How do I know if a person is being abused?

by Abuse, Caregiving Questions0 comments

One of my friends was sexually abused by her brother.  I remember her telling me that she tried to tell her mother, but her mother didn’t want to “hear that kind of talk.”  As an adult, she found some freedom from the haunting memories through using a book with the title, A Door of Hope, by Jan Frank.  My friend, later went on to lead a support group for abused women using that same book. In her book, Jan says:

“My own parents divorced when I was five years old.  When I was eight, Mother remarried.  My stepfather was a Christian man who attended church regularly.  At the age of ten, I went forward in an evening church service and asked Christ into my life as my personal Savior.  Three weeks later, my stepfather molested me.

Incest!  The word is ugly!  The act is devastating.

Years passed.  I married a wonderful Christian man and two years into our marriage our first little girl was born.  In the days that followed, the harder I tried to care for our vulnerable, colicky baby, the more desperate and out-of-control I became.  That desperation triggered the memory of the helplessness that I felt as a ten-year-old.  My past began to haunt me.  Migraine  headaches and nightmares became frequent.  I struggled with intense explosive anger.  I was depressed, critical with my husband and I felt undeserving of God’s love.  (See complete list of symptoms following this story.)  I had prayed for years that God would help me forgive my stepfather so that I could go on with my life.  I thought that was all there was to it.  But I was wrong.  I needed to go through a healing process.”

In her book, Jan details a ten-step recovery plan, Free to Care.  This process can be applied to any emotional wound, one may have suffered. Below are the symptoms which adults may exhibit if they were abused as children:

  • Headaches
  • Guilt/Shame
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Memory Blocks
  • Isolation
  • Bulimia
  • Compulsiveness
  • Lack of self-control
  • Repeated Victimization
  • Distance from God
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Anger
  • Anorexia
  • Nightmares
  • Loneliness
  • Sexual Problems
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Fear

Jan advises, “If you have checked seven or more of the above items, it may be helpful for you (or the person you are concerned about) to seek counseling from a Christian professional in your area.”

CHILD ABUSE:  Here is an inclusive list of the signs and symptoms of child abuse including physical and sexual abuse:  signs and symptoms of child abuse.

Photo credit: Kevin McShane




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