Healing from Sexual Abuse by a Family Member

Healing looks different for survivors of sexual abuse by a family members. Everyone starts their journey in their own way and it’s important to remember to do everything on your own terms, in your own time, and in a way that feels right for you.

As you begin to process and unpack your trauma, know that healing is not always linear. For many, healing can feel like it has a lot of twists and turns, as well as progressions and regressions. While this may cause frustration, it is natural to encounter bumps along the way as you learn what works for you and what contributes to your happiness. At times, you may feel like you are going backward in your healing; but remember, your healing can progress forward even when there are rough days.

Learning to approach healing with small steps and decisions can help make this process feel more attainable. Throughout your healing process, remember to be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Some examples of practicing self-compassion include:

  • Taking time each day to talk to yourself with love, understanding, and patience
  • Finding a space that helps you feel peaceful
  • Reminding yourself that you are in control of your healing
  • Making a therapy appointment to speak with a mental health professional
  • Talking with someone that you trust
  • Distancing yourself from harmful people that do not honor your boundaries or your path towards healing

Whatever you need to heal, know that you deserve safety, connection, and support.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, it is never too late to get help and start healing. The National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential, anonymous support 24/7. Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org to get help.

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