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Sexual Trauma: When They Don't Believe You

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

When our loved ones don’t believe our truth, it hurts. It is excruciatingly painful to know your truth and to have it invalidated by those who are closest to you.

I have experienced that pain more than once and it can be so hard to figure out how to continue to have a healthy relationship with our parents, our family, and our friends when they simultaneously choose to live in denial of the trauma that you have experienced. It takes tremendous compassion, empathy, and acceptance to continue to participate in everyday life, family gatherings, and the simple maintenance of relationships that do not seem to honor our truth. It is a meaningful endeavor to try to hang in there with our loved ones but damn, it can be so hard.

Seeking counseling has been the number one thing that has helped me continue to keep going when I want to throw in the towel and just walk away from the most important relationships in my life. I understand what it is like to raise my voice in truth and to have others dismiss what is so very clear to me.

Maybe it happened when you were a child or maybe it happened recently; or both. Sometimes, sweeping the dirt, disgust, and dismay under the rug instead of raising your voice about the truth of betrayal, denial, and relational fragmentation can seem like an easier way out but it ultimately results in a compromise that insults your own integrity; and that is never worth it. It is of the utmost importance to own your truth, to speak your truth, and to stand by what you know to be true. It is the difference between living in congruence with yourself and betraying yourself.

Sometimes, the people who are complicit in the perpetuation of your pain cannot hear your truth. Those people may choose to live in denial and to ignore it well before they are able to integrate the truth of your trauma into their worldview. In some cases, our loved ones may never be able to see what you see or to hear what you have to say. Sometimes, it just takes time. In the meantime, our loved ones may remain unconscious and may refuse to honor your boundaries while inadvertently creating situations that make you feel unsafe, unloved, and unprotected. However, there is something you can do about it.

You can choose to raise your voice, set unshakeable boundaries, and to protect yourself from any interactions that make you feel unsafe. Your sense of personal safety is the most important thing.

When no one else can understand what you are going through, this is when it is a good idea to seek out a counselor who can hear you, see you, and embrace all that you are as well as all that you have been through. Finding the right counselor who is equipped to help you negotiate the wayward path of healing after being wounded by perpetrators and facilitators of abuse can be the number one thing that will determine whether you can find the resilience that lies dormant within you to keep moving forward.

You are strong, you are important, and your voice is valuable.

Keep moving forward. I stand with you.

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