Childhood Sexual Abuse: Controlling the Flashbacks
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento sexual abuse lawyer. My firm remains committed to helping children who have been sexually abused obtain justice — while they seek to recover their self-respect and sense of dignity. No child should have to bear the burden of being sexually abused by an adult who threatens violence or revenge if the rapes are reported. Children have the right to hold the sexual predator who molested or raped them responsible for the abuse – so they can be fully compensated for all their suffering.
Bravely pursing a lawsuit against an abuser can be an empowering step toward viewing yourself as a survivor and not a victim. However, as you struggle to heal, you may have to battle “flashbacks” — physical and emotional responses to new stressful events that can make you feel like you’re being abused all over again. When experiencing a flashback, you may perspire heavily and start taking in shallow breaths that can increase your sense of panic. During such moments, always try to begin breathing deeply so you can slowly calm yourself down.
What Can Cause Abuse “Flashbacks?”
Some survivors report that sudden or unexpected stressful events can cause them to relive the panic and fear they experienced while being abused. Always try to remind yourself when you become upset that the abuse is in the past and that you’re now a strong and capable adult. If someone is treating you in a threatening manner, make it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated. Even being in large crowds or feeling helpless when you hear a family member is now very ill can sometimes trigger your flashbacks.
Learn New Ways to Prevent or Control Your Flashbacks
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent or control your “flashbacks.” And be aware that these events may be symptoms of PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder. Just as soldiers returning from war often relive terrible battles or explosions when they try to sleep or take a nap – survivors of childhood sexual abuse may also find themselves unexpectedly revisiting abuse memories.
Give serious thought to finding a licensed counselor who can help you work through your painful abuse memories. Fortunately, there are some sliding-scale therapists who will base your fees on your income. Learn how to do deep-breathing exercises, like those often offered in yoga and meditation classes. Keep in mind that when a person feels stressed-out or upset – it’s common to start breathing in a very shallow manner. This often decreases the full amount of oxygen your body needs to help calm you down.
In general, always remember to sit down and start breathing deeply when you start feeling stressed. Also, avoid settings or events that make you uncomfortable.
Finally, always remind yourself that you can gain control of your thoughts – and choose to think about simpler or happier times in your life. Make it a point to choose friends who understand you and prefer less stressful activities. There is always hope for childhood sexual abuse survivors – so keep on looking for new ways to heal and realize that you’re fully capable of pursuing your dreams and living a rewarding life.
More Topics by Edward A. Smith ~
- Sexual Abuse inside Foster Care
- Boy Scout Sexual Abuse
- Preschool Sexual Assault
- Sexual Assault by Clergy
- Molestation in Youth Sports Leagues
Sacramento Sexual Assault Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Sacramento. If you, or someone you love has suffered a molestation, please call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400. Or, you may reach me free of charge by calling (800) 404-5400.
I am a Million Dollar Advocates in California. This fellowship is reserved for only top US trial lawyers. Advocates have obtained verdicts/settlements worth over $1 Million.
A listing of settlements and verdicts can be found here.
Image Courtesy of: D. Sharon Pruitt – Hill AFB, UT, USA (Free A Child’s Cry for Peace Creative Commons) via Wikimedia Commons