Overcoming Society’s ‘Get Over It’ Mentality: A Deep Dive into the Lingering Effects of Past Trauma

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Catholic Church, Doctors/Healthcare Providers, Massage Therapists

Road to Recovery After Abuse Horowitz Law

“That happened a long time ago. Why can’t you just get over it?

In a world that often urges us to move on and look ahead, the struggle with past traumas, particularly with child sexual abuse, presents a vastly different scenario. While seemingly logical or well-intentioned, the question can induce an undesired effect on survivors, making the road to recovery even more challenging.

The Harm in a Simple Question

No matter how innocuous it may seem to ask a survivor of child sexual abuse why they can’t just “get over it,” the underlying implications of this query bring to light a profound misunderstanding of the trauma and its lasting impacts. Seemingly logical to those unacquainted with the depth of such experiences, this question inadvertently adds to the survivor’s pain, reinforcing feelings of isolation, guilt, and misunderstanding.

The Reason It’s Not That Simple

Here’s why the journey towards healing is anything but straightforward for a child sexual abuse survivor.

      • The Depth of Violation**: This type of abuse is profoundly invasive, leaving scars that go beyond physical injuries, attacking the very core of an individual’s sense of self and security.
      • Young and Vulnerable**: Children, by virtue of their age, lack the emotional maturity and understanding to process or cope with the horrors inflicted upon them.
      • Complexity of Emotional Wounds**: Emotional injuries are intricate, often intertwined with the survivor’s identity, making them more challenging to address and heal.
      • The Long Therapy Journey**: Healing is not linear, and therapy is not an exact science. Each survivor’s path to recovery is unique and requires time, patience, and professional support.

Contributing Factors to the Pain

The journey is hindered further by various factors, including the possibility of encountering the perpetrator in daily life, the use of harmful coping mechanisms, and the daily struggle with decision-making influenced by the trauma.

  • Presence of the Perpetrator**: Knowing that the offender is still out there, potentially harming others, or the fear of an unexpected encounter can significantly exacerbate the survivor’s trauma.
  • Harmful Coping Mechanisms**: In an attempt to numb their suffering, survivors might turn to drugs, alcohol, self-harm, or other destructive behaviors, which, in turn, perpetuates their pain.
  • Daily Decision-making Struggles**: The aftereffects of the abuse can lead to problematic or self-destructive decisions, adding layers of guilt and self-blame to the survivor’s emotional burden.

The Profound Impact

Understanding the pervasive impact of child sexual abuse on a person’s entire being is crucial. It goes beyond healing physical wounds; it is a profound violation that affects an individual’s sense of autonomy, safety, and self-worth. Recognizing this is the first step towards genuinely supporting survivors.

The Role of Loved Ones in Healing

Family and friends play a pivotal role in the healing process. Here are some ways to offer meaningful support:

  • Believe Them**: Affirming the survivor’s experience is foundational to their recovery.
  • Encourage Healing**: Emphasize their ability to heal and encourage patience with themselves.
  • Remind Them of Their Innocence**: It’s vital to reinforce that the blame solely lies with the abuser.
  • Educate Yourself**: Understand the dynamics and effects of childhood sexual abuse to provide informed support.
  • Recommend Resources**: Suggest helpful materials, like *Allies in Healing* by Laura Davis, to navigate the challenges together. It’s a very readable, practical, down-to-earth, ‘how to’ book written specifically for spouses, partners, parents, and siblings of someone who has been assaulted.

Avoiding Harmful Questions

While it may stem from a place of concern or desire for the survivor to heal, urging them to “get over it” is counterproductive. Instead, focusing on supportive actions and understanding the depth of their experience is crucial.

In Conclusion

Asking a child sexual abuse survivor why they can’t just “get over it” overlooks the profound and long-lasting impact of such trauma. Understanding the complexities of emotional wounds, the significance of the violation, and the challenging road to recovery is essential for providing meaningful support. Being patient, educated, and empathetic, loved ones can play a significant role in a survivor’s healing journey, helping them towards a future marked by strength and resilience. Remember, healing is not about getting over the past; it’s about moving forward with it in a way that fosters growth and recovery.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures, medical professionals, and numerous sexual assault lawsuits against massage therapists. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization, doctor, professional, or therapist sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.