Example 4: Sexual abuse

I have never found any single thing that does more damage to the heart than sexual abuse. This can be true for all forms of sexual abuse, no matter how physically intrusive. The power of sexual abuse to damage a person’s identity cannot be overstated.

A preadolescent woman was sexually by abused by a pastor over several years. When she reported the sexual abuse to her emotionally abusive parents, they did not know how to handle the news. They told her that she could not speak of it to anyone and to stop talking about it at home. The more she cried out for help, the harsher her parents disciplined her. A part formed from the abuse who also held damage from her parents’ lack of support.

This part believed that she was powerless to handle life and felt trapped and unable to have the voice she needed in life. The sexual abuse caused her to believe that she was worthless and only here to be used by others, guilty for allowing the abuse, and so dirty and ruined that she could never exist on an equal level with other people. These emotions could be triggered during any emotional or relational struggle. She lived in an emotional prison, full of anger, hopelessness, and wrecked self-esteem.