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Healing the Inner Trauma or Roots of Sexual Abuse
by Shirley Catanzaro

For the past 30 years or so, thousands of incidents of sexual abuse have come 'Out of the Closet,' so to speak. Many of my clients are survivors of this horrific injustice and still carry the scars within, both physical and emotional. So terrible were the memories that many have blocked them out. When asked about their childhood they would respond with "I can't remember my childhood". The memories are stored deep with the psyche of the individual. It sometimes takes years of counseling and or bodywork for the trauma to surface.

Abuse of any kind, done to male or female, festers within and leaves wounds. The behavior of the individual begins to change. They may become untrusting (especially if the word 'love' is used while performing the abuse) and they may find it difficult to have a relationship with anyone. Filled with pain, guilt and shame, they begin to think they had done something to instigate the behavior of the abuser. Frequently, the perpetrator is a member of the family, a relative, a family friend, a baby-sitter, etc., and the list goes on. So horrendous is the feeling that the exploited individual does not know where to turn. Oftentimes if they tell someone, they are not believed and so the secret is stored away and as the rituals continue, the psyche of the child begins to disassociate itself.

As a Spiritual Counselor and Hypnotherapist, many of my clients have been survivors of sexual, physical or ritual abuse. Often, the reason someone comes for counseling is for assistance for what is going on in his or her life today. Any sort of relationship is difficult, and they may have problems with their sexuality or show signs of depression. They know something is wrong and cannot get a picture, or piece together their lives. Nothing is working for them and life is too complex.

During our sessions together we begin to unravel their story. We start peeling away at their surface feelings. In order to get to the root of the problems they are facing, we need to find the piece of them that first was injured, the piece of them that first lost love, trust or belief in someone. If they can begin to piece themselves back together, and to understand that they did nothing to create what happened to them, we can begin building a foundation. This is a most important step, because it allows clients to be in charge of who or what they will allow in their body from that point on. They learn to view the situation as something that happened to them rather than it being who they are.

The journey back is a long and courageous one for many and along with the therapy, they need a support system. Support groups, along with some good friends, assist them to take their baby steps out in the world. For babies are what they are in a way. Because of the loss of their childhood they never got to experience a 'normal' life. At some point they begin to take charge, to feel secure within, and start their journey back and I say BRAVO!

Remember each one of us deserves a life filled with the ability to make choices and to be the writer, director, producer and star of our life. I pray that if you have been a victim or survivor of abuse of any kind to seek assistance. There are hotlines you can call, there are many agencies out there that are able and willing to assist you, for you are not alone any longer. Bring yourself into the light of day and live for you.

The Community ConneXion Online Support Forum for Victims of Abuse is a great place to start for they are putting together a panel of individuals who have been survivors, to assist those of you who still remain in the shadow of the past.

Shirley Catanzaro is a Spiritual Intuitive Counselor and Hypnotherapist working in the Portland area. She can be reached on (503) 675-1359 or by email to: