Sadly, in our country, every second child was subjected to physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
Mostly from the family. Sometimes from teachers or children. The child has no choice, he is forced to remain in a situation of violence and hope that someone will notice and influence the aggressors. But often people experience confusion, fear or shame in the observer's situation. Pass by, lower their eyes. Having matured, a person makes one of two decisions for himself - either “never again” or “this is normal”.
In the first case, he may have normal relations with people. But more often he himself becomes aggressor. Often in relation to yourself.
If this person once decided that living in a situation of violence is normal, then his whole subsequent life will be a repetition of a situation of violence. He will remain a victim. It is really difficult for such an adult to secure himself. After all, he does not know how otherwise.
What is worth knowing about violence?
Violence is a very broad concept. Most of us think of beating or raping. But in fact, everything is more complicated. Violence is any action that harms another person and is not accompanied by his consent to such an impact. People who come to cope with the consequences of childhood violence most often voice only truly radical experiences. But when we start to talk more, it becomes clear that their history of violence is very voluminous.
For example, the emotional abuse - This is ignoring or humiliating honor and dignity on the part of parents or teachers. Physical abuse - this may not even be a strong blow, but often repeated. Sexual abuse is still harder. By and large, even a situation where a child sees the sexual intercourse of his parents can be considered sexual violence. Further down the scale will be a demonstration of the genitals, sexual conversations, and rape itself. Unfortunately, all this is far from a rare case in our reality.
Most often, the victim of violence turns to the therapist for the following reasons:
- the inability to build long-term trusting relationships with people;
- repeated experience of adult violence;
- psychosomatic diseases;
- various personality disorders;
- social phobias;
- fear of loneliness or abandonment;
- panic attacks.
Where to start to help?
First of all, I help a person understand that he is in a situation of violence. If it has never been otherwise, then the victim will not even call it violence. She needs help to realize that what is happening is wrong, abnormal. Understand that the chair on which she (the victim) has been sitting for years is a place of torture. At this stage, I often encounter aggression from a partner or relative-aggressor. It `s naturally. The victim, once aware of what hell lives in, cannot “see” this. Her behavior will change.
Then I help the little frightened child inside the victim of violence find support in me. Understand that I will not cause harm and will not give out. That I will be on his side. And at the same time see enough power in me not to be afraid of his offenders. Over time, and sometimes this time needs a lot, the child inside the Client begins to believe me. And only then does the real therapy begin.
At the stage of psychotherapy of the consequences of violence, this child feels safe enough next to me to tell his story. Sometimes scary, sometimes even shameful. But out loud. At first, these are just words that are not accompanied by feelings. It’s so difficult to speak. Our psyche is a perfect system. So perfect that cuts off the emotions that may arise. And a person at first really does not feel them.
It would be great if it worked only on the history of violence. But cutting off the ability to be sad and afraid, the protective mechanisms cut us off and the ability to rejoice. Sometimes they even kill the ability to love. First of all, to love yourself. And without this, it is impossible to love another. After all, love in its healthy sense is an exchange. A person traumatized by violence subconsciously seeks someone from whom he can take. Take care, love, safety. And only when this cup is filled, can he give. Of course, these are the radical consequences of childhood violence.
What happens next during the psychotherapy of violence? Then comes the time to feel. Little by little, with homeopathic doses. Victims of violence have a deep fear that they will not cope with their feelings. After all, they are very intense, and there are so many! I, in turn, promise to keep the Client and ensure that everything is fine with him. I dose emotions so that they are safe, and help not only to feel them, but to understand what they are about. You may have a completely legitimate question: why feel negative emotions? Especially the emotions of situations that are long gone. Indeed, this experience is difficult and unpleasant. He would not bring pleasure to anyone.
The fact is that our brain seeks to complete open-ended questions. The incompletion of certain situations inside also leads to these negative emotions. These situations arise because important needs in relations with people are not satisfied. As a natural consequence, a negative experience arises, emotional or physical. We have protective mechanisms of the psyche that suppress these emotions if they are too strong at the moment. Therefore, at the moment when the injury occurs, negative emotion is suppressed. This does not mean that she is leaving, - from the realm of the conscious she is forced out into the subconscious.
What happens next?
In a situation that is at least a bit reminiscent of the same, initial, experienced emotions arise again. We react not from reality, but from that past situation. Even if that decision does not suit us today and will bring harm. If we are talking about a situation of violence (no matter what form), this means that we will respond to a hand raised for greeting as a wave for a blow. Both literally and figuratively.
Thus, psychotherapy of violence often consists in making repressed emotions conscious. This means giving a person the choice of how to react. As a result, a raised hand is perceived as a raised hand, then the purpose of this raising is evaluated. And then a decision is made about the reaction. This whole process takes a few seconds. But it fundamentally changes the reality of the victim of violence. The belief that the world is a dangerous place is leaving.
What results do we expect?
After the Inner child is able to be in contact with another person, not expecting the usual violence, the time comes to return the person to power and power over his life. This is the most wonderful stage in therapy. On it, the former victim of violence understands that nothing can happen to her that she will not allow. Of course, there are repeated situations, but with the majority of psychologically healthy people they occur extremely rarely, because a person is fine with boundaries and intuition.
In addition to understanding, a completely new skill appears at this stage - setting boundaries that are incredibly difficult to break. Strength and the ability to influence your life and those around you return to the person. The opportunity to speak openly about your needs. This is an invaluable gift that has been given to each of us from birth, but society takes it from us throughout life, instilling too many rules. Sometimes very contradictory rules that impose a restriction on desires and needs that are quite natural for us.
The main goal in working with victims of violence is to get them out of the script when they are able to be in only one way - gaming. That is, a relationship in which a person can take only one of three roles - the victim of violence, the one who carries out the violence or the one who saves others at the cost of his own health. The best result is a person’s ability to be well aware of their relationship needs and find people who are able to satisfy these needs. This is the ability to be vulnerable in a relationship, without becoming a victim, taking responsibility. Only in such relationships can we feel free and safe at the same time. Do not be dependent on another person and not be lonely.