There are four absolutes that need addressing for a woman seeking healing from trauma after enduring any sort of abuse, whether it is sexual, emotional, physical or spiritual.

SHAME | Many women suffering from trauma think they are feeling guilt. There is confusion between guilt and shame. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” Shame goes to the core of one’s identity and says, “I AM BAD.” ALL women of trauma have an incredible struggle with believing they are “worth it,” or “they are enough.” Shame wraps around them like an invisible layer of flawed-ness and seems to stamp on their foreheads a sign that says, “I have to try twice as hard to be half as good.”

ANGER | Survivors of past abuse are always going to have anger. If they feel they don’t have permission to be angry, the anger will be suppressed and become depression. Or their anger level can rise to rage when triggered by even a seemingly random event.

REJECTION | Women of trauma have a lot of self-loathing. Interlaced with the shame, they become their own abusers. Because of the incredible amount of evil they have been subjected to, especially in cases such as sex trafficking victims, women of trauma are powerless to have anywhere to put the blame for their abuse and have no choice but to turn it upon themselves.  Self rejects self. And shame validates and whispers, “yes, you are too broken to be fixed.”

HARDENED HEART | The darkness brought about by abuse brings women of trauma to an opposite place of God’s design for them. In order to survive the evil of abuse that strips away their core identity, the only coping mechanism possible for women of trauma is to close their heart. Survivors of abuse often have very hardened hearts because they’ve learned early on it is too painful to be vulnerable.

After fifteen years of counseling women of trauma, I recommend these four areas of healing to anyone needing help in their journey to freedom who are grieving the evils of abuse.