Sunday, July 01, 2007

Healing the Wounds of Martial Abuse

How does one heal oneself or one’s children from the traumas of abuse? Physical wounds and scars are problematic enough, but much of the injury is done to the heart and mind. How can a victim become whole again?
The aftereffects of abuse can take many forms, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, which includes numbness, edginess, and reliving the event), insomnia, headaches, muscle aches, aggressiveness, delinquency and school problems (in children and teens), and withdrawal.

Encourage children and teens to talk about it. You don’t have to be pushy, but always let them know you are open to their problems. If problems arise with their teachers, neighbors, or other kids, try to use these as opportunities to get the child to talk.

Remember, many of the same things apply to adults. Depression and PTSD were first recognized as adult problems; however, we now know they have a role in children’s lives too. If you have successfully escaped from an abusive situation, and all the evidence tells you that you and your children are reasonably secure, watch out for signs of depression and PTSD. If you find yourself dwelling on what happened, or if you are often overtaken by feelings of fear, malaise, or pessimism, talk it out with someone you trust. Don’t be afraid to seek help. There are many counseling programs available through state and local agencies. Don’t feel as if you have to tough it out on your own. These problems are as real, and can be as debilitating, as any physical wounds. If a physical injury continued to bother you, would you hesitate to go for help? Injuries to the mind and spirit are the same.

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