Exercise: Why Are You Resistant to Facing the Truth and Receiving Compassion from Others?

Many former victims refuse to take in compassion from others because they believe they don’t need it or deserve it or it doesn’t apply to them. For example, often, when I attempt to offer compassion to a new client for how he or she has suffered due to abuse he or she tries to play it down by saying something like, “The abuse really hasn’t caused that many problems in my life,” or “The past is the past. I’ve gotten over it.” This is always interesting to hear, especially since the person began therapy with me because something wasn’t working in his or her life.

If you can relate to this situation it may be an indication that you are still in denial about how much the abuse negatively affected you. Even though you are now aware of how much shame is currently affecting your life, you may find that you sink back into denial from time to time and take on the attitude exemplified in the above example. The following exercise may help you to look a little deeper at your denial and come up with some answers as to why it is still such a powerful force in your life.

Exercise: Sentence Completion

  1. I’m afraid to admit that I was abused in this way because _____________.
  2. If I admit that I was abused I will have to feel _____________________.
  3. If I admit how much the abuse has affected me ____________________.
  4. I don’t want to face the truth about my abuser because _______________.
  5. I’m afraid to allow myself to feel my anger (or sadness) because _________.