If you experienced sexual abuse as a child, chances are, you didn’t receive the kind of parenting you needed; the kind that would help you grow into a well-adjusted adult.
As a result, it’s very common to end up neglecting yourself in the areas of food, sleep, exercise; even in relationships, where you tend to lose yourself.
This is because you tend to treat yourself the way you were treated – whether you were neglected, abused, criticized, abandoned, etc. You do to yourself, and tell yourself, the typical things your mom and dad did, or did not, do.
You learned not to pay attention to your own needs, and you most likely have grown to believe that your needs are not important. That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to re-parent yourself.
Re-parenting is a process of giving yourself what you never got: love, nurturing, and protection.
Without re-parenting, your inner wounded child drives the show. You’ll continue to struggle with your health, relationships, career, etc. You’ll continue to mistakenly look to others (a partner, boss, or parent) to give you the kind of love and care you crave.
However, when you take the time to “parent” yourself, you strengthen the bond between your adult self and your inner child, and develop a sense of security, self-confidence and self-worth.
Re-parenting is a necessary step in healing from your childhood sexual abuse. Here are 4 tips to help you begin developing this relationship with your “inner child.”
4 Tips to Successfully Re-Parent Yourself
1. Take Time For Yourself
Take time every day to do something for yourself that you love: listen to music, take a nap, go for a walk, read a book, go see a movie, get a massage, etc. Engage in some kind of activity that has nothing to do with abuse or the current issues you are dealing with. This kind of “self-care” is a very loving and nurturing practice. I recommend you start with 30 minutes a day.
2. Check In
Three times a day, take a few minutes to check in with your inner child (when you first wake up, in the middle of the day, and at the end of the day). Checking in helps you become more aware of your needs, as you tune into your “body wisdom.”
Each time you check in, ask,
- “How are you feeling?”
- “What do you need?” (Food? Exercise? Sleep? Play?)
- “What would be fun for you to do right now?”
At the end of the day you can also express gratitude, “Thank you for letting me get all this work done today. Thank you for letting me know what you needed.”
Journaling is a powerful practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings. This helps you develop an inner conversation with yourself so you listen for and ‘hear’ what wants to be expressed.
Most often, your inner child wasn’t listened to; she wasn’t allowed to have needs and feelings. A daily journaling practice helps heal the pain of being ignored. It also helps to strengthen your awareness of yourself and your body (that was often invalidated during abuse).
Here’s a journaling exercise to try:
- Start writing with your non-dominant hand (this is usually the “voice” of your inner child).
- Respond by writing with your dominant hand (the “voice” of your adult self).
- Alternate writing back and forth with each hand, thus having a “conversation” between your inner child and your adult self.
This is a powerful exercise that helps you validate your inner child’s needs and feelings, while increasing your understanding of what is going on for this part of yourself.
4. Get Support
Having a trusted advisor to go to, someone you can share everything with, is a key aspect of healing. Because when you don’t talk about these issues, they stay locked in your body, and as a result, they own you. This keeps you caged in the past, repeating the patterns of abuse.
Getting support from an expert can help you accelerate your healing, and overcome the pain of your past abuse once and for all. When you talk about it with an advisor, you gain full access over your life, body, energy – everything.
But you need to take that first step of unlocking the invisible cage.
I can help you with that.
I invite you to contact me to see how I can be of support to you in overcoming the issues related to your childhood sexual abuse. Please click here to find out more about scheduling a free consultation with me: Beyond Abuse Breakthrough Session