The emotional healing of any type of traumatic event is basically the same except for one important distinction that exists between trauma that is the result of abusive acts (Abuse Trauma) and that which arises naturally from the tragedies and endings that are part of life (Life Trauma).
Abuse Trauma requires victimization – one individual overpowering another. This necessitates that the victim ‘take back his/her power’ in order for healing to occur. In Life Trauma – for example, the death of a loved one – this is not an issue. As painful as Life Trauma is, it is not abusive – the individual hurting is not a victim even though s/he may feel the same pain as a victim of abuse.
In this article, I want to focus on techniques which may assist those of you who have endured Abuse Trauma to reclaim your power because if this is not undertaken successfully, you will not be able to heal. You will never be whole if other people own pieces of your energy/spirit/power. You will know that you have retrieved your energy when you feel better, more alert, energized, uplifted and positive.
I recommend that you attempt the following in therapy initially then when you are strong enough, do so in your own time.
- Write letters to your abusers and burn them (send them if you need to but make sure that no harm will come to you or anyone else in the process). Be as honest and as brutal as you need to be – it is the least you can do to them and the most you can do for yourself.
- Make believe you are confronting them in your mind (via visualization) or in a role playing exercise where someone has taken on their persona or you are talking to an empty chair imagining them sitting in it.
- Confront them in person. This needs much preparation beforehand between yourself and a therapist. Then you will need support during and after the event. Be prepared to have them deny any wrongdoing. It will hurt when it happens even though you may go in expecting to be disappointed – this is why you need ongoing support.
(Excerpt from DIY Therapy: Trauma)