Practicing sensitivity towards abuse survivors

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As a survivor myself, there have been so many instances that I recall from friends & family who have re-traumatised me by not understanding my abuse or by dismissing my feelings and experiences. This is something that tends to happen quite often. It isn’t fair to expect people who haven’t experienced trauma to know how complex the effects can be. It is ok however, to make people aware that there are helpful things that they can say and unhelpful things that they should avoid saying.

On many occassions in my childhood and even most recently,  I was told I was too sensitive by friends, that I focused too much on what my parents thought and they couldn’t understand why I allowed them to have such a hold on my life. It is impossible for people to understand the complexity of ‘toxic bonding’ with your abusers, whoever they may be..Toxic bonding is also known as stockholm syndrome..When the people who abused you are your parents, then it is even harder to break free…There are so many layers of trauma. You feel utterly devastated and lost when distancing yourself and are overwhelmed with feelings of shame, guilt, worthlessness and depression. When growing up in an abusive home, it is all you have known..So even if abusive, it is your normality and still stays that way until you are well into adulthood. To get used to new healthier patterns of behaviour you must re-train your brain to get used to healthier people. This takes a very long time and that is why survivors of complex trauma take baby steps at their own pace, with the help of a mental health trauma professional.

After my recent training as a Cognitive Behavioural Coach (CBC), I have learnt a lot about how to help people in various areas of their life. Cognitive behavioural personal coaching deals with behavioural issues such as perfectionism, procastination, time management, task management, decision making, goal setting and offers many practical steps which can help both personally and professionaly. The cognitive and emotional side of this coaching is something that is very close to my heart, as I know how hard it can be to suffer from unhelpful thinking patterns. These unhelpful thinking distortions are usually a big part of anxiety and depression and often lead to the resulting unhelpful behaviours. It can be something as small as ” I can’t do the presentation because everyone will think i’m stupid when I mumble” to ” I can’t go out for dinner because I will feel anxious and be sick”. Anxiety is a big worry for many and although it differs in severity from one individual to the next, it usually stems from one major core belief that people have of themselves. Once the core belief is identified, then the person can move forward in re-training their mind to believe a more helpful, alternative belief.

CBC is very useful for many different anxiety inducing situations and negative behaviours. I believe that it is possible to even help individuals with personality disorders to learn practical skills to improve their life. CBC isn’t obviously suitable for severe cases of depression, suicidal ideation and grief. In these cases, a referral must be made. If the person is managing however but just can’t get certain things right due to faulty thinking or bad habits, then this is fixable. Coaching can also be helpful where psychotherapy isn’t. If the coach is specialised in an area or has experience in certain issues, then this is even more useful for the coachee.

In regards to my background, I am hoping to become a specialist coach as well as a general personal (life)coach. I would like to specialise in assisting people to break free from dysfunctional relationships, dysfuctional thinking patterns and to become aware of what they are in control of and what they aren’t. I would also be very interested in helping people develop self-compassion, more self-care whilst introducing the many helpful models CBC uses.Practical skills can be taught for dealing with social situations, relationships, parenting and many more. As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I also hope to bring this insight into sessions with clients who also suffer from the negative self-talk that results from this type of abuse.

Lastly, since I also have experience in the effects a special needs family member can have on the rest of the family, I would like to coach families on how to better manage the emotional & stressful repercussions this can have. I would specifically like to focus on the siblings of special needs brothers/sisters, as I also have personal experience from this perspective.

Moving forward, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce a first coaching session for free to anybody who has an issue that they would like to tackle. Once the session is completed, all I ask for is feedback on how helpful the session was. Feedback is more valuable to me than payment at the moment. If you are brave enough to try me out, then email me at: 🙂 I abide by the Code of Ethics found on this website: Code of Ethics

Thanks for reading.


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