Denial may temporarily help a survivor cope with their sexual abuse moment or episodes. Although denial helps one forget for short periods, it’s never a permanent solution. Denial is like pushing a floating device underwater. When you stop holding it down, and you let it go, it will resurface. This is how denial works. It doesn’t eliminate problems; it just hides them. Denial is a coping mechanism, and it’s one that does not encourage healing; instead it derails healing from taking place. For a survivor to live in denial is beyond harmful.
Dangers of Denial
Denial affects your opportunity to get well. You cannot disregard your pain and ignore it, and then expect to heal and improve your emotional and mental well-being. When you deny that you’ve been sexually abused or you deny being affected by such a crude incident, you are lying to yourself. By ignoring your problem, you’re choosing to repress instead of progress.
When we deny the reality of our inner world, and we bury our most painful secrets, we’re preserving it. We’re not allowing ourselves to process the negative emotions, and thus, it impacts our decisions. Denial is harmful because it becomes an enabler toward unhealthy patterns such as addiction, self-harm, and risk-taking behaviors. Denial does not allow you to move forward, but rather, it keeps you imprisoned to adverse emotions while keeping you bonded to unhealthy behaviors.
To be resilient is to choose to be well by taking ownership of your reality. Allow yourself to process the pain that derives from sexual abuse. Know that you are not defined by the worst that you’ve experienced, and your willingness to fight for your life will manifest in resilience. To demonstrate resilience means to seek healthy ways to cope with the reality of your inner world. Your ability to push through the process of your pain. To be resilient is to choose to heal and be well.
Carry Your Cross
Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”
What does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus? What is your cross? Your cross is that thing that causes you pain and affliction. In this case, sexual abuse is your cross. It’s your hurdle, your struggle, its effects are a burden that you must deal with. Our natural reaction to pain is to run away from it but the word of God tells us to deny yourself of your natural tendency, face your struggles, and follow Jesus. Jesus is the bridge that connects us to God; he leads us to the father. To follow Jesus is to walk into relationship with God. To follow Jesus means to walk the steps toward healing. It’s to live with your truth no matter how bad it is. Do you deny your truth or are you facing it head-on? Are you bearing your cross and walking towards God?
Think about these questions for a moment. Meditate on your day to day thoughts. Do you face the reality of your sexual abuse, or do you live in denial?
Truth Leads to Wisdom
Psalm 51:6, “And yes, you want truth in the most hidden places; you teach me wisdom in the most secret place.”
God desires us to live our truth and stand by our stories. It’s when we take ownership of the truths that lie at the depths of who we are that he teaches wisdom that touches the soul. God is pleased when truth reigns within because it’s when we see the truth in us that we can see the parts that are decaying. When we see the decay then we can drive it out and allow God’s healing to unravel and flourish.
Exposure leads to redemption, and redemption leads to real acceptance of ourselves. When we can reflect acceptance despite our adversities, we become a bridge for other survivors to walk from death to life. Our courage will encourage others to become transparent about their struggles as survivors.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
If your wounds are too hard to bear alone, but you have no one to turn to, God is with you. Scripture says that he is close to those who have a wounded heart and who’s’ spirit is crushed. God desires your freedom. He desires you to live free from being dominated by what happens to you. He does not want your wounds to paralyze your ability to bloom instead he wants you to walk in the fullness of your calling.