Exercise: Connecting with Yourself

Often times my clients have a difficult time feeling compassion for themselves for what they suffered due to their abuse because they feel so disconnected from themselves and their emotions. Some also had a distorted image of themselves when they were a child, seeing themselves as older or more mature than they actually were. And of course, shame can keep you  from acknowledging just how horrible your abuse experiences were.  The following exercise may help you to connect more with yourself, with your feelings related to the abuse, and with the reality of the situation.

Exercise: What if it Happened to Someone Else?

  1. Choose one of your abuse experiences for this exercise. Imagine that this abuse happened to your own child or to a child that you are emotionally connected to.
  2. Notice your emotional reaction as you imagine the abuse happening to this child.
  3. Write down what your emotional reaction is to the thought of your own child or another beloved child being abused in this way.

Now write about the difference between how you reacted to the thought of your own child being abused and how you reacted to your own abuse. If you reacted differently, why do you think this is so? Write down the reasons.