EDNA HEALY · MFT              

Compassion  Kindness Clarity           

Therapy for Childhood Abuse








When issues related to childhood abuse are left unhealed survivors frequently experience struggles in their adult relationships. There are many different ways that childhood abuse can impact our adult lives. Survivors who had responsive parenting or some other caring person who stepped in to protect them may have different adult life experiences than someone who as a child experienced repeated abuse with no one willing or able to step in to help.

--- Therapy May Be Able To Help You FInd Relief & Healing

Childhood abuse can range from violent physical and/or sexual experiences to neglect.  There are many forms abuse may take, such as: 

  •  Verbal, psychological, emotional abuse
  •  Physical and/or sexual abuse
  •  Witnessing abusive treatment of your siblings
  •  Neglect and abandonment
  •  Witnessing abusive treatment of one of your parents or caregivers

If you grew up with abuse you may experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as: flashbacks, an increased startle response, hypervigilance, attempting to avoid anything that reminds you of your traumatic experience, and nightmares.  Your system may be wired to track (sometimes accurately, sometimes not) what could go wrong, what is going wrong, what other people are feeling.  You may have internalized negative beliefs about yourself such as: There’s something wrong with me, I’m not loveable, I’m not good enough.  For some survivors it is difficult to trust others and this may show up especially strongly in their adult relationships. 

Those who grew up witnessing emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse may have internalized fear, anger, or sadness from living in that environment along with a sense of helplessness/hopelessness and guilt. These individuals may also have symptoms of PTSD, along with depression or anxiety.

Many who experience neglect describe the effects as more insidious, difficult to name.  Some may have difficulty identifying why they are feeling bad inside.  If you experienced neglect growing up you may as an adult internalized hopelessness and confusion.  You also may be coping with anxiety, depression or a general dissatisfaction that’s hard to identiy and understand what it is connected to.  In relationships it may be difficult to ask for your needs to be met or even to know what your needs are.  Sometimes we do know our needs and feel that we never get them met.

Survivors as adults may be super-responsible or they mey have difficulty taking responsibility (become withdrawn/frozen), they may struggle with accomplishing/finishing things, try to control their environment (and people in it) or experience all of these states depending on what the situation is.

However your life is being currently impacted I want you to know that there is the possibility of change and healing.  While we can’t change what happened to us as children there are ways to have it not negatively impact you for the rest of your life.

Some survivors experience:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-questioning, wondering if their wants and needs are “normal” or “valid.”
  • Difficulty expressing needs or difficulty identifying or even acknowledging they have needs                                         
  • Themselves as trying to control situations and people in their environment – frequently an attempt to try and feel safe, heard, seen.
  • Strong emotions that overwhelm them and at times these feelings come out in ways they regret later on (i.e.  lashing out at people they care about and sometimes lashing in at themselves).
  • A loss of their sense of self in relationships
  • Find it difficult to hold onto what is true for them when they are in relationship when the person they are with holds a different perspective. 
  • Have a  desire to help others that is so strong that at times they may put aside their own needs to meet the needs of their partner and when  their partner fails to reciprocate their giving they may feel hurt or resentful or they may continue giving hoping their generosity will be returned (even when it repeatedly has not). 
  • Struggle with staying open and balancing holding onto their own truth in a situation while being open to hearing their partner’s experience.
  • Old feelings related to wants and needs, met and unmet, from the past show up in current relationships 
  • Being highly independent (a very effective coping skill developed when a child doesn’t have the support they need) and in relationships may find it difficult to trust their partner 
  • Difficulty setting boundaries in relationships.  They may not even really know what it means to set a healthy boundary as they may have had few models of healthy boundary setting growing up in their family 
  • Anxiety when their partner expresses anger towards them.  It may trigger fear, anxiety, anger, numbness, wanting to run, feelings like this will never end.  Because of the triggering it is difficult at these times to express their needs
  • Times when anger comes out at others (in a way you later feel bad about) or anger may end up being, turned inside toward themselves, or both
  • Hurting themselves.  This can be an attempt deal with overwhelming feelings, or it can be a way to try and break through a feeling of numbness 
  • Repeated internal self-questioning such as:  Why am I here?  What’s Wrong with me?  What’s the point of being here?  How do I know if what I’m feeling is ‘normal’?

From a place of sensitivity, non-judgment, and compassion I support your healing from the impact of painful childhood experiences that interfere with your life today.  I also support you in healing from the effects of difficult adult experiences and relationships.  Together we identify your strengths and work to develop strengths in new areas.   I use a variety of methods that I have found to helpful.  My approach includes (but is not limited to) mindfulness, somatic, transpersonal, relational, and EMDR aspects.

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