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Thursday: The importance of support while healing

In Sexual Assault Awareness on December 9, 2010 at 9:41 am

The subject of losing trust in other people is common when healing from a sexual assault.  Can I trust any of my friends, when it was one whom I trusted that hurt me?  Can I trust the world when a stranger did this to me?  However, a close support system can be extremely influential while healing from the aftermath of an assault; especially when rebuilding self-esteem and learning to trust again.

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook states that “while self-esteem is something we build within ourselves, much of our feeling of self-worth is determined by our significant personal relationships.  Others cannot give you a feeling of adequacy and confidence, but their acceptance, respect, and validation of you can reaffirm and strengthen your own positive attitude and feelings about yourself.”  The author recommends a support system of two or three close friends with whom you feel that you can share anything.  People who you might tell immediately following an assault who support your decision of whether or not to make a report.  People who will sit up with you in the early stages of healing when you can’t sleep.  People who understand when that you sometimes feel angry because of the stress and circumstance and don’t get offended when you occasionally snap at them.  And people who point out the moments when you act like your old self, even when you feel like that person is gone forever. 

One of the worst aspects of a sexual assault is the residing feeling that you are totally alone.  However, survivors can begin to combat this feeling the moment they let someone in and accept their support.

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