t have thought or done better. Your brain tried to protect you the best it could, in whatever way it could, and so IT REALLY IS NOT YOUR FAULT IN ANY WAY.
And if you reflect on a young child experiencing the same now, you would not blame them. Instead you would show them empathy, understand and love them. The difficulty is doing that for yourself and that is where sometimes help is in order.
Trauma is trauma whether it happened once, twice or whether it happened repeatedly. You don’t need to compare yourself to others who had it worse and underestimate your trauma and you don’t need to carry this burden all by yourself either.
Things you can do for yourself:
- seek healing in the remembrance of ALLAH and dua
- talking therapy with someone you can trust and who has the knowledge and wisdom to deal with this kind of sensitive issues
- creative and art therapies to process the experience from a more subconscious point of view allowing deeper healing
- narrative therapy (writing, journaling and processing the events)
- timeline therapy with re-frames and empowering the child within
- Emotional freedom technique
It’s hard to admit these situations, it’s hard to be brave asking for help - but with the right kind of help, things can change.
I’ve come across this with so many of my clients that I felt it necessary to put it out there and give a shout out to all the sisters who have silently suffered and may still be suffering: “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.”
If you would like me to address the issue and give you a listening ear then feel free to get in touch to discuss coaching.
May ALLAH be with you and may HE ease your heart.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.